Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TOP STORY >> Batton wants one more term

Jacksonville District Court Judge Robert Batton is up for re-election on Tuesday. The judge has been on the bench 35 years.

He is hoping to make it an even 40 by winning Tuesday’s election and then to retire in 2016. But Batton is being challenged by Marshall Nash, an attorney who lives in Jacksonville.

Batton, 68, and his wife, Jane, have been married 38 years. They have two children, Leslie Gleason and John Batton. He has two grandsons, Grant, 3, and Gage, who is 6 months old.

“I am very proud of all of them, and they have given me much happiness and pleasure,” the judge said.

The Leader asked the candidates to answer questions in their own words. Nash’s answers were published in Saturday’s edition. Here are Batton’s responses:

How long have you lived in this area?

Batton: I moved to Arkansas in 1967 to attend law school, and I have been a proud resident of Jacksonville for 41 years.

What experiences qualify you to be judge?

Batton: I am a 1967 graduate of the University of Miami in Florida with a degree in business administration. In 1970, I received a juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

For five years, I was a deputy city attorney in Jacksonville. I have practiced law in all the courts in Pulaski County and have been appointed special judge in Pulaski and Lonoke counties.

As a trial lawyer, I have tried cases in most of the circuit court divisions and have argued cases in the Arkansas Court of Appeals of the U.S. District Courts.

In addition, my experience of having served the Jacksonville District Court has given me by far the most background and knowledge of the law to serve the people of our community impartially and fairly.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the judicial system, especially in Jacksonville?

Batton: I listen to litigants in court and determine with certainty the facts of a particular case by applying my knowledge of the law to the applicable law.

I have no prejudice or bias and do not succumb to external influences that would prevent me correctly applying the law to the facts of the situations.

Another strength of the court is being innovative and open to areas of improvement of its operation.

During my tenure I have guided the court by being the third court in the state to implement small-claims court and being one of the first district courts to be completely computerized in its operation.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you?

Batton: Voters should cast their ballots for me because I pledge to continue to be fair, honest, impartial and independent to all people who appear in court.

I also have an extensive knowledge of the law. I will continue to take more than the required legal education hours to better serve the people of Jacksonville.

The voters should know that I enjoy working for them and that seeing a person turn their life around is always a priority.

I have cordial relationships with the police department, code enforcement, the mayor and city council, and I look forward to being re-elected on Tuesday.