Judicial candidate forums to be held in Oakland County Candidates for probate and district court seats to be questioned

By Kathryne Gilbride

Legal News

The Oakland County Bar Association (OCBA), the League of Women Voters Oakland Area, and the Detroit Free Press will host public judicial candidate forums next week for Oakland County Courts in the Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac.

The Oakland County Probate Court forum will be Tuesday, June 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and the Oakland County District Court forum, Wednesday, June 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The five probate court candidates include: J. Martin Brennan, Dana M. Hathaway, Barbara B. Murphy, Kathleen Ryan and Jamie M. Verdi. The three District Court candidates include: Kirsten Nielsen Hartig, Honorable Michael A. Martone and David A. Pietroski.

Each forum features a panelist from the OCBA and a panelist from the Detroit Free Press who will question the candidates individually. A representative of the League of Women Voters will moderate the forum. Community members are encouraged to submit questions for responses by the candidates and are invited to review Judicial Candidate Questionnaires completed by each candidate in advance of the fora.

President of OCBA Kurt Schnelz hopes the event will serve to educate Oakland County citizens and encourage informed voting.

"Attending the forum is beneficial for the community because it allows the public to see candidates first hand," says Schnelz, "It imparts significant information they wouldn't get through other forms of media like the radio and television, which is why it's so important for people to come."

Schnelz stresses that community often ignores judicial elections because a lack of information on possible candidates.

"It's interesting because approximately 40 percent of people who vote in most elections do not vote for judges, and judges play a very important role in the life of community," says Schnelz, "It's important for people to see first hand those people who have a significant impact on their life."

The fora will be broadcasted on local public access channels in the communities where the races take place and will also be available on the OCBA Web site. For more information visit: www.OCBA.org.

Published: Fri, Jun 25, 2010

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