Monique Centeno graduated from the University of Kansas in 2000, with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and English. She attended law school at Washburn. After law school, Monique moved to Wichita where she practiced in criminal defense, consumer protection, civil rights, and class actions.
She spent 9 years representing indigent defendants in the public defenders office. Thereafter, she represented families impacted by medical and vehicular negligence.
Washburn School of Law
Commission on Racial Equity and Justice; Advancement Via Individual Determination; Dress for Success and
the Salvation Army
The court is an impartial forum where parties can resolve legal disputes. The court hears the evidence presented by the parties, and makes a decision based on the proven facts and the rule of law. It is critical to ensure equal protection, justice and fairness for everyone. I've been a district court judge for over a year. I am well known for treating litigants with respect, listening to all the arguments, and making court orders in accordance with the law. Everyone that walks through my courtroom door knows that everyone will be treated fairly.
Due to COVID-19, parties have to wait longer to get their cases heard in front of the court. I squeeze in additional cases everyday by: (1) starting my docket 30 minutes early, (2) listening to cases over the lunch hour instead of eating lunch, and (3) staying hours after 5pm to allow litigants enough time to argue their cases. The pandemic requires all of us to make sacrifices to get back to normal. The court must sacrifice too.
Unfortunately, money is necessary to run a successful political campaign. Most political candidates, including myself, are not wealthy. Therefore, we have to raise money to pay for the needs of the campaign. I took an oath to follow the law and to be impartial. I took that oath seriously. All of my decisions are based on the facts of the case and the law. At no time do I consider contributions to my campaign.
As a judge, I cannot comment on what the legislature should do in reference to the juvenile offender population.
Before I was a judge, I spoke to juveniles at several public schools. I've continued that community outreach after I took the oath to become a judge. I've learned that most juveniles do not understand the law. I think their misunderstandings should be cleared up by hearing from legal professionals and law enforcement officers.
As a judge, I cannot comment on what the legislature should do to address the prison population.
The court has to make sure that it's rulings are based on the law and not on conscious bias or unconscious bias. That's the only way that the court can address inequality in the judicial system.
The court is a public forum. Anyone can sit and observe a court proceeding. Unless the court closes the proceedings to the public or seals the court file. The court should make sure that it weighs public interest and the confidentiality of the parties before it closes or seals a case. This will ensure more transparency.
Washburn School of Law
While society is always in flux, the appropriate role of the court today and tomorrow remains the same as yesterday. The law – the will of the people - must be applied fairly and impartially to everyone so no one person or party benefits from it. Laws, like society, will always change, but the court should never alter its consistent application of them. I have and will continue to communicate that stance to my district.
The most pressing problem facing this District is the cases which have languished in a holding pattern during the pandemic. Increasing the size of court dockets and minimizing the delay of cases is necessary to combat the increasing number of frustrated litigants who are seeking a resolution to their matters.
A judicial candidate cannot be impartial when they are accepting funds from special interest groups and the attorneys who appear before them. I am accepting no campaign contributions in order to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
A judge or judicial candidate is not an advocate or a legislator. While I have dealt with the juvenile system firsthand and formulated opinions about it, I believe it is improper to comment on policy matters.
Judges do not send people to prison. People send themselves by not following the law. Rather than relying on others, people should change the laws or take advantage of the programs offered in our society to combat their afflictions.
Our justice system would greatly benefit from an influx of diverse, qualified participants. Encouragement of those participants must begin at the high school and collegiate level.
All courts are open to the public and people who are interested in them should attend hearings. I favor having those hearings broadcasted so the general public can listen or view them at their leisure.