Judge Smith practiced law for more than 14 years before being appointed to the bench by the governor. When not on the bench he is engaged in community outreach efforts to increase support for foster parents and children. He has been married to Mona for 25 years and has three daughters, Emily, Lindsay and Kelsey.
Graduated in 1999, cum laude, from Regent University School of Law
Foster care outreach; Pure & Simple Truth for Youth, board member
P.O. Box 1633
Wichita, KS 67203
Trial judges must be unbiased, fair, and consistent in their rulings. They must apply the facts to the law in all cases and not allow personal feelings to influence their decisions. The judicial canons make clear that judges should engage in community outreach efforts and write on important legal topics that impact the administration of justice, two roles seldom seen in judges today. I’ve been blessed to get involved with foster care outreach efforts in Sedgwick County that have resulted in more support for foster children and will continue to engage in such efforts.
The foster care system is a train wreck and case workers so overwhelmed that it’s difficult for judges to manage foster care cases effectively and children sometimes fall through the cracks. Although I’m assigned to civil I am committed to continuing my outreach efforts to increase the numbers of court appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers and foster parents, and improve community support of foster parents and children so the kids don’t pay the price of an overwhelmed system. Addressing these issues will help the courts manage these cases better and save the kids from the worst possible outcomes.
Having a committee doing most fund raising is essential. The cap on contributions is also important. Any judge who would sell his or her soul for $500 for the primary and another $500 for the general is probably engaged in activity that will end his or her career in short order.
Perhaps judges should be required to self fund their campaigns? I would be open to that.
Reform took away the teeth for most offense levels. Judges can’t impose detention sanctions until the 3rd probation violation and then only after finding the youth poses a danger to others or others’ property. We need to be able to assess 2-5 day sanctions after the 4th violation without findings. They do not respond well to finger pointing and reinstatement without sanctions. More important, many of these kids lack guidance in their families. Funding and support for youth mentor programs would help put these kids on a more prosperous path.
We need drug treatment and better mental health assessment and treatment.
I don’t see this as a problem in Sedgwick County. Defendants get excellent representation from our public defenders and court appointed lawyers.
It already is. Defendants and litigants have the right to public trials for this reason. Anyone can look up cases in the clerk’s office.