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District Magistrate Judge, District 14

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    Rebecca Stewart
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What is the appropriate role of the courts in today’s society? How would you best communicate that role to improve public understanding in your district?

What are the most pressing problems facing this District court? How do you propose handling these issues?

Please address the issue of maintaining impartiality, given the need to raise funds and solicit sponsorships for political campaigns.

What, if any, steps should our state take concerning the juvenile offender population? What do you see as the root cause of Juvenile offenses? What, if any, alternatives to current practice would you consider?

What, if any, steps [will you/should our state] take concerning the overall prison population?

How can the court system address the inequalities in our justice system?

How can the court become more transparent so the public has a view of the judges’ work?

Personal Biography I was raised in Sedan, KS (Chautauqua Co.). I am an attorney and I have a private practice that focuses on commercial transactions, contracts and employment law. In the summer of 2019, after living in Tulsa for nearly 15 years, my husband, and I decided to move our family permanently to our ranch in rural Chautauqua Co. I am active in my church and community. Mark and I have 4 children - two adult daughters and two sons that attend Sedan schools.
Campaign Address 1683 Road 11
Sedan, KS 67361
Campaign Phone (918) 519-6806
Education BA in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. JD from Oklahoma City University School of Law
Community/Public Service Executive Director, The Blue Devil Foundation Member, Epiphany Episcopal Church Past Chair, Women in Business (Jenks, OK Chamber of Commerce) Member, Bridge the Gap (Bixby Public Schools Foundation) Past Executive Member, Jenks Public Schools Foundation
Address 1683 Road 11 Sedan, KS 67361
I truly believe that justice is blind and the ideals of equal treatment under the law are fundamental to our society. The primary role of every court is to provide that equality under the law and to guarantee the rule of law in each community. If the voters of Chautauqua County give me the privilege of serving as their Magistrate, they can be assured that I will treat everyone who comes before me with dignity and equality. My philosophy is that law abiding citizens have a right to expect that individuals will be held accountable when they violate the duly enacted laws of the State and the community. This accountability must be demanded of any citizen, regardless of background. As a Magistrate I will be committed to these principles.
Chautauqua County is one of the lowest per capita income counties in the state. As a result, there are significant numbers of crimes of poverty, addiction and children in need. In order to address these issues, the Court needs to be seen as a place for citizens to not only answer for their potentially unlawful behavior but also to provide avenues for services where they are warranted. If I am elected Magistrate I would like to collaborate with local law enforcement (including the prosecutors), the schools and social services to ensure that when citizens need additional help or services, they recieve them.
I have made the personal decision to not accept donations to my campaign.
The root cause of juvenile crime in this state and any other is the breakdown of the family. I think we need to have a serious conversation in this country about the proliferation of single parent households. This, coupled with a lack of quality educational opportunities available to some citizens are significant contributors to poverty. The desperation and hopelessness that comes with abject poverty lead to criminal behavior and incarceration. We are failing entire communities by turning a blind eye to generational poverty and lack of opportunity. Rather than incarcerate juvenile offenders, communities (to include law enforcement, the courts and the schools) need to find ways to engage troubled students in activities that could lift them out of this cycle. Think about vocational learning rather than traditional classrooms. Hands on apprenticeships rather than failing another Algebra class.
This is not a problem for the courts or judges to solve. The Legislature is responsible for identifying what is criminal behavior and setting the minimum and maximum sentences for individuals convicted of crimes. In order to ensure equality under the law, the Courts must work within the framework provided by the elected members of the Legislature. When incarceration is one of several options available to the Court, it is incumbent on judges to consider each defendant individually before sentencing.
By adhering to the principle that justice is blind and remembering that every individual is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. There should be no preference or bias for any individual within the legal system because of that person's race, gender, etc. Nor should there be a preference or bias based on whether a litigant or defendant has, or does not have, an attorney. This is the bedrock of our legal system.
There was a time when reporters covered what happened in local courtrooms. I would not mind returning to that practice so that citizens could have insight into the types of cases that are being heard in their communities. Except for those cases that require confidentiality (juvenile and some domestic matters) courtrooms should, at all times, be open to the public.