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Kalamazoo County 8th District Court

The Kalamazoo County Eighth District Court has Countywide jurisdiction over traffic matters, criminal misdemeanors, original jurisdictions over felony cases, civil cases up to $25,000, small claims cases, landlord/tenant and land contract cases that arise in Kalamazoo County.Term: 6 years

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    Lana Maria Escamilla
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Becket Jones
    (N)

Biographical Information

How have your education, professional experience and interests prepared you to serve on this court?

What have been the most effective methods for improving court procedures? What other methods would you suggest to improve efficiency or make the courts less intimidating to the public?

What role should the court play in promoting racial justice?

Age 43
Occupation / Current Position Attorney/Escamilla & Salisbury, PLLC
Education 2007 Michigan State University College of Law- J.D. 2003 Lee Honors College-Western Michigan University -B.S. in Psychology. 2001 KVCC- A.A. in Pre-Communications.
Experience & Qualifications 2014-Current- Private practice. 2014- Corporate Counsel at Talmer West Bank. 2011-2013- Corporate Counsel at Capitol Bancorp Ltd. 2007-2011 Associate Attorney at Stephen L. Langeland P.C. 2004-2007 Legal Assistant/Paralegal at Stephen L. Langeland, P.C. 2006- Extern at Ingham County Probate Court. 2020 Election Worker City of Portage.
Campaign Phone 2693035601
Campaign Website http://votelanaescamilla.com
Campaign Video
My life has been devoted to service of others, from volunteering & serving on boards for various organizations to many decades working with people as a server, bartender & manager at a restaurant. My law practice is dedicated to serving others and has allowed me to litigate in courts across the state. This coupled with my undergraduate education in psychology, with an emphasis in communications, my law degree & post legal education have provided me the necessary tools and skills to serve on this court. I am eager to serve the citizens of Kalamazoo County in a role where I can continue to enhance & promote integrity in the judicial system.
Effective case management by judges tailored to each case. Each court in Michigan has different policies and procedures. Attorneys and parties must familiarize themselves with the local court rules and judge's procedures to improve efficiency and prevent unpleasant surprises. A way to accomplish this is by making local court customs & each judge's policies & procedures available on the court’s website, such as communications with the court and scheduling procedures such as status conferences, ADR, motions, trials & evidentiary hearings. Education &viewing the courts as a manner of resolution can help make the courts less intimidating.
The democracy of our country is built upon the application of law in a fair and just manner. Courts must ensure that all parties to a dispute, regardless of race, have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in court processes and be heard by a neutral, unbiased, third party who will provide a speedy and fair decision in both criminal and civil cases. Courts should continually evaluate their policies, procedures, education, training and hiring as a means to promote racial equality, recognize and eliminate any bias and discrimination in the courts, so that all citizens are provided liberty and justice as required by our laws.
Age 39
Occupation / Current Position Senior Trial Attorney - Hills at Law, P.C.
Education Juris Doctorate - Thomas M. Cooley Law School / Bachelor of Arts - Business Administration Pre-Law - Michigan State University
Experience & Qualifications Licensed Attorney in Michigan since July 1, 2011. Have represented well over 1,000 individual cases / clients in both State and Federal Courts in Michigan. I practice frequently in the 8th District Court on both misdemeanor and felony matters - I have represented cases in the 8th District Court as minor as misdemeanor trespassing, and as serious as First Degree / Open Murder.
Campaign Phone 2693302150
I am a criminal defense attorney. Whether it is a case involving obvious guilt on video, or innocence buried in the fog, every day I counsel people through some of the worst moments of their lives, with varied expectations on what comes next.

My experience has taught me to listen intently to everyone that I meet. To understand internal struggles of my clients, and to thoughtfully map a plan out. And not just plans for the case. But plans to help improve the lives of my clients beyond the case, so they don't enter the system again.

A Judge does these same things, but on a larger scale.
This gets back to my prior response. I think a listening and compassionate ear is the primary skill of the Judge that runs an efficient and effective Court. Additionally, a clear understanding that every voice must have equality in the courtroom is necessary. The courtroom is intimidating in part because there are historical assumptions about what is likely to take place inside of it from each of the parties that walk in to it.

A Judge, who through her or his character, practices with a listening / compassionate ear, and gives each party to the process an equal voice, makes the Court, and the process itself, less intimidating.
The court is intentionally (and correctly) an apolitical body. Because of our current political climate, I believe that this type of question gets viewed as a political one. However, this is not a political question. It is a constitutional question and frankly a question of our collective morality.

The Court, constitutionally and morally is required to look internally to ensure that it is practicing the way that both the United States and Michigan Constitutions envision it to. This means that the rights of the people before the Court shall not be abridged / denied on account of race. The Court must live this example daily. Period.