Tesha Scolaro Ballou
Judge Tesha Scolaro Ballou Campaign
Access to the court system can create obstacles to justice. Due to the high cost of legal representation, many of our citizens cannot afford to hire an attorney. Further, the resources for legal aid organizations are limited. This has resulted in an increased number of self-represented litigants. The judicial system can be complex for pro se litigants as they are not familiar with the legal procedures. Although my colleagues and I work diligently to ensure our dockets are efficient, the sheer volume of cases creates longer wait times for hearings. Therefore, a lack of understanding of the process coupled with the delay to “have your day in court” can result in people feeling unheard or treated unfairly leading to a loss of faith in the judicial system. If citizens do not respect the courts and its decisions, it undermines the integrity of the court system which I strive to uphold. Justice should be accessible to all.
The role of the judge is to serve the community. We are public servants. Therefore, punctuality, fairness, patience, diligence, humility, and civility are qualities that a judge should always display. The greatest challenge to the role of judge is when the law takes you to uncomfortable places with your rulings, but the law compels the result. A judge must follow the law.
Riley v. California (2014) in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that warrantless searches of cellular phones seized incident to a lawful arrest violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s determination to ensure the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee to protect against unreasonable government intrusion on individual privacy rights as it relates to new technology reaffirms the need to balance the rights of individuals against governmental intrusion.
A judge must never allow personal preferences or feelings to enter into decision making. Judges must remain vigilant to the importance of relying solely on the facts, the evidence and the law when making a decision. As a judge, I review my decisions to ensure that they are properly made. Fair decisions based upon evidence are the goal I strive for, and achieve, in my daily work.
Prior to serving as a Judge, I am most proud of the work I did as a General Magistrate with Truancy Court. Mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence were often components in these matters. I collaborated with community partners and implemented a holistic family approach including mentors, case management, counseling services, parenting classes and GED options. By providing resources to families, it decreased further court involvement and ensured that youth were attending school.
Aaron Michael Bross
Campaign to Elect A. Michael Bross
997 S WICKHAM RD
997 S WICKHAM RD
At the Moment, I would say dealing with COVID -19, and how attorneys, judges, courtroom staff, deputies, litigants, and JURIES are going to deal with the very personal administration of justice in a masked COVID -19 world. Furthermore, before COVID -19 the Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit were faced with enormous dockets and many cases that linger for two years and more. It will be my promise to move cases swiftly and to work with the all litigants, their Attorneys, the Offices of the State Attorney and Public Defender, as well as all private counsel, to get hearings set, to encourage resolutions, and to require cause before granting continuances.
A Judge should be above all else and at all times, fair and impartial, giving equal attention to the arguments of counsel and the testimony of witnesses for each side. A great Judge will have had extensive trial experience, both jury and non-jury, in both the civil and criminal arenas, prior to taking the Bench. That great Judge would not see the role as a challenge, but as an opportunity to make decisions based on experience and in accordance with the laws of this State and Country.
There are many important cases over the last 50 years,dealing with the rights of various groups or individuals. But for our society, the most important case is U.S. v. Nixon, which stands for the bedrock proposition that no man or woman is above the law. This rule of law is of utmost importance, because it levels the playing field for all, and requires equal justice and protection under the law. If any one person is deemed to be above the law, then no man or woman is safe from tyranny.
I would rely on my extensive experience before countless Judges in courthouses throughout the State, my knowledge of the law (including the Florida Statutes, the Constitutions of the USA and the great State of Florida, caselaw and prevailing rulings of the 5th District Court of Appeals) to administer justice to all who come before me, making decisions based on the facts of each case as applied to these laws and rulings, and ultimately to protect the citizens of Brevard and Seminole Counties.
In 1989, JAS was accused of raping a neighbor child, who identified him as her rapist. JAS vehemently denied any inappropriate contact with the child. In 1991, I moved the Court to order a DNA test, DNA testing only recently having been shown to exclusively identify a person. The DNA test proved that my client was NOT GUILTY. The DNA was later used to positively ID the actual rapist. JAS would likely have spent the remainder of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.