There’re a lot of things to be thankful for in Mesquite. And at this time of year, the League of Women Voters in Mesquite tops my list.
What a great organization the League of Women Voters is and the Mesquite chapter is no exception. The League is a nonpartisan group but it’s tireless in educating people about the issues and driving to get more citizens registered to vote and then to the polls on Election Day.
Next month will be my one-year anniversary living in Mesquite, and there’s still so much I don’t know. I’ve gotten to know the staff and elected people in city government well enough, but I’ve been perplexed by the coming primary election.
I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, so I don’t face whatever choices are on those parties’ ballots, but I do have seven candidates for the Mesquite Township Justice of the Peace on my ballot. And I know little to nothing about any of them.
League of Women Voters of Mesquite to my rescue.
Have you seen the 2012 Voter’s Guide published by the League? Only a few hundred were published so you may not have received yours.
The League sent two questions to each of the six candidates still in the race (Alisia Leavitt has withdrawn) and asked for background on their education, occupation and qualifications.
The questions were:
- Why do you want to be a judge, and what characteristics do you have that would make you a good one?
- What do you see as your relationship with the police and city council?
With the permission of the League of Women Voters of Mesquite, here is the backgound information and the answers they received to both questions.
Kryztal A. Alvizo has a bachelor’s degree on political science from UNLV and Juris Doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law. She’s currently unemployed and cites her degrees as her qualifications.
- I want to be Justice of the Peace because I grew up in this community and I think that my legal education has taught me the importance of having impartial judges who stick to legal precedent. I feel that I have obtained the necessary skills in my studies of the law to be a fair and equitable judge. I am also fluent in Spanish, which I think is an added skill that I can offer.
- Judges should be aware of what is going on with the city council and the police and work with them to achieve beneficial outcomes for the community. But the job of Justice of the Peace is to uphold the black letter of the law as it is written and to enforce it. The role of the judge ultimately is to be impartial and unbiased.
Karen Beausoleil earned two doctorates, one in law, the other psychological counseling. She also holds a master’s in counseling and bachelor’s in general science. She’s an attorney in both civil and criminal cases, a psychologist and an educator (teaching elementary through university graduate classes). She also sites her education for her qualifications, but adds her experience and values. She says she would be a fair, impartial and compassionate judge who knows the law and I would follow it. She suggests voters go to her website: www.KB4JP.com
- Because the justice court hears criminal and civil matters, I am Mesquite’s best choice for this judgeship being the only candidate having significant experience in both. I have lived in Mesquite for more than a decade and understand the needs of our growing community. As a Constitutional law scholar, I value and would respect individual rights, freedoms and responsibilities. I will continue to champion women’s issues and advocate for children, families and minorities.
- If elected, I don’t anticipate significant changes in my relationship with either. I’m sure I would become sufficiently familiar with those individual police officers who appeared in my court to call them by name. Although I respect the difficult role policeman have upholding the law, I also realize each is human and subject, as I am, to making mistakes. Every person appearing before me would have the opportunity to be heard, objectively, and without prejudice.
Bill A Berrett earned an Associates Degree in Business Management (Utah Technical college – Now called Utah Valley University) in 1976, a bachelor’s in political science (BYU, 1978) and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1981 (South Texas College of Law – Houston, Texas). He has worked since 1981 as a lawyer in Nevada, retiring as a Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Clark County in 2007. Since then, he has been practicing law.
- I have been practicing law in front of numerous judges for the past 30 years. I have a good knowledge of the law and a good feel for what is right and wrong. I can tell the good guys from the bad guys and want to use that experience to help administer justice in the Mesquite Justice Court. I am tough but fair and understand the legal system. I was the supervisor for many years…
- I relate well with the Mesquite Police Department. I worked as a prosecutor with them for many years doing serious crimes against their worst criminals. I understand their issues and will work with them to resolve them. I had some of the Mesquite Police Officers encourage me to run for the JP position since they know me and know I can help obtain justice in Mesquite.
Theron N. Jensen is a self-employed business executive, not an attorney. He attended the UNLV Law School but earned his two bachelor degrees from Southern Utah University where he was graduated summa cum laude. He’s also a Virgin Valley High School graduate, who served as VVHS Student Body President. He has some formal training in the law, but has a life of service that provided him with an understanding of people’s need for being treated fairly.
- I love and understand the law and more importantly the principals of justice. I bring a wealth of experience, not encumbered by relationships in the legal community. Because of these qualities I can be fair and impartial to all that appear in Justice Court without considering who represents them. This is the people’s court where they come seeking not a simple reading of the law, but justice within the bounds of the law.
- The relationship a judge has with law enforcement must be an arms length relationship. I would view citations issued, consider the evidence, the applicable law, and strive to come to an impartial, just determination. The Justice Court is administered under the County so the Justice of the Peace does not have a working relationship with the City Council.
Duane L. Thurston unfortunately did not respond to the League of Women Voters of Mesquite questionnaire so I have no information about him. But Ryan Toone did. And I’ve met him at city council meetings
Ryan W. Toone is the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Mesquite in charge of criminal prosecution and he assists with civil litigation. He as graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and summa cum laude from Utah State University. He was valedictorian when he graduated from Bear River High School in Garland, Utah. He says he’s qualified for the office pf Justice of the Peace because, as a licensed attorney, he has civil and criminal law experience. He regularly appears in court and understands applicable rules and procedures. He adds he has successfully worked with police, witnesses, attorneys and victims as a criminal prosecutor. His e-mail is email@example.com
1. I am running for Justice of the Peace because I enjoy working in the justice system and I want to use my legal experience to serve this community. Mesquite benefits from having a judge with a strong legal background who ensures that rights are protected, wrongs redressed, and disputes resolved. My experience handling civil and criminal cases will enable me to successfully fulfill that role. I am fair, professional, and motivated.
2. I have a good working relationship with police and city officials. One of my current duties is to provide police officers with legal training. Constitutional principals wisely require that a judge is independent and impartial in court matters. I will meet this requirement while also ensuring that court services are readily accessible to the public and to those involved in the justice system.
Time grows short. Early voting in Mesquite is June 5-6 and the polls open on June 12. The polling place is moved this year. Voting now will be held at the Mesquite Senior Center, 102 Desert Drive, behind the Mesquite Recreation Center.