Circuit judge division 1 rathert, yates square off to succeed wilkins local news myleaderpaper.com georgia state university 2012 football schedule

The democrats chose joe rathert, a hillsboro attorney who also has been jefferson county’s municipal judge since 2011, while the GOP gave the nod to carl W. "Wes" yates, who has served as county counselor, the county government’s in-house attorney, since mid-2011.

RATHERT, 53, lives at 1467 paradise valley drive, high ridge. He and his wife, anne geraghty rathert, have two daughters. In addition to serving as the county’s municipal judge, he has been in private practice at the rathert law firm since 1988.

He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from st. Louis university in 1985 and a law degree from capital university in 1988. He is a member of the federal bar association’s eastern district, missouri bar association, jefferson county bar association (including two terms as president), house springs lions club, high ridge elks, arnold optimist club.

He coaches soccer and volleyball and teaches sunday school. He served two terms as an alderman in sunset hills in the 1990s and served three terms on the county park board. He also volunteers as a truancy court judge in the windsor C-1 school district.

YATES, 58, lives at 229 N. Lake drive in hillsboro. He and his wife, bridget rogers yates, have a daughter. In addition to serving as county counselor, yates has been an adjunct professor at webster university since 2006. He was also the assistant and associate city counselor in st. Louis from 1996 to 2011 and has been an adjunct professor at park college and sanford brown college. He received a bachelor’s degree in aviation science from university of central missouri and a law degree from st. Louis university in 1994. He has taken other coursework at embry-riddle aeronautical university. He has been a member of the missouri bar association since 1994, is an eagle scout and was a school board member for st. Ambrose catholic school (2006-2008), the lake wauwanoka inc. Georgia colleges and state university board of directors (2013-2015), the sedalia park board (1994-1996) and the missouri planning and zoning commission for two years in the 1980s. He has served on committees for the national association of broadcasters, daytime broadcasters and AM stereo during the 1980s.

Rathert: I have been an attorney for 28 years in jefferson county and since december of 2010, I have been a municipal judge, handling criminal, code, DWI, trial and confined prisoner dockets. I am the only candidate who has judicial experience. I have handled more than 80,000 files since taking the bench as judge, both jury and nonjury trials. In my experience as judge, I have given careful consideration and thoughtful attention to each case. My decisions are well thought-out and fair. I will continue to use these qualities for the residents of jefferson county as judge in div. 1.

Yates: I have been a licensed practicing attorney since 1994, first in my hometown of sedalia, then as a government lawyer for st. Louis and jefferson county since 1996. I have a senior level of experience in civil law, encompassing just about every aspect of civil law. While in private practice, I handled felony and misdemeanor criminal actions as well as civil actions. Throughout my career I have practiced in both the trial and appellate courts on the federal and state levels in missouri, california, washington, D.C., texas and georgia while I worked for st. Louis. I have also owned and operated a small business – two radio stations in sedalia.

Rathert: jefferson county courts do not conform to the time standards that have been preset by higher courts. A strict enforcement of time standards and the creation of additional standards would benefit the litigants so they know how long the process will take. A divorce action should not take 12-18 months when time standards set out nine months. North georgia college and state university dahlonega our jail’s maximum capacity of 325 prisoners is often over by 15 to 20 percent because defendants who can’t make bond may sit for one or two years before getting a trial or accepting a plea bargain. Set standards and make them the rule rather than the exception.

Yates: my assessment is that the judges in this circuit are hard-working and dedicated jurists who have full caseloads and seem to manage the same effectively, efficiently and in a timely manner. While not being a current sitting judge in the 23rd circuit, it would be difficult for me to recommend changes other than making sure that the court remains up-to-date with technology, and by cooperating with the presiding judge in accepting, taking and handling all matters assigned to me and supporting his efforts to evenly divide the caseload between the divisions. Open dialogue between judges and staff also compliments the efficiency of any office.

Rathert: judges in jefferson county should continue to be selected in elections by the residents, but in nonpartisan elections. This type of election is currently not allowed by our charter form of government. By having an election process for judges, residents get a chance to meet and discuss important topics that affect them in everyday life, and they have the opportunity to evaluate the person who could make an important decision in their family’s life. Party affiliation should not be taken into consideration in selecting a judge. Whether someone is politically on the left, the right or somewhere in between should be irrelevant for a judge who is properly doing his or her job.

Yates: I would continue to support partisan elections as I am opposed to adopting the missouri court plan here in jefferson county, which essentially gives life appointments to state judges. Is it hard to get into georgia state university however, I would fully support a fair and equitable system of nonpartisan elections in which candidates run without party labels in a primary with some type of final selection in the general election. I have practiced law in st. Louis, where judges are appointed by the governor and while there are many fine judges, it is nearly impossible to replace anyone under that system and the positions remain political. I also would consider changes in certain ethical rules that would complement changes in the election or selection of judges.

Rathert: criminal, civil and domestic are the types of cases that div. 1 will be handling. I have extensive experience in each of these categories, both jury and non-jury cases. I have tried the most difficult criminal cases that have life-in-jail implications. I have tried civil cases where the injury involved is a dismemberment or death. I have tried complicated divorces where a mom or dad desperately wants what is in the best interest of a child. You do not want to appear before a judge who is learning on the job, especially if your freedom, family or financial future depends on their ruling. I am the person who you want making these difficult decisions for your family.

Yates: in me, voters have a proven attorney and neighbor who is knowledgeable in all aspects of the law due to my work both as a private lawyer, government attorney and small business owner; an individual who has worked with, or in, all three branches of government while serving the government and its citizens. I have helped advise and guide the county executive and county council in implementing the charter form of government, budgetary issues and other legal matters, thereby improving jefferson county. I am conservative and dedicated to jefferson county, and am hard-working, dependable, open, honest and most importantly fair. I have small-town values that I believe complement our values in jefferson county.