2017 PRIMARY ELECTION CANDIDATE STATEMENTS: Jocelyn Cook - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

2017 PRIMARY ELECTION CANDIDATE STATEMENTS: Jocelyn Cook

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My top priorities, if elected, would be:

1) Consistency from the Bench- We should be able to anticipate consistent application of the law from the bench. When judges do their work within the parameters of the law, people in the community have access to justice that doesn't change from courtroom to courtroom.

2) Efficient use of Limited Resources- With costs of incarceration going up to $47,000 per person, per year, it is important for judges to be able to determine, within statutory guidelines, when people would benefit from alternative sentencing.

3) Clarifying what judges do for our community- Slogans like "safety for the community" misrepresent what judges do and are often used when people are trying to get elected. These slogans affect public perception which impacts how judges do their work. Law enforcement is responsible for making the community safe. Prosecutors are tasked with pursuing justice. Judges are responsible for ensuring that the law is being applied fairly and consistently for everyone in their courtroom. Judges should be able to parse through difficult legal issues and make difficult decisions regardless of who is appearing before them or what political implications there may be. They should be expected to apply the law as it is, not how they wish it would be. This all leads back to consistency from the bench which, I believe, benefits the community.

With regard to my political affiliations:

The judicial position is non-partisan. The reason for that is because political influences or agenda should not, in any way, impact an honest, thoughtful, intelligent application of the law to any given set of facts.

I have not asked either party for their endorsement and I do not plan to. I have not participated in politics for the last 14 years or sat on committees seeking one end and then joined campaigns seeking another.

What I have done instead is work; work on identifying issues of appeal and briefing them, work on changing unconstitutional practices in the courtroom, and work representing indigent clients. The work I've done has not been for public consumption and evaluation. It has not been for recognition that I could parlay into talking points. It has been because I love what I do and I believe the work is necessary to preserve the protections the Constitution offers our community.

I truly believe in court neutrality. I believe that everyone regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual preference deserves the same justice when faced with the same circumstances.

Selecting a judge should not be about politics, political connections, or political affiliations. The race for superior court judge should be about intellect, motivation, and care for the law.

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