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Letters to the Editor

Vote yes on retaining judges

By M. Michael Shay


Retired Captain

Des Moines Police Department

This vote is not about the judge, or gay marriage.

Currently, Iowa has a judicial-retention system that should be considered a model for the whole country. It is less political than any other state’s system.

Sadly, it is now under attack because individuals who have vision limited to a single issue didn’t get their way on one ruling.

It is important for voters to recognize the extreme lengths that these one-issue advocates would go to revenge their loss. We cannot allow this to happen.

I have more than 30 years of law enforcement experience. I have been to numerous seminars and training across this country. I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy that hosts more than 150 officers across the country in each session.

This background has given me a glimpse of other states’ court systems. Ours is the best because application of law takes precedence over political agenda. Do not let single-issue political groups erode this.

I’ve been involved in numerous court cases, and in front of many different judges during my 30 years of law enforcement. I’ve interacted with many attorneys, witnesses, victims and defendants. In every case, hearing, trial or appeal, half of the people involved do not agree with the judge.

Fortunately, who wins or loses is not based on the political ideologies of those who contributed money to the judge’s re-election campaign. Who wins or loses a specific case should not mean the losers should "boohoo" to remove the judge at the next retention election. If the ruling is unjust, it should be appealed.

If the appeals are lost, change the law, not the judge.

Iowa’s retention election-system is designed to get the inept out of the judicial system. It is not to politicize judges, who are supposed to make decisions impartially, based on Iowa law.

Please, think beyond any one ruling, regardless of your position on the underlying issue.

Think how this will affect you if you get a traffic citation that you don’t agree with.

Think how it will affect you if you have to go to small-claims court over a dispute.

Think how it will affect you as a victim when the defense has donated several thousand dollars to the judge’s re-election campaign. Think of Iowa, and keep Iowa’s judicial system free of campaign dollars.

Vote yes on retaining the current justices in this year’s retention election.

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