Why I'm Running

I believe that a good judge is one who knows the law, listens to both sides carefully, weighs the evidence, and makes a prompt and well-reasoned decision. I hope to fulfill that role as your next Monroe Circuit Court Judge in Division VI.

I've been an attorney for almost 20 years, practicing in many areas and focusing for the past ten years on family law. One of my favorite things about being a lawyer is being able to help those in need. I started volunteering in law school and I keep up that commitment today.

If elected, I plan to work with our local nonprofit and legal community to further assistance for pro se litigants (those without attorneys). The percentage of pro se litigants is increasing, and courts can improve the services offered to them, for example, by organizing classes for pro se litigants in small claims and family law, encouraging and supporting the efforts of walk-in clinics such as Counsel in the Court, and working with state courts to provide do-it-yourself forms for many common simple legal needs. However, it is important that this assistance to pro se litigants not take place in the courtroom, where doing so would require a Judge to step out of a neutral role.  

As an attorney, I have spent twenty years serving as an advocate.  Although I advocate for one side, a critical part of helping my clients prepare for negotiation, mediation, and court is always to pause, put ourselves in the shoes of the other side, and consider why the other side might disagree with our proposals, what the other side might be scared about, what the other side might want. This mindset helps us reach settlement more than almost anything else we do. Likewise, a good judge thinks about the case from all perspectives.

As a Guardian ad Litem, appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child, and as a mediator, I serve as a neutral party, trying to find middle ground, but still considering the case from all perspectives. The more I've served as a neutral party, the more I've become interested in serving as a Judge.  

If you have questions about the judicial election or my candidacy, I hope you'll contact me.

 Catherine Stafford

Catherine Stafford