When Boone County voters go to the polls on August 2, they will have the opportunity to choose the circuit’s next Division 10 associate judge.
Unlike other county-level contested races in the primary, this one doesn’t have an opposing party challenger in the November general election, so whichever Democratic candidate wins in August is set to become the next family and juvenile judge.
The winner will also become Boone County’s first black judge. Candidates Angela Peterson and Kayla Jackson-Williams, however, did not focus on this fact.
Peterson touts her 22 years of courtroom experience, focusing on family law at both Mid-Missouri Legal Services and Columbia Family Law Group, as the reason she should be a judge.
Jackson-Williams, lawyer at Rogers | Ehrhardt Attorneys at Law sees itself as a means of bridging generational gaps in social and cultural understanding of law.
Peterson decided to run to “(ensure) fairness in the justice system for all litigants,” she wrote in response to questions from the Tribune.
To date, most of Peterson’s career has been with Mid-Missouri Legal Services. She was the director of litigation, the second in command. The organization focuses on providing free legal services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families.
She highlighted her standing on the Missouri Supreme Court‘s Family Court Access Committee as well as endorsements from Chris Kelly, former associate circuit judge and state representative, and longtime attorney Betty Wilson. Peterson also received the Boone County Bar Association’s Outstanding Service Award last year.
Peterson wants people to have faith in the justice system and by extension through her on the bench, where she will be “fair, impartial and ethical,” she wrote.
As a judge, Peterson wants to make sure the justice system is accessible and that everyone works on an equal footing, she wrote.
When current Division 10 Judge Leslie Schneider retires, the community will have a void in a lawyer with significant family law experience, Peterson wrote.
She wants to fill that void as the next judge.
“Because I have been in the courtroom and represented clients in family law cases for over two decades, I am uniquely qualified, experienced and prepared to handle the Division case. 10 from day one,” Peterson wrote.
The Boone County Circuit Court needs a judge with diverse experience, Jackson-Williams wrote to the Tribune about his reason for running.
She was born at the crossroads of two generations (Gen X and Millennials) and wants to be a bridge builder in the community for how people interact, she wrote.
“With a background in family, criminal and civil litigation, I have developed relationships with people in our community who come from all walks of life,” she wrote. “…We are bridge builders that our community needs. It also makes it easy for me to connect with others, allowing them to be authentic themselves and share things they don’t. might not otherwise share.
“This is important in intimate settings such as the courtroom.”
Part of being a judge is putting aside personal biases. Jackson-Williams said she was willing to do this to ensure that anyone who comes to court is treated with dignity and respect.
If elected, Jackson-Williams wants to bring a program to Boone County that is available in Callaway County, the other county in the 13th Judicial Circuit. While Boone County has multiple processing courtsJackson-Williams also wants to incorporate a family treatment court into it.
Jackson-Williams is ready to take on any case assigned to Division 10, she wrote.
Charles Dunlap covers local government, community stories and other general topics for the Tribune. You can reach him at [email protected] or @CD_CDT on Twitter. Please consider subscribing to support vital local journalism.