Saturday, May 25, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
October 16, 2012
DALLAS -- Norman Hill said he wants the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness he believes he's shown as a Polk County Circuit Court judge since his appointment in
Gerald Tipton opined his resume as a circuit court judge pro tem in Linn County and working as a trial lawyer in all common areas of law make him better suited to sit on the bench than the incumbent.
Hill of West Salem and Tipton of Dallas are vying for Position 3 in Oregon's 12th judicial district during the November general election.
The circuit court is Oregon's trial court of general jurisdiction and of record. Judges hear cases regardless of the subject matter, amount of money involved, or the severity of the crime alleged. Terms are for six years.
Both Hill and Tipton had been among a group of eight who sought appointment in 2011 to the court after Fred Avera's retirement, with Hill getting the nod from Gov. John Kitzhaber's office.
"I sought this position
Before then, Hill's entire career had been in private practice, first as an associate, and later as a partner, at Salem-based Martinis & Hill. His focus has been real estate, land-use, business law and other civil litigation.
Hill earned a law degree from Willamette University in 1994, and currently serves as an adjunct professor there.
Tipton enrolled in the Army after law school in 1979 and retired after 30 years in 2009. During that period, he served as a military prosecutor, a deputy district attorney in Union County and was a partner in a general law practice.
He served as a staff judge advocate for the Rhode Island National Guard for 11 years and was the rule of law officer for Coalition Forces in Baghdad in 2006. From 2009 to 2011, he was appointed circuit court judge pro tem in Linn County, hearing domestic violence cases.
"I enjoyed serving as a judge for two years," Tipton said. "Although the domestic violence court was stressful because of all the defendants charged with violent crimes, I took great comfort in my ability to positively influence people who appeared before me."
Tipton opined that Hill lacks experience when it comes to criminal law -- another factor that led him to run for judge.
"I could not imagine a judge who has experience only in real estate law deciding criminal cases, juvenile cases or divorces," he said.
Hill said he's tried a wide variety of civil law matters, and that, as a judge these past few months, he's handled everything from criminal trials to termination of parental rights.
Hill is endorsed by Polk County's other two circuit court judges, as well as several judges from neighboring counties.
"If criminal law is the important issue here, I would say that most of the people doing criminal law in Polk County have endorsed me in this race," Hill said.
Both Hill and Tipton named scarce resources as the biggest problem for the county's criminal justice system.
Hill noted that the courtroom above the county's jail is used when a defendant in custody is to appear in court to make better use of jail staff time.
"The key to maximizing public resources is to view the court as a partner in the criminal justice system and to be sensitive to the demands the court places on that system," he said.
Tipton said filing and administrative fee increases have posed barriers to the courts for poor and middle class citizens. Support staff in the Oregon Judicial Department, meanwhile, "slows down or stops the judicial process."
"I believe that I can help influence and educate legislators and voters of the county about the effects of the cuts," he said. "I can help in individual cases by expediting hearings to the extent possible and by making prompt decisions in all matters."
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, 12th DISTRICT
Name: Norman Hill.
Hometown: West Salem.
Name: Gerald Tipton.