Sunday, May 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
November 13, 2012
Polk County Circuit Court
12th Judicial District
Norman R. Hill 75.61%
Gerald R. Tipton 23.96%
POLK COUNTY -- Norman Hill had friends and family over on the evening of Nov. 6 to watch the election results for national and state races -- and his own bid for Polk County circuit court judge.
His response after checking the tally at 8 p.m. and seeing that he had won was to the point.
"I just said `thank you for voting,'" he said.
Polk residents retained Hill as the Position 3 judge in Oregon's 12th Judicial District by a wide margin. Hill received 75.6 percent of 25,666 votes to challenger Gerald Tipton's 24 percent.
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.
Hill, who resides in West Salem, was appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber in February to replace retiring judge Fred Avera.
The experience of running his first election campaign these past few months was "incredibly humbling," Hill said.
"To have so many of your friends, neighbors and people you've worked with for years willing to come out and sacrifice ... until you've gone through that with your name on the ballot, it's hard to comprehend what a profound experience that is," he said.
Hill said what he heard often during election season from constituents was that people have a hard time voting for judges because "they don't know who you are."
"There's a tendency for judges to withdraw from the community because they want to maintain independence and that's important," he said. "It's just as important to be part of your community.
"There's nothing in judicial ethics code that prevents you from being involved."
Hill said his goal moving forward is helping maintain the circuit court's efficiency in processing and resolving cases.
He's also working on a voluntary mediation program for small claims disputes that would entail cooperation with Willamette University's College of Law.