Bart Stanley touted his 20 years of experience and exemplary performance as Circuit Court Judge as reasons he should be reelected to the bench.
Scott Horton touted his Republican values and conservative ideology as reasons he should unseat Stanley and be elected Circuit Court Judge.
The two candidates met Monday night at Warren County Administrative Offices in a political forum sponsored by Southern Standard and WCPI. Early voting starts today with Election Day set for Aug. 4.
Said Horton, “Our Supreme Court has proven that ideology does matter. With Roe v. Wade, a conservative court overturned it and our liberal judges wouldn’t. Our ideology, our world view, affects the way we rule.”
Stanley countered, “You talk about ideology. This is not an ideological job. We don’t make the law. We make sure the laws are applied fairly to everyone who comes in front of us.”
Stanley began by talking about his seven years as a trial lawyer and 20 years on the bench as Circuit Court Judge. He has also served as City Judge in McMinnville and County Attorney in Van Buren County.
“No offense to Mr. Horton but he is not a trial lawyer,” said Stanley. “He may do other things and he may do very well in other areas of the law, but he is not a trial lawyer. I searched the records of Warren County twice and had it verified. He has tried one jury trial, one, in 20 years and he has made the statement that he’s the most qualified person in this race to be the Circuit Court Judge. I don’t know how objectively you can claim that when you’ve had one trial in 20 years in Warren County and zero cases in Van Buren County in 11 years."
Stanley continued, “Being a trial judge requires a familiarity with the rules of criminal procedure, with the rules of civil procedure, and the rules of evidence. If you are not well versed in those, you are going to get your cases overturned and the people who come before you whose child has been raped or killed or run over by a drunk driver, they are going to have to relive that if you don’t know what you’re doing and I have a very, very good record on appeal with the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. What I hope to get across tonight is not only have I done this job for 20 years, I’ve done it well and I’m proud of that.”
Horton says the country is in trouble and says his 30 years of practicing law make him a great fit for Circuit Court Judge. He applauded the conservative justices on the Supreme Court and went on to say he supports funding the police, the Second Amendment, and closing the borders.
“I’m a conservative Christian Republican,” said Horton. “I always have been and don’t know what else to be. You already know what we believe. You know that we’re against abortion. I don’t know why the other side thinks abortion is so important but the important thing about knowing what we believe is it affects how we rule and what we do. The Supreme Court justices ruled that Roe v. Wade was unconstitutional and they kicked abortion back to the states.”
Horton continued, “I think we need to close the borders. We have people coming in with drugs with sickness with disease and gangs. We have over 100 countries sending people into this country illegally and we need to go back to the rule of law and undo what Biden is doing. If these people come to Warren County or Van Buren County, we need to put them in jail, take them to the federal prisons and get them out of our country. If elected, I would be tough on crime. I would be tough on violent crime. I would be tough on child molesters, on drug dealers and murderers. We wouldn’t have any reducing bonds to let these people out on the street and endanger our citizens.”
Horton talks about his Experience,
Said Horton in addressing his courtroom experience, “Judge Stanley talked about trials. Most of my cases settle. There are very few cases in Warren County that don’t settle. When he became judge at 32, I don’t think he’d been in court very often. He was brand new.”
Horton continued, “A trial judge is kind of like an umpire. He’s not a player. He’s an umpire. My finding in Warren and Van Buren County in talking to people, they don’t think we’re tough enough on crime for whatever reason. I promise you, on violent crime you will go to jail. You will be sentenced to the fullest sentence that we can give you if you’re a murderer, child molester, if you abuse people, if you abuse animals, you’re going to go to jail. The public needs to have faith in the criminal justice system and they’ve lost it and if I’m elected your Circuit Court Judge, I plan to bring that confidence back because it’s going to be like Judge Haston where you’re going to be afraid to come to court because you will go to jail.”
Stanley talks about
Stanley talked about starting the Drug Court program in Warren County.
“I did some research on drug courts and they were actually making a difference in drug-addicted people and the recidivism rate and bringing it down. It wasn’t astronomical but they were making a difference and I thought, we’ve got to do something because we’re doing nothing. When you put somebody away in jail for three months, six months, a year, three years, five years, and they are an addict and you don’t do anything to help them, when they get out they’re still an addict. So I put a team together and we trained for two years to learn about addiction and learn how drug courts work and we received our certificate for completing all of those programs, and we went to different states to do that, and 18 years later we have over 400 graduates from that program.
Stanley continued, “We were the only Drug Court program in Tennessee to receive a $500,000 grant this past year. The only one in Tennessee. And I will say they don’t hand out half a million dollars to a program that’s not working. As of this spring, 77% of our graduates have not reoffended and that is an exceptional number and I’m really proud of that number. And not only aren’t these people on drugs, they are working and earning a living, paying their taxes and being a good citizen.”