Racine County Judge Election: Fredrickson, McClendon

A political newcomer and former public defender will run against the current Circuit Court Branch 7 Judge Jon Fredrickson in the April 2 election.

Former Gov. Scott Walker appointed Fredrickson in September after Judge Charles Constantine retired.

Racine County Eye asked a series of questions. Here are their answers:

Judge Jon Fredrickson

Racine Judge

Length of time living in the community?
I have spent my entire life (except for four years at the University of Southern California) as a resident of Southeastern Wisconsin. My wife was born and raised in Franksville, and we have been raising our two children in Caledonia since 2012. A truly great community.

What is your spouse’s name?
Sarah Friday

Please name any civic groups you have been involved with.
I am currently serving on the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA Advisory Board

What motivated you to run for office?
I currently hold this office. I became a judge to use my energy and years of experience to serve the citizens of Racine County. My judicial strength is founded upon nearly two decades of litigating complex cases in the trial and appellate courts, fighting for what is right.

If you are an incumbent, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
Keeping our community safe, and ensuring that equal and fair justice is done in each and every case. I have served our community well, with integrity and honesty. I am tough, but always fair. I treat every person in my court with respect and compassion.

How can the criminal justice system make society better as a whole?
As a circuit court judge, I don’t take positions on public policy, which is the responsibility of the Wisconsin legislature. I will always strive, however, to improve the administration of the courts, to better serve the citizens of our community. My job is to impartially apply the laws as written by the legislature. I am a fierce advocate for an independent, impartial judiciary that stays in its lane, and never attempts to legislate or shift public policy from the bench, but at all times tries to improve the quality of the judicial system.

Do you believe non violent crimes deserve imprisonment?  
I respectfully will not be answering this question, because this is a matter of public policy, which is within the role and responsibility of the Wisconsin legislature. As a sitting circuit court judge, it would be inappropriate for me to express my personal views.

If you answered yes, what types of non-violent crimes deserve imprisonment?
Please refer to my answer to the question above.

What is your view on treatment courts?
Treatment courts are a powerful tool that can be used by the judiciary for the fair and effective treatment of all citizens. More specifically, such courts are currently being used for proceedings involving veterans as well as working hard to try to help stem the use of opioids, which is a scourge of our society.

What is your view on the criminalization of THC? 
I respectfully will not be answering this question, because it is, again, a matter of public policy, which is within the role and responsibility of the Wisconsin legislature. As a sitting circuit court judge, it would be inappropriate for me to express my personal views.

What is your view on pretextual stops?
I respectfully will not be answering this question, because it is a constitutional issue that may very well come in front of the courts again. As a sitting circuit court judge, it would be inappropriate for me to express my personal views. And a judge or judicial candidate should never prejudge an issue that might come before them.

 

Jamie McClendon

Racine Judge

Length of time living in the community?
Since 2011 with the exception of the 1.5 years I moved away when I met my husband. He chose to come back with me to the community I call home, Racine.

Please name any civic groups you have been involved with.
Visioning a Greater Racine, NAACP

What motivated you to run for office?
Racine is where I established my career as attorney. I know how the Racine County court system works. I know its strengths and weaknesses. Racine County deserves to have a judge that has actually practiced in the community and protects justice for all people.

If you are an incumbent, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
N/A

How can the criminal justice system make society better as a whole?
I have had over 1300 cases in Racine County and there is one thing that everyone says, “I will never come back.” This isn’t the case for too many people. We want our justice system to protect us from harm not only during the period of someone’s incarceration, but also when a person comes back to the community. The reality is most people will come back. I have a strong working relationship with the local probation department and the community-based treatment groups. I will continue to engage the community to facilitate people’s need for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Do you believe non violent crimes deserve imprisonment?  
I don’t think you can rule out prison for non-violent crimes. When deciding someone’s sentence there are so many factors that a judge has to take into consideration. Three main factors include: the gravity of the offense, the character and rehabilitative needs of defendant, and the need to protect the community. Probation should be considered unless it would diminish the seriousness of the offense or the protection of the community. As a judge, I will determine a sentence based on each unique individual and the circumstances surrounding their case.

If you answered yes, what types of non-violent crimes deserve imprisonment?
Racine County, just like the rest of the country, is dealing with a serious opiate crisis. If, after weighing the gravity of the offense, the character and rehabilitative needs of the defendant, and the need to protect the community, a court should be able to sentence a person who sells heroin or other opiates to prison to protect the community. Burglaries, including some that have occurred in my neighborhood, are also considered a non-violent crime. As a judge, I would make this decision on a case to case basis.

What is your view on treatment courts?
Racine County’s two treatment courts are very successful and we should expand treatment courts. Racine County also needs a domestic abuse treatment court. Domestic abuse causes collateral damage to everyone in the family. Too often victims of domestic abuse go back to their abusers because they do not believe they have any other choices. Children can be temporarily taken from the home and need help understanding what is going on within their family. I support having a treatment court that treats the whole family unit to improve Racine County.

What is your view on the criminalization of THC? 
As a judge, I have to follow the law in Wisconsin. As of right now, possession of THC is still illegal. However, I don’t think a person should have their whole lives turned upside down for a simple, small amount possession. If Wisconsin decides to change its laws regarding the possession of THC, I would be bound to follow that law as well.

What is your view on pretextual stops?
Pretexual stops are permitted by the law and I will uphold these stops accordingly. But there is a concern that pretexual stops are disproportionately applied to people of color. As a judge, I will make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly under the law in my courtroom.

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