Your Opinion: Partisanship not the issue in party’s award

Dear Editor:

Mary Miranda’s submission on April 18 questioned the ethics of Judge Patricia Joyce in accepting an award at the 27th James T. Blair Award dinner to be held on April 26.

I would like to ease the concerns of Ms. Miranda. The first point I would make is that Miranda should know that the circuit judges in Cole County are elected in partisan campaigns. Cole County does not use a non-partisan election system for its circuit court judge positions.

Cole County Circuit Judges Beetem, Green and Sodergren, all Republicans, ran political campaigns, received the endorsements of their party in primaries, were supported in their general elections by the Republican Party and have never indicated that their election would require them to sever those real ties to a party and its policy positions.

Judge Joyce — like Judges Beteem, Green and Sodergren by their election — has made an ethical commitment to enforce the laws of this state regardless of partisan impact. Of course, each judge also brings a personal wealth of experience and perception to the bench; but the law is the mistress they serve.

I would also note that Judge Joyce has served honorably in the Cole County Circuit Court for years and her administration of justice has not been questioned or impeached as being partisan in any way. In fact, any intimation of pure partisan influence in her decisions would have ethically bound the appropriate judicial review process to be opened. Further, the very nature and partisan mix in the Cole County courthouse would have guaranteed that any breach of this trust would not have gone unnoticed.

Finally, I would make two points. I would humbly recommend that Miranda not immediately slip into attack mode with insinuation, innuendo and baseless assertions, proving only that she has jumped to unfounded conclusions about an elected official. In other words, understanding how an office is actually filled might have prevented her from reaching the conclusion that she did based upon an advertisement placed in the News Tribune.

Secondly, Miranda presumed that she would not be welcome at this event. As an attendee at last year’s event, which included guests who happened to be Republicans and participated because they were related to or friends of the honoree.

I can confirm that should Miranda be interested in attending; she would be more than welcome. All Republicans left last year well and smiling.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to


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