Pharos-Tribune

Local News

October 28, 2012

Two candidates vie for Circuit Court position

Democrat Leo Burns running for re-election against Republican Douglas Cox.

LOGANSPORT — In the race for Circuit Court judge, incumbent Leo Burns, a Democrat, is focusing on education and programming while Douglas Cox, a former judge and the Republican candidate, is turning to the workings of the court system.

While Burns stresses education as the key in dealing with juvenile cases, Cox vows to streamline the court process so that filings are made in a timely manner. The Circuit Court judge position has a six-year term.

Burns was elected to the position in 2006 and before had practiced law as Logansport city attorney as well as in private practice. He was a deputy prosecuting attorney from 1986 to 2000. Burns is a graduate of Indiana Judicial College, as well as a 1974 graduate of Purdue University and 1986 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.

Cox spent 12 years as the judge of Cass Superior Court and currently works in private practice. He has also worked as an administrative law judge for the Indiana Employment Security Office and as the staff counsel for First National Bank of Logansport. Cox is a graduate of the Indiana Judicial College and National Judicial College, a 1976 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1979 graduate of Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington.

As a judge, Cox helped start the Cass-Pulaski Community Corrections program while Burns brought in the Six-to-Six program, which gives middle school students an alternative way to serve suspensions.

Circuit Court is the only court in Cass County that deals with juveniles, and because of that distinction, both candidates agreed that the handling of juveniles was a key part of the job.

Burns said he prides himself on providing education to juveniles, or to anyone in need of services.

“I’m the education judge,” he said. “I focus on education.”

These programs can be an essential way to break a cycle of criminality, he said, especially when the intervention is done early.

“We all realize that an early intervention is the way to go,” Burns said.

Cox said his experience working on children in need of services cases and serving on the board of the county children’s home prepared him for the job.

“These are things that give me those unique perspectives and experiences that I believe make me the best qualified candidate,” Cox said.

One of the biggest challenges of the job, Burns said, is dealing with funding cuts to the programs. In face of the cuts, he said, he’s tried to work with other agencies to make sure needed services, like the adult GED program, are still offered.

“What I’ve tried to do is adapt to them,” Burns said.

Budget also figures prominently in Cox’s campaign, and he says he will work to monitor administrative budgets as well as the success of programs in place and make sure offices are properly staffed. But beyond that, Cox said he’s hoping to make a change in the Circuit Court so that decisions are made within 24 hours, or within 60 days if the matter is more complex, and that entries are made in the clerk’s office within 24 hours.

“That is not always the case now in the Circuit Court,” Cox said.

Burns responded that some cases need time for a proper ruling, but he said he believed the court is functioning properly.

“I get routine things out routinely,” he said.

Both Cox and Burns have received reprimands from the Indiana Supreme Court. As Superior Court Judge, Cox received a 30-day-suspension in 1997 after the Supreme Court found that he had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by increasing a woman’s sentence because she demanded a jury trial and for other misconduct involving her case.

In the initial interview, Cox apologized for the situation, saying that he was unaware at the time of some of the guidelines mandated by the state in sentencing.

“Simply, I made a mistake,” Cox said. “I learned from the mistake, and I’m a better judge because of it,”

However, he later added in a phone interview that he was not legally allowed to discuss the case.

“There is a system in place on all matters that happen in any trial court,” Cox said. “Appellate courts review the decisions, in this case conviction and sentence were affirmed. The parties also have the right to voice their complaints through another system. Judges are not able to discuss details of any case.”

Burns received a public reprimand in 2008 for a 2004 case where he had been an attorney on an appeal. The court found that Burns had failed to give a copy of the appellate court’s denial ruling to a defendant, causing the defendant to miss a deadline for filing another appeal.

Burns said he would not comment further on the case, but at the time he said he accepted the court’s ruling.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I accept the Supreme Court’s order as a fair and just resolution of this matter.”

If they win the position, both candidates vowed to treat the people who come before them with respect.

“I try to treat everybody the way I would want to be treated, and I think that works,” Burns said.

Cox said he also would listen and respect everyone who came before him.

“I want them to know that they were heard,” Cox said.

• Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT042514 caston play alice.jpg Back in character: Caston students take the stage FULTON -- For the first time in eight years, students are taking the Caston stage for a high school play. Caston High School students will perform "Alice in Wonderland" today and May 2 in an effort to bring back the school's annual stage productions.

    April 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Panel discusses renewable energy, public power Professionals in the energy industry and economic development discussed public power and renewable energy Wednesday night at an event organized by a community organization urging citizens to explore alternatives to Logansport officials' pursuit of an

    April 25, 2014

  • City council considers putting polygraph fees on applicants Logansport City Council will vote on an ordinance that would require applicants to the city's police and fire departments to pay the costs of their polygraph tests, which would then be returned if and when they pass. Logansport Police Chief Mike Clar

    April 25, 2014

  • Boy severely injured in crash out of ICU A boy involved in an all-terrain vehicle crash April 6 has left the intensive care unit and undergone what doctors and his family hope to be his final brain surgery. Kohle Wildrick, 12, a Galveston Elementary sixth-grade student, remains hospitalized

    April 24, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 25, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS-PT042414 Princess Singing-MAK Fairy tale remix: Lewis Cass presents "Once Upon a Mattress" WALTON -- Barbra Burch played Queen Aggravain in Lewis Cass High School's 1985 production of "Once Upon a Mattress." Twenty-nine years later, she is directing the musical at the school. "It's kind of surreal," she said. "There are some things that ta

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Indiana Packers opening Frankfort plant FRANKFORT -- Delphi-based Indiana Packers bought a former Birchwood Foods meat plant in Frankfort and plans to reopen it this summer. Indiana Packers, which employs 2,000 full time at its Delphi plant, is investing $2.28 million to purchase, renovate

    April 24, 2014

  • Minding the nutrition gap Almost one in five children in Cass County who sometimes don't have access to enough food for a healthy life aren't eligible for federal assistance programs designed to address that lack, a new study indicates. Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap proj

    April 24, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 23, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall mortgage up for auction The mortgage note for the Logansport Mall is scheduled to be sold at auction early next month. Foreclosure procedures for the mall began when lawyers for Algonquin State Bank, N.A., out of Algonquin, Ill., filed a complaint against the mall's owner -

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
eEdition