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WILK News Radio>Audio & Video on Demand>>Judge Michael Barrasse, Lackawanna County

Judge Michael Barrasse, Lackawanna County

Sep 22, 2009|

Corbett speaks with Judge Michael Barrasse of Lackawanna County about retention and more.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Michael bar racing is all online one thanks so much for calling the show your honor in midafternoon -- You're on the campaign trail which is a rarity for a sitting judge they frown on that in the course of your tenured term. But when retention comes along you gotta hit the campaign trail is an awkward. It it is kind of backward and in some ways and killed. Rewarding and others. -- is not supposed to be political yet you have to engage in the political process. On one hand so that when you're out there campaigning and I strictly to the criminal cases in the treatment courts in the allow people think I talked -- -- that puts an awkward situation often and it's -- the entire process of flow what they're asking it to be nonpolitical yet go ahead out and campaigned. Is really an oxymoron. Yesterday when we spoke with the judge Burke in Lucerne county he indicated that he would not put together a committee and he was not. Soliciting nor was anybody on his behalf soliciting any campaign contributions is is that odd is that what you don't. But -- -- be honest with you we have they have not formed a committee we will be -- a committee once we spend 500 dollar probably do the level is. So we will not be raising money from attorneys. And that this time we don't have any. Plans signed a soliciting any until it. Does that mean that money it really doesn't matter in a retention race. No right I think you have money may. I enter into it do the question is going to be with the public climate the way it is what people -- disruptions. Don't feel that occurred -- in Lucerne county I think there is a greater spotlight aren't. How old judges are raising funds and other spending those funds and the question of you know. Paying to play. It is just that I heightened levels. Do you believe that the increasing level of distrust. Has she bred to lack of one accounting. I don't believe it's spread to lock wanna -- let us talk and some over the weekend -- opinion he can never take anyone -- -- For granted. And he can't take for granted the fact that people aren't listening to whether it be you on the radio whether it be TV and newspapers so it's basically daily. About the two disgraced judges bear. And whether or not it's going to enter into their judgment when they'll vote for retention and another county. Do you believe people have. Ample reason to be distrustful of government and particularly of the judiciary. Well I think and in fairness I think it's been done. Where that is in the -- what the involvement is I think you can't. Ten point problem that occurred when Italians say well it's it's occurring here also or anyplace else in the states. The same way within -- I prefer profession. You can't but I do believe that there is an undercurrent. Of people saying you know yeah I thought so and you made its return here to. So well I don't believe there's a reason forge I can understand it. Do you worry about -- on the wrong or do you think that you've pretty much established herself and that the people who know you know you and they constitute your political base. And that you're pretty much a sure win. I certainly don't concern myself to show and on the other hand as they sit do you think you can never take a person's vote for granted I can never believed that. People are gonna look at your record and say well maybe that's not what I want to I believe very strongly that -- that was a record not only NBA but as judge. That I have been tested through really. Five general elections and tries primary elections you know if that's. They do -- had debates and everything else to put my of my record out there and I feel very strongly that my record over the last ten years has been very successful one -- -- states. Trial judges. Have give me a worse for the work or not I'm moving the case long. Both demanding that has serious psychological society Academy Awards in regard to our. Do you like court drug -- numbers judicial fell for the national drug court. I've also taught now offers by sixty year teaching. That's a national judicial college so I think. My work with regard to the criminal law in regard to a problem solving courts -- is well known. And I think the my temperament is also a well known so right I believe I have established my record I'm running on my record. And then you know open to answering questions about it. When we talk about what constitutes a good judge of course the words that come to minder integrity and and honesty. -- do you believe that character. Matters as much as ever when it comes to. The way you behave the way you handle yourself the way you live your life. I think without a doubt whether it be your character whether it be your courtroom demeanor. But -- knowledge of law that all that obviously goes together and you can't take out one piece. Obviously their integrity fairness is what people are looking for a principally but it's repository of but your background. That you're really need to put sports a public. Do you ever feel unfairly criticized. Well I think you have to realize and and public relations. After a period of time. That you are going to be criticized I think referred me I have to look at a fact -- prosecuted thousands of people. Threatens thousands of people and that's over a course of time you saw a really good Doug and some some enemies. And so right. Take it for what it's worth recognized that there are those enemies that are out there but I also recognize that. Over the years the fat majority of so people flock like Sony have supported me overwhelmingly. And those two people left in the light of our gaming message over to. And you prosecuted. All kinds of crime as the district attorney you've prosecuted homicides and rapes and violent crimes. When you think of your experience as a prosecutor does that matter in the way you behave as a judge does that help you. Senior judicial responsibility. But I think -- Not much the prosecution as much says it's the being in the courtroom they just finished up eight a drug case yesterday with a child abuse case. Telecoms under the rules of evidence when it comes to. The law in regards a camel side I think that. My experience obviously is they showed great help our political spoke to the Senate and the prosecutor that they know they're going before a judge that has had to literally thousands of cases and has been in in this trial has been India. In the trenches it's working for before a jury and before a judge felt for many years before he assumed the bench. After ten years as a judge in like a war calorie do you do you still feel that you're connected to the community. Or do you believe that may be of isolated yourself because you've been in office for about long. I think at that -- isolated myself in regard to politically. That that was so a change from being. I DA when you're running every four years and you constantly had to be at political events so yes not merely isolated myself. Also well you must in certain incidents to isolate yourself. Because of -- appears to propriety. On the other hand I'm very active in a lot of community. Now organizations but also. With my work on the treatment -- problem solving courts. We have reached out to be much more and I ever did. As the DA working with weather to the drug and alcohol treatment services are better today here. I EO TC whether it be chairing the panel just advisory board. Whether it be out. It was a community service so people going -- works. Whether do you with the juvenile treatment court -- are running the latest. I think I've they have not isolated myself regards to community. But I have in regard to political science which are needed to do. So we're looking at what six weeks until the election what's your plan for -- account downturn. 66 weeks every single day number one continue doing what I've been doing. Whether it be. The trials over the problem solving courts but this week we have a graduation -- that the malice and Iran first they -- or sixty graduates and we have. The Supreme Court justice McCaffrey upcoming interest part of our veterans court which starts on Thursday. And every weekend out there campaigning -- -- chicken dinners served. This weekend pixel blankets. Some lunch and then there's which they bring home to my parents so they have some priests. Well it's always good to share and you've got the campaign trail -- idea it's I almost said a simple yes or no vote. But we know that nothing is simple in northeastern Pennsylvania. And I wish you well and I appreciate your time my sharing your thoughts with us judge. Thank you very much Steven. Be great to talk to get.