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Voter guide: Rob Thompson, Judge of the Circuit Court (5)

Rob Thompson

Candidate for Judge of the Circuit Court, 5


Age 54

Residence Pasadena, Anne Arundel County

Occupation Judge, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County

Education Bachelor of Arts, 1987; Master of Arts, 1990, Juris Doctor 2001.


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Previous political experience


None

Why are you running for office?


I am running to retain the seat I was appointed to in 2018

Should judges be elected?


As a judge I have taken an oath and one of the requirements of that oath is that I not take political or policy positions. Because the issue of whether circuit court judges in Maryland should continue to be elected has been before the legislature, I feel it would go against my oath for me to answer the question. I can state that pursuant to the current laws of Maryland, circuit court judges must be elected.

Should judges accept political contributions from members of the bar who may appear before them?


Yes. For as long as appointed judges are required to defend their seats, and for as long as lawyers may run for to unseat the appointed judges, all candidates should be allowed to solicit and accept contributions from lawyers. All citizens have a stake in the quality of the men and women who serve as judges, and therefore should be allowed to participate in all aspects of the election process.

Should the appointment process Maryland currently uses to select judges be changed?


As a judge I have taken an oath and one of the requirements of that oath is that I not take political or policy positions. Because the matter of how judicial selection is conducted under the Governor’s appointment power is an issue of Executive Order and Executive branch policy, I feel it would go against my oath for me to answer the question.

Are you an advocate for diversion programs such as drug court, veterans court and other paths to help defendants avoid jail?


Yes. The General Assembly has authorized by statute that the courts may create diversionary programs as follows: Veterans Courts; Adult Drug Courts; Juvenile Drug Courts; Re-Entry Courts; Truancy Courts; Bad Check Diversion; Driving Diversion; Marijuana Diversion; and Theft Diversion. Each diversionary court is created and managed by the Court itself, and each operates with rules and requirements for those deemed eligible to participate. As an example, the Adult Drug Court in Anne Arundel County rules and requirements are listed at: http://www.circuitcourt.org/learn-about/drug-treatment-court

Should MDEC be adjusted to end the practice of preventing court files from being sealed without judicial review?


As a judge I have taken an oath and one of the requirements of that oath is that I not take political positions. Because this issue is political in nature, I feel it would go against my oath for me to answer the question.

Should law enforcement officers' names be removed from online court records?


Most court records, with limited exceptions, are open to public inspection. Most court proceedings, with limited exceptions, are public proceedings. Should the Executive or Legislative branches seek to remove information from on-line court records, I would consider that a political matter, and, as above, I would respectfully decline to answer.

Should a judge's record of being overturned or upheld on appeal be easily available to the public.


As above, most court records, with limited exceptions, are open to public inspection. Should the Executive or Legislative branches seek to modify court records to make such information easier to obtain, I would consider that a political or policy matter, and, as above, I would respectfully decline to answer further.

Which is more important, sentencing guidelines or judicial discretion?


Both are equally important. The people, through their legislators, have input into the sentencing guidelines. Judges draw upon their experience, training, and sound judgment when using judicial discretion. Our system benefits from both.

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