Missoula Justice of the Peace Alex Beal on running for re-election
Outgoing Department One Justice of the Peace Alex Beal appeared on KGVO Talk Back on Thursday to answer questions from listeners about his re-election bid for a second four-year term.
Beal discussed the tumultuous state of the justice system when he was elected four years ago and his efforts to “right the ship” with fellow justice of the peace Landee Holloway.
“The first month we were there, we got to all the staff together,” Judge Beal began. “We have a new independent administrator who is in charge of personnel and this is something we have been working on with the county commissioners office. Judges should be in charge of the courtroom and responsible for making decisions about things. No one elects us to be a group of managers.
Beal acknowledged that Justice Court is often the first experience a member of the public has with the criminal justice system.
“I try to treat the court professionally,” he said. “We handle it cleanly, but in a friendly way and it can be a scary process. I want you in and it doesn’t have to be scarier than that. We will walk you through the process. I’ll let you know what your options are, and we’ll go from there. There are consequences for people’s actions. These consequences are addressed. We issue sentences, fines, jail time, whatever is appropriate in the circumstances, but I try to explain to people, “this is why we are doing this.”
He explained what the Court of Justice can and cannot do in the criminal justice system.
“I think it is important to understand what the Court of Justice does and does not do,” he said. “And so we’re not doing the whole thing on a crime. People who are on their 13th DUI the only time we’re going to see it is if they’ve been arrested and that first hearing and what kind of bail should there be and then the rest but as and as this case progresses, like jail, this is all up to the district court. We don’t care about that. »
Beal said criminal cases tend to get attention, but that’s only a small fraction of what happens in court every day.
“We’ve talked a lot today about violent crime, criminal crime, things like that, but that’s about half a percent of what we do on a daily basis,” he said. “The remaining 49.5% are misdemeanors. 50% is civilian stuff. No one thinks of us in terms of civilians (cases) but half of our work is about people being prosecuted. People getting kicked out, all those little things and just being able to provide a fair and reasonable experience for people to come and settle their differences, and that makes me happy.
Beal is opposed in the primary by Bill Burt and Daniel Kaneff, both of whom have extensive military and police experience.
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