Brenda Yaskal believes that the judicial system should be three main things: efficient, effective, and just. Brenda will bring all three qualities to the bench, and she is confident that she is the best candidate to do so.
The judicial system should strive to move cases through more quickly, while still maintaining a sense of fairness and decorum. Although each case comes to court for different reasons, a fair resolution is the goal of every one of them. The judge needs to balance the rights of each party, while still striving to reach a reasonable outcome. It is not an easy job. Brenda has had the opportunity to practice in front of a number of judges in different counties and has observed the operation of the courts in each one. Brenda looks forward to working with the staff of the clerk of court’s office, as well as the two judges already working in Columbia County, to keep the courts working smoothly and to improve the areas that need some help.
Disputes do not end when the court case is finished. The judge may have decided which party should prevail, but there is often a court order that needs to be followed, such as a visitation schedule for the children after a divorce. Brenda believes that people are more likely to follow the court’s order when they are involved and invested in the making of said order. The rise of collaborative divorce and mediation prove that to be true. As much as it can, the court system should strive to keep the parties involved in the process, rather than just solving their conflict and sending them on their way.
On the criminal side of things, effective outcomes correct the behavior and deter the defendant from repeating their actions. This can be a very difficult task, but by taking into account each defendant’s particular circumstances, as well as the effect the crime had on the victim, the judge should tailor the sentence to each individual case.
Fairness is the bedrock of our judicial system. Each person who comes in front of the judge should feel like his or her side has been heard and taken into account when deciding the outcome. Whether it is a civil case or a criminal case, most people end up in court because something bad has happened. The court process should not make the situation worse. The judge should treat each party with dignity and respect, no matter what brings them into the courtroom.
Throughout her career, Brenda has heard more than one judge tell a jury that while our judicial system may not be perfect, it is the envy of the rest of the world. Brenda categorically believes that to be true. In civil cases, both sides are allowed to present evidence to an impartial judge and jury and have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court if there was an error in the proceedings. In criminal cases, defendants are afforded a presumption of innocence and are not forced to testify or incriminate themselves. We need quality judges to keep the system functioning and Brenda is the best candidate to fulfill that need in Columbia County.