April 30, 2016
The following are facts about the Office and Candidates for Chief Magistrate of Jasper County. Please be aware of these facts before you vote!
KEN JACKSON ABANDONED HIS POSITION 2 YEARS AGO, BUT IS STILL CONSIDERED “CHIEF MAGISTRATE”
Ken Jackson is still Chief Magistrate of Jasper County even though he abandoned his post two years ago for a teaching and coaching job in McDonough, GA. As was brought up at the candidate forum last night, Angie Steele is an appointed Associate Magistrate. Her ads stating “she has served 3 terms” mislead people in believing she is the incumbent Chief Magistrate. Her opponents pointed this out.
In her closing statement, Angie Steele outlines her qualifications for the position and how she has filled in for Ken Jackson.
The Clerk of Court has much influence with the Superior Court judges about who is appointed as an Associate Magistrate. It also appears the Clerk had a lot of say when Ken Jackson left the position he was elected to as a full time Magistrate for other full-time employment, and was still allowed to continue to be Chief Magistrate.
Tim Lam outlines his qualifications for the position and brings up “conflicts of interest,” which was mentioned several times during the forum. Tim Lam is a local attorney that has been in private practice for over 26 years.
Bobby Jacobs is also running for the office and outlined his qualifications and why there should be no conflicts of interest with the Magistrate Judge and the Sheriff’s office.
The Magistrate Court is the people’s court. “The Magistrate’s office is not supposed to be buddy buddy with the Sheriff’s Department” or with the DA’s office. This is an issue with the candidates and with many of the citizens because currently Angie Steele is serving as Magistrate and her husband, Mike Steele, is a Captain with the Sheriff’s department and is the supervisor over the deputies. What happens when the deputies come to get warrants from Angie Steele or bring cases to court and Angie Steele is the Magistrate that hears the cases?
There was an ad in this week’s paper (Monticello News 4/28/16) that stated:
“Not sure who to Vote for in the race for Chief Magistrate? Ask a court official, or law enforcement officer who they are voting for and take their advice.”
Now could a law enforcement officer—meaning a Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputy—give any sort of unbiased answer if they were asked this question? It seems unlikely since their supervisor is the Angie Steele’s husband. Is it even ethical for any law enforcement officer to openly promote any candidate for Magistrate?
These are questions you must ask yourself and facts you should be aware of before you vote on May 24th (or during early voting starting this coming week).
Citizens, be informed and stay informed!