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After the recent League of Women Voters Forum, I spoke with Gary Ahlers, Republican candidate for magistrate judge. I want to thank him for agreeing to publish the whole and complete public record of all his felony and misconduct charges, including the disposition of every charge, on his Web site (www.garyahlers.com) by Sunday. He thanked me for the suggestion.
At the forum, he encouraged voters to get educated. It is a common-sense public concern that our judges’ ethical behavior and moral character be above reproach and completely trust-worthy, above the standards appropriate for other offices. This assessment cannot be made in blind faith or from newspaper articles or conjecture. The whole and complete record of the once-public file will allow a rational perspective. Why is this information relevant? The best predictor of a person’s future judgment is their past judgment.
I told him that the document declaring the sealing/expunging of his record would not be helpful, because the sealing is almost automatic once an application has been received. No determination of guilt or innocence is involved in this process. I reminded him that if he were running for a judicial position in the state of New Jersey, he would be required to disclose all of the information in the record. I think that our community deserves the same consideration and opportunity to judge for our selves whether there is any merit in these controversial articles. I have not heard these articles defended by facts. I would have preferred that Mr. Ahlers had gone to court and been able to clear his name, but according to the only record we have, he chose not to. Here is his opportunity. I look forward to Mr. Ahlers’ complete disclosure of his sealed record before I vote, so that I can assess his suitability for the position in a fair and reasoned manner.
Editor’s note: A review of Ahlers’ Web site this morning did not show the above referenced posting.