The Republican Primary for Madison County District Court Judge got competitive today with Chris Messervy entering the race. Assistant District Attorney Don Rizzardi announced his candidacy last month. Incumbent Judge Lynn Sherrod (D) hasn’t announced her plans to run for re-election or retire yet.
The District Court has broad responsibility. The court handles civil cases up to $10,000, misdemeanor criminal cases and preliminary hearings, custody disputes, traffic charges and small claims cases.
“The District Court judge is really on the front lines between the community and the court system,” Messervy said. “You make all the decisions from the bench; there are no juries. And often, what the community thinks about the court system most likely derives from their experience with the District Court.
“I think being respectful from the bench goes a long way.”
Messervy has already picked up endorsements from retired Circuit Judge Loyd “Buddy” Little and Circuit Court Clerk Jane Smith.
“You will never find a more dedicated public servant than Don Rizzardi,” [Madison County District Attorney Rob] Broussard said. “He does have vast trial experience, and like many in our office, a lot of if it is unheralded work in the courtroom. He has ground through his cases and always done his duty. We’ve always been proud of Don in our office.”
The years in the courtroom and managing a heavy caseload have prepared him for the challenges every judge faces, Rizzardi said.
“I’ve seen a lot of different judges, and I’ve seen what works for some and what doesn’t. I will take the best I’ve seen from all of them,” he said.
Full disclosure: I’ve known Don Rizzardi for many years and I will campaign for him and then vote for him in the GOP Primary (March 13, 2012 – only 8 months away!). I’ve met Chris Messervy a couple of times and like him and would support him except that he’s running against Rizzardi.