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2006 Guide Home


What's in this Guide

Voter Rights

Polling Places

Where to find a
printed copy of
this voter guide

Editors Note


Absentee Ballots

Additional Voter

Governor & Lt. Governor

Secretary of State

Attorney General

U.S. Senator

U.S. Representative in
Congress (6th District)

State Board
of Education

University of Michigan
Board of Regents

Michigan State University
Board of Trustees

Wayne State University
Board of Governors

Justice of the State
Supreme Court

Judge of the
Court of Appeals
(3rd District)

State Senator
(20th District)

State Representative
(60th, 61, & 63rd Districts)

Kalamazoo County

Judge of the
Circuit Court (9th Circuit)

Judge of the District Court
(8th District, 1st Division)

Judge of the Probate Court

Galesburg City Council
Members & Mayor

Village of Augusta Trustees

Village of Climax Trustees,
President & Library Board

Village of Vicksburg

State Ballot Proposals

Kalamazoo County
Ballot Proposal

Judges of the District Court & Probate Court

  1. What is your vision for the future of our judicial system? What’s working well? What changes would you advocate and why? [90 word limit]
  2. In order of priority, list your major concerns about the court which you hope to serve. What measures are needed to address them? [80 word limit]
  3. In what ways can court procedure be less intimidating to the public? [70 word limit]

8th District Court Judge,
Division 1 - Incumbent

6-year term—Vote for not more than 1

Paul J. Bridenstine
Age 41. District Court Judge. U of Detroit, Law School; U of Notre Dame. Kalamazoo Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 1992–2000; District Court judge, 2000–present; WMU instructor, 2003–present.

1. The Court has incredible opportunities to educate the public and deliver prompt, even-handed justice. Successes consist of drug courts, domestic violence oversight and excellent relationships with the extended justice community, e.g., prosecutors, defense attorneys, police agencies and legal aide. Changes should include better collaboration with other courts to utilize resources and provide quality service to the public.

2. (a) Overcrowded jail. Community needs to accept that there is not enough space in the current jail to deal with chronic criminals. (b) Alternative sentencing. Continue creative responses to deal with acute problems, e.g., drugs, alcohol, domestic violence and suspended licenses. (c) Serious housing matters. Educate landlords and tenants about the proper way to deal with rental agreements. (d) Consumer debt. Change some laws to benefit citizens, not credit card companies.

3. The public needs to take advantage of the many educational opportunities to prepare themselves for court, including visiting when they don’t have a case. The Court should take the time to go through the expectations for litigants to make them at ease. Finally, the public should not expect that their television exposure reflects actual courtroom activity.

Probate Court Judge
6-year term—Vote for not more than 1

Curtis J. Bell
Age 39. Judge of the Probate Court, assigned to the 9th Judicial Circuit Family Division. Mattawan H.S., 1986. B.A., MSU, James Madison College, 1990. J.D., U of Iowa College of Law, 1993. Attorney in private practice, 1994–2005. Founding member of small litigation firm. Appointed by Governor Granholm to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Carolyn Williams, February 2005.

1. The future of our judicial system must balance the high judicial standards we have come to expect with the highest level of efficiency we can achieve. All branches of government are required to accomplish more with less. The people who work in the judicial system are what make our system work. Their dedication to their work and community is what produces the highest efficiency. Accepting the reality of budgetary constraints, it is imperative to streamline the judicial process to make our system as responsive to the citizenry as possible.

2. My primary concerns are the budget and facilities overcrowding. We continue to see budget cuts. This affects both the volume of persons we can serve and the level to which we serve them. Overcrowding at detention facilities continues. Fortunately the voters approved the Juvenile Home proposal. The overcrowding at the County Jail continues to be a serious problem. We must strike a balance of rehabilitation and safeguard for our citizens. The reality is that sufficient jail space is a necessity to accomplish this task.

3. Intimidation in the judicial system is not by design, but an unintended consequence to the seriousness of some of the business that the Court performs. Citizens generally have very limited experience with the Judiciary. It is our responsibility to treat people with respect and provide the opportunity to be heard. Courts are responsible to the citizenry and must be available to the public, not just in form, but also in application.