Thursday, March 15, 2018

In her own words: Debra A. Seaton

Judge Debra A. Seaton is a candidate for the Willis vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit. Her punch number is 159.

Fairness and justice are important principles to me. These principles motivated my service as an attorney and they undergird my desire to remain a judge. Principles of fairness and justice not only apply in the courtroom as I sit as a judge. They apply to me personally every day of my life. These principles resonant in me strongly because of the many obstacles I have had to overcome. My commitment to fairness and justice for all communities is deeply instilled in my personality and my character. The question I ask myself every day is "Was I fair to both sides?"

As a trial attorney in private practice and as a public defender, I fought tenaciously for fairness and justice in trials. I knew that I was the only voice that my clients had. I became their voice; a voice to the voiceless. As a judge, I am a gatekeeper of justice. It is my responsibility to ensure procedural due process and fairness within the bounds of the law. My experience in everything from traffic to death penalty cases; restorative justice, specialty courts, deferred prosecutions, expungements, child support, mandatory arbitration, appeals and other areas of law has grounded me in a keen awareness of procedural due process. My experience has also given me the courage to do the right thing. Injustice remains injustice whenever a person is not willing to make a decision to change it. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I want to remain as a judge to do everything within my power and authority to prevent injustice from occurring in any courtroom in which I preside.

Service to others undergirds my desire to remain a judge. Commitment to my community in serving seniors, mentoring and educating our youth is an integral part of being a judge. I have extended that commitment to teaching judges and lawyers in Nigeria and Kenya. Justice tempered with mercy is my judicial philosophy. I always keep in mind both a constitutional and humanitarian desire to restore those who are accused to useful and productive lives in society and to provide procedural due process to all litigants from all communities. Ensuring fairness and justice in our courts– that is why I want to remain a judge.

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