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Letter: Former judge Lisa Borgen says Judge Cahill must go

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Electing judges has always been a strange proposition. Most voters have no idea who the judge is, much less how well they do their job. The only information a voter has about the performance of the judge is what they see in the media, or experience first-hand in court. The only performance evaluation for a judge is the election process.

A Public Reprimand is one of the harshest forms of discipline given to a judge who has behaved badly on the bench. It is the Board of Judicial Standard’s method of informing the public of judicial misconduct. It is up to the public to determine if the judge remains in office, or if they will vote for someone else to replace him or her.

In April 2014, Judge Steven Cahill was publically reprimanded in an 8 page document citing 18 separate cases in which he violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Board cited four specific findings against Judge Cahill: 1) Failure to Follow the Law; 2) Improper Ex Parte Orders; 3) Chronic Tardiness and Related Misconduct; and 4) Discourtesy to Court Staff.  Additionally, the Board noted, “He (Cahill) did not acknowledge that he committed any violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct based on his tardiness or any other conduct. Judge Cahill appears to have difficulty in acknowledging clear legal authority constraining his discretion.” This public reprimand can be found on-line with a simple Google search.

On Aug. 12, 2014 the voters of the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota have a duty to evaluate the performance of Judge Cahill. The voters must decide if he has earned the privilege to continue to be our judge, or if 2 other candidates will go on to the general election on Nov. 4.

I was a Judge in the 7th District for nearly 8 years. The office of judge is an honor and a privilege to hold. It requires a person to be learned in the law and respectful of it. It requires respect toward litigants and their time. It requires respect of the court staff and all others who trust in our system of justice. Being a judge is a public service — it is not something to be taken for granted. The power of a judge should be wielded with caution, respect and in deference to the law.

In the upcoming election, I am supporting Ken Kohler for Judge. Ken has been a public servant nearly all his career. He is a veteran and served as a Judge Advocate General for over 10 years, serving the men and women in the military. He was a prosecutor for over 20 years serving the public. He is a long-time member of Kiwanis, serving the children of our community. Ken is experienced and learned in the law, respectful of all people and their time, and has earned the trust and respect of his peers.

Voting is a privilege and a duty. Please use the power of the polls to evaluate Judge Steven Cahill’s performance as your district judge. You have the information, now it is time to make your decision. I am informed, and my evaluation tells me it is time for a change. I am voting for Ken Kohler.  — Lisa Borgen, Moorhead

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