By News-Register staff • 

Miller tops judge candidates in bar poll

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I'm surprised how many votes Lawrence received over Pihl...but then again, I do not know much about Pihl. That being said, his defeat to Judge Wiles and the Q&A with public that took place then was quite telling. Then there are the bar complaints and trust/ethical issues of the past. Sure, people can change but there is always that lingering question of, what if...

Fredrick is a respect defense attorney in the county, so it doesn't surprise me she trailed DDA Miller.

Notwithstanding, DDA Miller is by far the best candidate choice for many reason, the main one being her peers who have spoken. Then there are the victims who have received the justice they deserved under Miller's passion for attention to detail ensuring justice is served whenever humanly possible.

As a prosecutor she clearly understand the burden of proof that the state has to achieve a conviction or proper sentencing in any relevant plea agreement. As a judge that is something paramount in their decision making process, did the state meet their burden of proof. Also prosecutors are more than familiar with defense counsel tactics to circumvent whatever and wherever they can whereas the law or court procedure goes.

In short, DDA Miller is experienced and knowledgable on both sides of the isle.

Sure defense counsel also knows that the state has a burden of proof to meet, but they don't concentrate on that as much as they do finding any loop hole, slight of wiggle room, or what have you within legal parameters in order to serve the best interests of their client...which is to get off or receive as less punishment as possible for the alleged crime they committed. That singular focus bars them from a clear cut understanding of the prosecutor's burden.

So in my mind, DDA Lisl Miller is the best candidate to replace the Honorable Judge Stone.


I urge folks to consider that we not place another prosecutor on the bench. Our bench is prosecutor heavy, this results in family law cases being shuffled to the back of the line and civil cases going without experienced representation. Chapman graduated 2nd in her class at Lewis & Clark and is as smart as they come. We need a well rounded bench, vote Chapman.


Chapman is obviously smart but lacks experience. She has little courtroom experience and has never taken a case to trial. I wonder why she ever even thought to run for judge. It's like someone who doesn't eat wanting to become a chef... it makes no sense. In the first debate, she actually said her greatest qualification was her inexperience. If you used that line in a job interview, how do you think that would go over?

In a survey of the current sitting judges, they said that up to 90% of their caseload is comprised of criminal cases. It might sound good to have a "well-rounded" bench but it doesn't make sense. It's like hiring a plumber to build your house. None of the other houses in the neighborhood were built by plumbers so just even things out among the subcontractors, let's hire RotoRooter to install the joists.

I came across a resume of mine from right after I graduated from college. I didn't have any real experience so on it, I mentioned my extracurricular activities and my GPA. That's fine. I was young and there was no point in hiding that from my potential employers. Jen touting her class rank is kind of like that. When you have experience that starts to spill onto a second or even third page of a resume, you cut out things like class rank. Yes she's smart, but Lisl, Carol and the Marks are too, but none of them are talking about what they did in school.


RonJM - well said! Well said indeed!!

Great points about Chapman and the use of analogies to illustrate that fine factual point(s) without knocking anyone’s intellect down. Experience counts when it comes to being a judge.

Judges do due their time with family and civil law, but the overwhelming majority of cases heard in Yamhill County are tilted towards criminal law. One obvious reason for that is the frequent fliers through the revolving door of chances a couple judges are known for.

Yamhill needs a judge willing to curb that flow and give the appropriate justice to both sides, compassionately, BUT within the scope of the law, of course. And I know DDA Miller can, and will be that measure of an excellent judge for Yamhill County.


Chapman has taken many cases to trial and she has extensive court and litigation experience. You should check sources before making false factual statements. I don’t know which debate you attended but I’ve never heard her say any of the things you cite above.


If I’m wrong, I stand corrected and I apologize.

When asked in the debate, Jen said she had taken numerous cases to arbitration and mediation but stopped short of saying the word “trial.” Like others in the room, I took that to mean that she had not done a jury trial. Of course as I’m sure you know, arbitration and mediation are one level but a trial is much different. I know the other four candidates have each handled big trials that lasted weeks, with dozens of witnesses and life-or-death hanging in the balance. If Jen has sat first-chair in a trial like that, I don’t see it on her résumé.

I would encourage you to check the transcript from the first debate. She did in fact say that her greatest qualification is her inexperience. She also said in that first debate, in response to a question about mental health, that she wasn’t qualified to make a decision on someone. Another candidate then pointed out that judges make tough decisions like that every day and if she’s not qualified, then maybe she’s the wrong choice.

Here’s what I think: Williach72 is probably right saying Jen is “as smart as they come.” I think though that Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge is a really important job where life and death hang in the balance. If Jen wants to be a judge, the new judge will probably retire in 12 years. She should use this time to get the experience she needs by working as a Deputy DA. Run again in 2030 and she’ll have my vote.

Meg Kirschnick

I'm an attorney and I know Jennifer Chapman professionally and personally. I reviewed her resume and visited her website: I invite others to do so too.

She has over fifteen years of experience, including trial work as an Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice. She's appeared in Circuit Courts all over Oregon, and argued before the Oregon Court of Appeals. She has a broad range of experience: she's collected restitution on behalf of crime victims, enforced child support orders, worked on contract matters and auto accident cases, and more. In her current job, she represents the rights of law enforcement, nurses, doctors, attorneys, and social workers. She will bring a fresh perspective and a breadth of experience to the bench in Yamhill County. That is why I plan to vote for her.


If you want to talk analogies....

Miller is a DA, handling criminal cases exclusively, seeking to join a bench full of former criminal DA’s. Yet county courts handle cases across all spectrums - on average, civil cases substantially outnumber criminal on the docket. So in the “build a house” analogy, criminal prosecutors would be considered a specialty sub-contractor, not a general contractor.

Think of the CITIZENS as the project leaders. So when looking to put together a qualified building team, it would be stupid to “hire” yet another DA as a would be the correlate to hiring yet another plumber on a team full of plumbers; the SMART move would be to bring a contractor on board who is an expert in other areas, like foundations, framing, electrical, drywall, roofing, windows, etc.

Seems to me you are disregarding Chapman as if she’s a fresh-eyed first-year little girl of a lawyer rather than an experienced attorney with over 15 years of litigation experience in the civil realm, one who has garnered nothing but professional respect from her peers and opponents. Open your eyes and view things from a less narcissistic point of view: there’s far more to our county courts than law cling people up.



Bill B

So Bella, do you read the court records published each week? Very few wrong doers get "locked up". That's the problem as I see it.


My point is that just like plumbing is only one aspect of building a house, criminal cases are only part of the judicial docket. If you want to talk the quality and adequacy of just the criminal court system, fine - that’s just an entirely different conversation.


Bella - the “criminal justice system” via the “courts” include more than just ‘criminal’ cases. DDA Ladd Wiles was a prosecutor who beat Mark Lawrence and he has become quite the respected and reputable judge for Yamhill County. DDA Miller is one of the highest respected lawyers in the country, earning more votes of confidence from her peers, and for good reason.


JC - she has all that experience you tout, yes she is on record stating quite clearly that her strongest trait for this job is her lack of experience (inexperience)! So, do we believe her, or you, on her so-called “experience”?


If there is a transcript, I urge you to post a link, because I am certain that is not what she said or the context in which she said it.


I refuse to vote for anyone currently connected with the frustrating justice system under Brad Berry. Chapman is my candidate.


Lulu - says the one who has absolutely no understanding of how the criminal justice system works, let alone the inner workings (how DDAs follow the law when charging and prosecuting alleged offenders) of a DA's Office.

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