In his time in Monroe County, Alphonso Manns has seen the number of county courts grow from just three to nine.
Now, he is running to become a judge in one of those nine courts, after working as a lawyer for more than 30 years.
“I’d like to do whatever I can to improve the the system,” Manns said. “We’re always in flux, and we must work hard to improve the quality of justice.”
Three judicial seats in Monroe County — Seat 2, Seat 3 and Seat 8 — are up for grabs in the midterm election Nov. 6.
Seven Democrats have are running in the primary. Two are running for Seat 2, two are running for Seat 3 and three are running for Seat 8: Manns, Darcie Fawcett and Geoffrey Bradley.
A primary on May 8 will shrink the pool to one Democrat per seat. No Republicans have filed to run in the judicial primary, though the party could still select a candidate in May or June for the general election if none run in the primary.
If the Republican party or another party does not select a candidate in May or June, the winning Democrat from the primary for each seat will, by default, also win the general election.
Manns said a major challenge for the Monroe County courts is a high volume of cases congesting the system.
“I find that people are waiting for a decision, and they become very restless,” Mann said.
He said judges and everyone else who walks into a courtroom must look for ways to resolve cases sooner, such as summary proceedings, which eliminate certain steps or formalities to reach a resolution sooner, or mediation.
“The best results come when people have an understanding of the facts, an understanding of the laws from their lawyers, and they come to a resolution themselves through mediation,” he said.
Throughout his career, Manns has represented clients in both state and federal cases and worked in a variety of areas, including criminal, personal injury and civil rights law.
He is a member of the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.
“My focus has always been providing fairness and equality,” he said. “I happen to be a person of African American descent, but I’m a person first.”
Should he be elected as judge in Monroe County this year, Manns said he would not make judgements based on his personal beliefs.
“As a citizen, I have political views, but as judge, I will not use those in my decision making,” he said. “I will use the principles of law, not my own personal values.”
Manns has done pro bono legal work for the NAACP and with Bertha’s Mission, a nonprofit in Lawrence County, Indiana.
Outside the courtroom, Manns is a member of Kiwanis International, a civic club that engages in community service, and Read for 200, an initiative through the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Black Males which seeks to improve literacy by having adult men read to children.
To read about the other candidates, see our Monroe County judicial election page here.
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