Circuit Court Judge Scott Sirk
I believe a sound judicial philosophy begins with a reverence for the rule of law. Our founders gave us a remarkable and unique Constitution that provides the foundation for how all laws in this country and State are to be promulgated and applied. Our duly elected legislators have provided the statutes that govern our interactions with each other and with law enforcement officers to the extent that any conflicts that may arise can be resolved in our court system. Our judges must have a thorough understanding of that law, a respect for its intent, and the ability to apply it in a fair and impartial manner for the courts to operate to benefit of our communities.
I have been proud to serve Hancock County as a Judge in my position of Court Commissioner for the last eight years. During that time I have presided over thousands of cases involving criminal law, family law and all types of civil litigation. It is my reverence for and understanding of the law that has always determined my decisions on cases. This has been true even when my personal or policy preferences differed from the result.
In criminal cases, individual rights must always be weighed against the safety of the community and the laws providing for enforcement of that safety. Should someone be convicted of a crime, the Indiana Constitution requires that the rehabilitation of the defendant be the primary goal of the court. The law also provides for input from any victim of a crime before a judge announces a sentence. I have always followed this course in my criminal cases. Going forward I would continue the efforts of the current Circuit Court Judge, Richard Culver, to address the rehabilitation of substance abusers through the DWI/Drug Court and the recent Heroin Protocols. These ground breaking and innovative ways of helping these offenders achieve sobriety with increased individual attention need to remain available.
In family law cases, I try to incorporate compassion for the parties as much as the law allows. This is especially true for children of divorce. Their well-being is always a primary concern of mine. I utilize parenting classes and family counseling to ease the transition to single parent households for everyone involved. I encourage private mediation to help reach agreed resolutions and to minimize post-dissolution conflicts whenever possible.
In all other areas of civil litigation, I try to move cases quickly to resolution so as not to overly burden the aggrieved or unfairly accused party. This is done with an emphasis on thorough fact finding and civility of the parties in all proceedings. I believe that the handling of most estate cases can be made more efficient with full utilization of the Court Commissioner in that area.
Moving forward, Hancock County is dealing more and more with people with mental health issues. The reduction of mental health facilities across our state have resulted in an increase of these individuals in our jails. I support utilizing programs similar to our drug court model to work with the mentally ill as well as our veterans who have not been able to assimilate back into our community without incident.
If elected as Circuit Court Judge, I will continue to work to earn the trust of the Hancock County community in the same way that I have worked over the last 8 years earning the trust of Judge Richard Culver, Judge Terry Snow and Judge Dan Marshall as their appointed Court Commissioner.