Meet the Candidates: District Judge for Boyle and Mercer Counties

Published 12:40 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

The Advocate-Messenger sent a survey to all candidates running for local office for this special section to introduce the candidates. The local primary election is May 17.

All candidates answered the same questions, which were limited by character counts in a Google form. The questions are:

1. Please enter your name and tell us about your background (300 characters or less)

2. Why are you the best candidate for this office? (600 characters or less)

3. What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle? (300 characters or less)

4. How would you address this issue in your elected office? (600 characters or less)

 

Click here for Boyle County candidates.

Click here for Danville mayor and commissioner candidates.

 

District Judge candidates for Boyle and Mercer Counties:

• Stacy Coontz

I’m from Danville. I graduated from BCHS, UK, and the UK College of Law. I’ve been practicing law for 21 years; 16 as a public defender, and 5 in private practice. I handle all types of cases, from speeding to murder, and civil cases from small claims to mass torts.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

District Court has jurisdiction over many types of cases, and I have handled every type. I have done misdemeanor jury trials, probate cases, small claims and civil cases, guardianship, and juvenile cases. I have practiced for 21 years, and I am familiar with the entire District Court process. I have several ideas for how to improve the court to best serve the communities of Mercer and Boyle Counties. I believe the position of District Judge requires a knowledgeable person who will listen to everyone, treat each person equally, and apply the law. I believe I can fulfill that role.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Often in juvenile and district court, we have people with drug addictions or mental health issues, and frequently, both. I believe that the sooner these issues are addressed, the better for everyone.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I would like to have a misdemeanor drug court that operates similar to the Drug Court program now underway in Boyle and Mercer Counties.  I would also like to return the Juvenile Coordination Program (JCP), which showed great success in Boyle County, and start the same program in Mercer.  Those programs can assist people in their recovery from addiction, and help them treat mental health issues. I believe instituting such programs can truly help the communities.

 

• Patrick F. Barsotti

I am a candidate for District Court Judge. I am a graduate of Boyle County High School, Centre College, and the University of Kentucky College of Law. I am a career prosecutor with a few years of experience in private practice focusing on criminal defense.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I believe in our judicial system and understand the importance of strong leadership when it comes to preserving the integrity of the rule of law. I have handled a wide variety of legal issues both working in private practice and as the Assistant Boyle County Attorney where I serve the community now. As District Judge, I look forward to putting my experience to work for all citizens of Boyle and Mercer Counties. It was in these communities that I learned the principles and values that it takes to serve as a firm and fair leader in the courtroom.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Drug and alcohol abuse has had a tremendous impact on our community. This public health crisis has impacted individuals, family members, and the community at large. Many of these problems manifest themselves in the form of various criminal charges that ultimately come before the District Court.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

One of the primary goals of the criminal justice system is rehabilitation. As it relates to substance abuse, rehabilitation should be the primary focus when the District Court is confronted with addressing these issues. As District Judge, I will be committed to identifying individuals who are serious about recovery, and I will hold them accountable throughout the process by utilizing the jail when appropriate. By increasing communication between the court, law enforcement, and providers in our community, it is my belief that we can combat this public health crisis and see success.

• Christopher J. Reed

I’m a practicing attorney, with over 9 years of experience in a variety of legal issues across the Commonwealth. I’ve handled thousands of cases as a Special Hearing Judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, mediator, city attorney, and guardian of children and the elderly.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

My dedication to family, community and the practice of law makes me the ideal candidate for District Judge in Mercer and Boyle counties.  I believe that the purpose of the judge is to serve the people.  Too many times we have elected officials that seek office to build themselves up instead of building up the community. I’m active in numerous charities and community groups across the state, such as RiteCare, Thomson Hood Christmas Program, and the Blue Lodge School Attendance Program. My commitment to family and community is unmatched and it makes me the ideal candidate for District Judge.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Most people will say drugs are the most pressing issue affecting our community. The problem is that addiction is a multifaceted issue. You have to consider access to resources, education, age, genetics, treatment, housing, mental health, religion, family support, employment, and so much more.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Judges should be educated on all aspects of drugs, treatment, community support, and alternative sentencing options.  I believe we need to encourage treatment and alternative sentencing prior findings of guilt, especially for youthful offenders given the lasting secondary effect judgements have on children. We need mental health court, which with a degree in psychology, I’m uniquely qualified for. We need misdemeanor drug court. I bring both experience and understanding of these issues having served as both the prosecutor and defense attorney for drug court.