Why are you running for office?
I am ready and prepared to serve the community in this role. Circuit court handles cases in a wide range of areas from adoption to zoning. My knowledge and practice includes these areas of the law. Being judge requires a strong work ethic with the current demands of our courts. I am dedicated to working long hours each week to do the job properly along with being committed and flexible in providing the best judgment possible to each and every case.
What makes you a qualified candidate for the position?
I am a licensed attorney in good standing in Indiana. What makes me unique from my opponents is that I have an MBA with a concentration in finance from Indiana University. This provides me with an advantage in the courtroom for knowing and understanding legal cases that involve financial matters. My background is diverse in that I had other jobs before I started practicing law more than eight years ago at the age of 34. Check out my Facebook page to learn more about my personal and professional experiences.
What are your top three goals for the position?
1. “Listen. Think. Act.” is my campaign slogan. I want to put an emphasis on listening to litigants and their counsel without any prejudgment, thus bringing about a fair and efficient court. 2. Improve the efficiency of the court with the timing of cases so that lawyers and/or parties do not need to wait hours for their hearing. 3. Enhance the availability of problem-solving courts through working with local officials and others to apply for certification in order to apply for grants to fund them.
What specialty courts do you think are needed to serve Hancock County offenders?
Problem-solving courts originated in the 1990s with the purpose of accommodating people with specific issues that were not being addressed in traditional courts. These courts help offenders with drug abuse, mental illness, veterans’ issues and domestic violence, to name a few. No matter what type of court we have or want to add, it takes collaboration of multiple parties to make it happen, and a judge who is willing to take a more hands-on approach. I am ready to sustain the current problem-solving courts in Hancock County and add additional courts when possible.
Are bail amounts in Hancock County set fairly, and would you consider modifications to alleviate overcrowding in the county jail?
Circuit court only sees defendants who have been charged with some of the worst criminal acts, including a Level 5 felony up to murder. Therefore, I will consider public safety, and not jail overcrowding, when setting bonds. Bond amounts are set by a judge after hearing the arguments by the prosecutor and the defendant and/or an attorney. Guidelines for bond amounts should be set, but bonds should truly be considered on a case-by-case basis. There are only three reasons set by statute as to when no bond should be allowed.
Name: J. Scott Wooldridge
Office sought: Hancock Circuit Court Judge
Occupation: attorney, Wolf Law Firm in Greenfield
Political experience: former Hancock County Council Republican candidate, 2016
Family: Wife Amy, two children