Valeri Haughton, an attorney with the Monroe County Public Defender's office, filed a declaration of her candidacy for Circuit Court Judge - Seat 6, Court VII on Thursday, February 14th. "My experiences in the last two years have intensified my belief that I can make a constructive difference in the Monroe County Justice system."

"There are too many in our community who are afraid of the legal system. There are too many people who do not understand what their rights are and how courts are designed to secure these rights. There are too many in our county who experience a legal system that treats them differently: because they are women, because they are old, because of the way they dress, the car they drive, the language they speak, or the income they don't have. There are too many people who believe that justice can be bought and that if they don't have money, they won't get it. I believe that my experience and insight can make a difference in how people in Monroe County are treated in our courts."

"Justice may be blind, but those who administer justice must be able to see past a person's gender, or skin color, or the size of his or her bank account, or how gray their hair is, or how well or badly dressed the person see the whole person and to administer justice even-handedly. My life, my experiences, my dreams for my children, for my grandchildren, for our community - all ensure that I will be that type of judge."

Ms. Haughton served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for twelve years [in Marion and Monroe counties] and as a consultant at IU prior to joining the Office of the Public Defender in 2007. She has also served as a judge pro tempore for criminal, juvenile and civil cases. She started her legal career after approximately twenty years as a mental health counselor.

Haughton is currently chairwoman of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission, and serves on the boards of directors of the Community Kitchen, the Sheriff's Merit Board, the Youth Services Board and the Cardinal Stage Company. She has done pro bono work for CASA and the Protective Order Project and is a member of several service organizations, including Rotary International and the NAACP. She is running as a Democrat.

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