Elect Finley Gibbs For Judge
Missouri Circuit 13 Division 1
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Circuit Court Judges handle both Criminal and Civil matters.
In Criminal matters, Circuit Judges primarily handle Felony cases. They manage Felony cases after a Grand Jury or Associate Circuit Court has reviewed the case for probable cause. Once the Felony case is in Circuit Court, the Judge is responsible for managing the case to its completion, including dismissal, guilty plea, or trial. As more serious offenses, Felony convictions are punishable by prison, up to life, or the death penalty, a fine, or a combination of prison and a fine. Circuit Court Judges bear the awesome responsibility of protecting our Mid-Missouri community by both ensuring fair trials for the accused and assessing punishment for those found guilty.
In Civil cases, Circuit Judges handle many types of cases to completion. Business matters, real estate matters, personal injury cases, employment cases, contract cases and assorted other civil matters involving more than $25,000 in damages. Additionally, Circuit Judges handle Small Claims Trials de Novo. Trials de Novo are those where the original Small Claims case has already had a trial, but one of the parties was dissatisfied with the result. In general, civil cases may be resolved by settlement by the parties, dismissal by the parties (or the Judge) or trial with only the Judge (called a bench trial) or by Jury.
Before a civil case goes to trial, there may be many appearances in front of the Circuit Judge where the Judge makes decisions about pretrial issues on which the parties disagree. These dockets are often quite busy. Whether in criminal or civil court, the Circuit Judge confronts many of the same issues. He or she must handle cases in a limited period of time while ensuring that each party in each case receives the attention, assistance, or punishment required, and that ultimately, justice is served.
According to Finley, there are several qualities that a judicial candidate should possess:
"Over the last few years, I have talked to close to two thousand people in Mid-Missouri about our Judges and Courts. I learned what people wanted from a Judge Candidate and Judge. I have tried to distill those thoughts to the following points:
Knowledge. A tremendous variety of cases come before a Circuit Judge. A Circuit Judge must have knowledge of and experience with a wide variety of cases and have worked on both sides of each type of case. Only with that broad level of experience can a Judge move the cases efficiently and properly evaluate each case. There is no time in our system to allow a Judge to learn about each type of case as they are presented to the Judge. Trial experience is essential for a Circuit Judge. Additionally, a Judge must have some "life mileage." Only through decades of adult life experiences can a Judge be reasonably expected to make decisions which reflect proper understanding of all the circumstances of a particular case.
Integrity. The public must be able to trust the judicial system. Our Judiciary is tested every day by decisions which can be made for the wrong reasons. Decisions that are based upon friendships with the parties, political beliefs or personal biases are simply wrong and have no place in our courtrooms. Each Judge must be able to resist temptation to make inappropriate decisions and follow the law without fail. Because some of these judicial decisions are not reviewable by other Judges, there is no room for error, politics, personal bias or favoritism.
Justice. Justice does not preclude compassion. But justice can also mean applying the force of maximum punishment. In short, a Judge must be able to make a decision free from bias toward or against any group or individual. A Judge cannot prejudge a person or decision based upon the individual's race, color, creed, religion, financial situation, physical or mental limitations, education, appearance, decorum, etc. A good Judge achieves justice for the public when they apply the law firmly, precisely, and fairly. A good Judge must decide––for the sake of society—who merits help and who merits punishment.
Personal Traits. A good Judge is patient. Although a Judge must move cases through the courthouse with efficiency, and control the courtroom, a good Judge has to know when to pause and patiently wait for someone who cannot speak well or quickly, or who may have difficulty understanding the courtroom procedure. Impatience is unforgivable for a Judge. A Judge should behave in a dignified fashion even while exercising control over the courtroom. Even the guilty deserve some level of dignity though they may be on their way to prison. Treating everybody with dignity creates an appropriate atmosphere in the courtroom.
A Judge must provide, through their personality, a strength and quiet power which allows the public to understand how important the court system is and to understand that the system as a whole deserves our respect."
Finley was born in Portland, Oregon and moved to Columbia, Missouri in 1981. He graduated from David H. Hickman High School in 1983 and studied at the University of Missouri in Columbia and St. Louis, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988.
After graduating from college, he married his college sweetheart Becky and they moved to California, where he worked for Gallo Wines for a year. But homesick for Missouri, Finley and Becky then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Finley spent five years working for Trek Bicycle Corporation while Becky taught school. Their first son was born in 1992, shortly before they made the decision that Finley should pursue his dream of a legal career.
1994 brought them back to Columbia and Finley enrolled in the University of Missouri Law School. Juggling life, education, career, and family, he chose an accelerated program, graduating in December, 1996 in 2-1/2 years instead of the traditional three. During the second year of Law School, their second son was born. Passing the bar exam on his first attempt, he started working for Attorney Bill Rotts in May of 1997. Finley became a partner in the firm of Rotts & Gibbs, LLC in 1999. Bill and Finley worked together for 20 years on a handshake, then Finley started his own small firm Jan. 1, 2018. Finley still considers Bill to be his good friend and mentor.
Finley and Becky have been married for 30 years and are proud of their two sons, now 23 and 25 years old.
Finley's legal practice has been a general practice. He has represented clients in most areas of the law and his clients have come from all walks of life, from across the economic spectrum, and from every educational level. His case load included matters with a value of a few hundred dollars to a $158.3 Million-dollar mortgage fraud case where he represented Sherry Hunt, who was a whistleblower against Citibank. He also represented the whistleblower in a Medicaid fraud case which returned several million dollars to the State of Missouri.
His own life experiences before attending Law School set him apart. Finley understands much more about the daily life of Mid-Missouri citizens because he has shared many of their life experiences, living and working in Columbia for over 30 years. He will be able to apply his knowledge and understanding of Mid-Missourians to better serve our community when he becomes Circuit Judge.
In Circuit Court, a Judge will face difficult decisions in matters relating to Criminal Cases and Civil Cases of all types. Circuit Court judges handle Felony Criminal matters as well as Civil Cases which are valued at more than $25,000.00. Finley has handled nearly all such types of cases in his law practice. He has 21 years of experience handling Criminal cases and Civil cases.
His legal career has brought him before Associate, Circuit, Municipal, Court of Appeals and administrative hearings Judges throughout the State of Missouri. He has handled cases in at least 20 of the 46 Circuits in the State of Missouri. He has spent countless hours before Boone and Callaway Counties' Circuit Courts in Columbia and Fulton. He has handled matters in multiple Federal Courts including the Eastern District of Missouri, The Western District of Missouri and the Southern District of New York. The diverse experience he has gained in those courtrooms over the past 21 years will serve him well as the Division 1 Circuit Judge.
Finley has demonstrated his stability, temperament and experience through the 53 years of his life. Ask someone who knows him for their opinions, then you be the Judge! Finley would be honored by your vote.
Running for a Judicial office is different from running for other elected offices. Unlike the viciousness we see in so many campaigns, Judicial Candidates are not allowed to attack or speak ill of an opponent (nor should they). Instead, Judicial Candidates are encouraged to explain to voters why that individual candidate is an excellent choice for the position. Voters then base their decisions on their assessment of the candidate and comparison with the other candidate. The Judicial Canons––the ethical rules for Judges and Judicial Candidates––also prevent a Judicial Candidate from advocating his or her party's views on political issues. Finally, Judicial Candidates are not allowed to make "campaign promises." We can only promise to faithfully follow the laws of the State of Missouri and the Constitution of the United States of America. Therefore, Finley will limit his campaign rhetoric to that promise, matters of direct impact on the Judicial system and his personal abilities to perform as a Circuit Judge. Those abilities are detailed below.
Integrity. Finley says: "I have spent my entire career assuring that my cases and my clients were handled honestly and ethically. Should you talk to the Judges before whom I have appeared, to the clients I have represented, or to the attorneys with whom I have worked in together or in opposition, you will find consensus that I acted honestly and ethically. It has been a mainstay of my practice. I have received an AV Rating from Martindale Hubbell. This is the highest level possible and is based upon anonymous polling of local attorneys and Judges. This polling asks whether I have a reputation for being honest and ethical in my representation of my clients. Ask around! I have also lived my private life in a dignified and ethical manner. I am proud of my sons––they are good people––and Becky and I have been happily married for 30 years. There are no skeletons in my closet."
Knowledge. "I have handled nearly all types of cases that may come before a Circuit Judge. My trial experience is extensive. I have had bench trials before a Judge and I have had trials before a Jury. I have handled administrative hearings, and worker's compensation trials. I have handled motions and I have handled appeals. I understand the law in those areas handled by a Circuit Judge and I understand the procedures. I have spent the last 21 years watching Judges handle my cases from beginning to end. How many cases? I can only assume many hundreds, if not thousands. At this point, I can say with confidence that I understand the law in the cases that will appear before me and I know the existing court procedures. Also, because I have practiced in so many courthouses (over 20 of the 46 circuits in Missouri), I have watched and learned from countless judges. They have taught me by example what works and what does not."
Personality. "I spent 7 years working full-time in blue collar and white collar jobs before I went to law school. I know what it's like to be so tired that at the end of the day, you fall into bed with your clothes on, then start the next day all over again at 6am. You can profess empathy from hearing stories, but you can only achieve true "walk in their shoes" understanding when you know what it's like to have dirty hands that won't come clean or when you're so tired that you think you can't possibly work one more day. I understand those things because I have worked in those types of jobs. As a Lawyer, I have represented the very poor and the very wealthy. I know what both of those worlds look like. I believe I have represented close to 1000 Mid-Missourians during my career as a lawyer. When a person enters my courtroom, I will understand their circumstances and provide the dignity, compassion, and justice he or she deserves. I know that some people need and deserve help. I am happy to be that kind of Judge. But some people need and deserve punishment. I will be that kind of judge, too."
"The subtle personal qualities that I believe best suit me to a judicial role are hard to explain. I will be knocking on doors, attending many forums and meetings across Boone and Callaway County over the next few months, meeting as many citizens as I can. Let's talk…then you be the judge!"
"I have had a wonderful 21-year career as a courtroom attorney. It has been rewarding and fulfilling. But I believe I can do more by serving in a public role as a Circuit Court Judge, where the day-to-day work of our local judicial system takes place.
I want to apply my legal experience, life experience and knowledge of Mid-Missourians to providing our communities with the best, fairest, most just court system possible. Circuit Court Judges are the legal backbone of a community, working hard to enforce the laws created by our legislature. Every case is vitally important to the person who is fighting it and therefore, every case deserves total commitment by their Judges. I will provide that commitment.
Of course, in the back of my mind are the stories of my Great Great Grandfather, E. Finley Johnson, who was a Supreme Court Judge in the Philippines in the early 20th century. This was a position of great honor as he was a United States citizen––not Filipino. I was always proud of his tenure as a Judge and hoped to someday serve the public in that position. I keep original copies of the Law books that contain his decisions on my desk as a constant reminder of who he was. I hope he would be proud.
I would be honored by your vote for me. Thank you for your time."
Finley has been asked why this election is important, as we are in an "off" or non-presidential year. First, we have the constitutional right to vote on matters that affect our futures and those of our children. We have a duty to exercise that right.
We spend a lot of time deciding who will be our representatives and senators. Those people design and write our laws. A Circuit Court Judge is responsible for enforcing our Constitution and the laws drafted by our representatives and senators. A Judge is the legal backbone of our community and choosing one is a very important decision. Choose an excellent Judge and you strengthen your community. Choose a poor-quality Judge and the community is weakened.
That right to vote is especially important with regard to the 13th Circuit, Division 1, Circuit Judge election, where Finley's opponent was appointed to office by former governor Greitens last October, 2017. We have an election so that the public can decide, (with their votes) whether to accept or reject Mr. Greitens' appointment.
Finley asks that the public weigh both candidates' experience and bond with the public and make their decision from those characteristics. Finley says: "Your vote matters. Evaluate my experience, talk to those with whom I have worked or those whom I have represented, and meet me as I make my way around Boone and Callaway County. Compare me with my opponent. Make your best judgment, then vote on November 6th for... GIBBS FOR JUDGE."
Come join us at Broadway Brewery on Thursday, July 12 from 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Cast your vote for Finley Gibbs on Tuesday August 7, 2018 for Circuit Court Judge
Please vote for Finley Gibbs for Circuit Court Judge on Tuesday November 6, 2018
Contact our office number listed below and a campaign representative will be glad to assist you.
1001 East Walnut St, Suite 200 Columbia, MO 65201
Mike Alden, Treasurer
Nothing in this website is intended to be considered nor offered as legal advice and should not be taken as such.
Paid for by Gibbs For Judge, Mike Alden Treasurer.