It has been my honor to serve as Canton town justice for the past three years. Nearing the end of my term, I would like to announce that I am seeking re-election and humbly request your vote this November.
The Canton Town Court, which has two judges, is one the busiest courts in St. Lawrence County. I’ve worked with Judge Rosemary Phillips for the past several years and more recently with Judge Rachelle Foster.
All judges, whether attorney or non-attorney, are required every year to attend legal training and are then tested by the state. I have furthered my training by attending additional sessions that were not required. Also, I am one of only four judges in the county who have been designated as a judge for off-hour juvenile arraignments when Family Court is not in session.
Endeavoring to keep my campaign promises, I’ve been available for after-hour arraignments and other calls for service. Most often these have occurred in the middle of the night, occasionally several times in the same night, completing well more than 100 each year.
I continue to work to make the court more efficient by utilizing technology and better scheduling. I have moved stagnate cases forward that have lingered in the court for several years.
In addressing the drug addiction problems in our area, I have attempted to assist those who find themselves in my court due to their chemical dependency issues. I have encouraged those who have appeared before me to follow through with their sobriety and assisted them by contacting other agencies for help. In many instances, I’ve sent them to go to a drug rehabilitation facility instead of sending them to the County Jail.
I’ve assisted the court in obtaining about $58,000 in grant money from the state to help take the burden off Canton taxpayers. I continue to work through the challenges created by bail reform and the novel coronavirus pandemic, doing my best to keep the court operating as it should.
I am working toward starting a local Veterans Court to assist our veterans who suffer from addictions or psychological problems and find themselves in Town Court. This court would be at no additional cost to our local taxpayers but would require more work from the town justice.
It is my sincere hope that Canton voters will consider re-electing me to another term as their town justice.
Michael R. Morgan