Concerned about how the criminal justice system in the United States is in need of reform, I have recently been visiting local court rooms to learn first hand what is happening.

In the three Tucson courtrooms visited, the whole system reminded me of a factory assembly line. The video court was especially depressing.

However, in the Green Valley Justice Court there seemed to be a greater sense of mutual respect where defendants were not treated as just another case to be shuffled through the system as fast as possible. It was obvious that Justice of the Peace Ray Carroll expected each defendant to do better in the future, but that he wanted the defendant helped to do that rather than simply punished.

Former Supervisor Carroll’s work on the Pima County Board was always impressive. Having visited those proceedings on several occasions, I appreciated his obvious preparation, command and understanding of the issues. As the new judge in town, Green Valley is lucky to have him here.

With critical elections coming up later this year, those of us who want to be better informed, might well visit town council meetings, school board meetings, Board of Supervisor meetings and open court hearings.

And don’t forget HOA board meetings where it is critically important to pay attention to the numbers. Unless they are dealing with personnel issues, these meetings all, by law, have to be open to the public. Local decisions sometimes have a greater impact on our individual lives than those made on a national level. Voting in every election is still the best protection we have in making democracy work.

Georgia Hotton, Green Valley


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