GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Judgment day is near for two candidates competing to preside over the Grosse Pointe Farms and Shores municipal courts.
Incumbent Matthew Rumora, serving since 1988, faces challenger Matthew Peck on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.
“I have just as much enthusiasm for this job as I did when I started 25 1/2 years ago,” Rumora said.
Peck said, “I want to bring a fresh perspective to the Grosse Pointe Farms and Shores municipal courts.”
Both candidates are attorneys with general practices involving criminal and civil law.
Peck, a three-year resident of the Farms, said he clerked in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office prior to becoming a lawyer 10 years ago.
Rumora, a life-long Farms resident, was Farms city prosecutor for 2 1/2 years before becoming judge.
The candidates participated in a forum Oct. 16 sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe.
Both candidates agree that Pointe municipal courts should remain as is and not be combined into a single municipal court or made a district court.
They also agreed that judges must be good listeners.
“A judge have to be able to understand what the real issues are and make a fair and rational determination of what the facts are in that case,” Peck said.
“(People) come in (to court) with a wide array of emotions: confusion, anger, emotional distress, anxiety,” Rumora said. “You have to be patient with them.”
During the forum, a questioner asked if the Pointes take domestic violence “seriously” and what a judge can do to address it.
“Absolutely, we take it seriously,” Rumora said. “I set conditions on (the defendant’s) bond so there can be no contact with the victim until the matter is concluded or until further order of the court and the case is adjudicated. If found guilty, we order them to a domestic violence program and address those problems.”
“Domestic violence tends to arise from positions of power and positions of strength over somebody exerting that over a weaker member of the family,” Peck said. “There is potential for continued harm to the victim unless the court and police step in and extend a bulwark against them to prevent that while the defendant is counseled on how to better manage their anger.”
Peck wants to improve court efficiency.
“I want to bring in technology to increase access to our courts,” he said.
Rumora is proud of the court’s efficiency.
“In a performance evaluation of our court between 2010 and 2012 (of) the disposition of our cases and how timely they were disposed of, we got a perfect score of 100 percent,” he said.
Rumora said his judicial philosophy is to uphold the law.
“I’m not a judicial activist,” he said.
Peck said his philosophy is to “treat everyone fairly and impartially and give them the opportunity to have their full say in court.”
Two years ago, the Farms judge began presiding in Shores court.