CAMDEN — Stephen Bruns, Magistrate for the Preble County Common Pleas Court, is running to serve as the Judge for that same court. To spread the news of his candidacy, Bruns plans to attend local council meetings to present his positions to residents. He spoke to the members of Camden Village Council on Thursday, Feb. 1, during their meeting.
“Right now I am running unopposed, but I still thought it would be important to go around the county and meet people, make sure people had some connection or rapport,” Bruns said. “I am a Preble County native. I went to National Trail, University of Cincinnati for Undergrad, and then law school at Ohio State University.
“There are two things that I think make me qualified for the job. The first is the breadth of my judicial and legal experience. The other is my involvement with all of Preble County, the entire community. The significance of the breadth of my legal experience is the Common Pleas Court is what we call the court of general jurisdiction — we hear everything.
“In this county we have a municipal court that hears misdemeanors and small civil suits, a jurisdictional limit of $15,000. We also have a probate and juvenile court that hears probate and juvenile matters. Everything else comes to our court. So, any felony case, domestic relations, child custody, any civil case, breach of contract, personal injury, workers compensation — all of that comes to our court.”
He added, he has been practicing law in general practice since 1983, when he graduated from OSU. He has done civil work, criminal defense work, criminal prosecution, and domestic relations work. He has represented businesses and non-profit groups.
“I am the only person who has even thought of running for this office that has all of this experience, on top of that for the last 10 years I have been the Magistrate for the court,” he said. “That is essentially the job I am running for. As Magistrate, I hear mostly domestic relations cases, but I also hear civil cases and some criminal cases. Essentially, I am running for the job I already have.
“As Judge, the thing I am most excited to do is to get a drug court started. We have begun the process. We have talked to to Supreme Court about what is necessary, and a couple other courts. We have started to get an advisory committee together. The essence of a drug court is we don’t just put people on probation, we bring them in every week. There is constant accountability.
“We will set up a system where anybody who is participating in drug court will have to call in every single day, so we can check on them. There is an algorithm that is connected to this computer program that accepts their calls and they can be subject to random drug test any day, including Saturday and Sunday.”
The main reason he became a lawyer and got involved in law was to “help facilitate justice” and “make things right.”
“When people have been taken advantage of and are victims of crime, it is very fulfilling to have them come to court and we can help make it right,” Bruns said. “It is very fulfilling to bring the justice to people who feel like they have been taken advantage of.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH