Originally created 10/22/06

Most important vote Nov. 7 is for David Roper for judge

If they had a factory for judges, David Roper just might be the prototype.

He's courageous, solid, fair, tough - yet eminently compassionate and humane.

In a four-man race for Superior Court judge, Roper clearly stands out.

We cannot urge you strongly enough to vote for David Roper for judge on Nov. 7.

It's the most important decision folks in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties will make this election season. Superior Court judges hold property, money, liberty and even lives, in some cases, in their hands. Moreover, judgeships don't come open all that often.

The retirement of Chief Judge William Fleming after some 38 years is both proof of that, and an extraordinary opportunity to put a man of David Roper's caliber in his place.

Three things in particular help David Roper stand out from his peers.

One is his temperament - which has "judicial" written all over it. In campaign forums and media appearances, Mr. Roper has shown himself to be calm, measured, knowledgeable and thoughtful.

Yet, at the same time, he has shown a courageous, unflinching streak in standing up for what he believes in. In particular, he minces no words in assessing the Augusta circuit's long-standing case management system: "grossly inefficient and potentially corrupt," he said at a recent forum. He's right, and he's the only candidate to be so forthright about the abysmal system, which was not only a disaster for victims of crimes, prosecutors and witnesses - none of whom ever knew from week to week when a case might be called - but which was also ruled in violation of state court procedures by a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court.

The other thing we love about Mr. Roper is his feel for his fellow man. The Augusta native, Army veteran and husband of a registered nurse has so concerned himself with the welfare of others that he was a member of the prestigious board of Rotary International, one of the world's leading humanitarian and civic organizations. He has personally traveled through Rotary to Nigeria, Ghana and India to inoculate children against polio. He has also helped others through mission trips and aid packages to AIDS orphans in Malawi.

Judge candidate Bill Williams oddly scoffed at Roper's humanitarian work at a recent forum, saying he had no time for such endeavors. Guess what: You make time. And you want a judge with those kinds of priorities.

This kind of care and concern can't help but bleed over into one's professional life, and that's the case with Roper. Win or lose, he says, he will implore Superior Court judges to join him in promoting literacy by requiring criminal defendants to earn a GED or to complete other basic skills training. Roper once convened a major conference on adult literacy in Macon, and commandeered $40,000 in gifts to the state for GED scholarships.

It's not just feel-good work: As Roper is quick to note, high illiteracy rates feed poverty and crime.

When asked what court reforms they'd like to see, one of the four judge candidates actually said none. Preposterous! There's always room for improvement. Roper has several specific ideas, including an increased use of mediation to avoid protracted domestic and civil cases - a change that could help the children of divorce immensely.

A practicing lawyer since 1973 and currently a senior law firm partner, David Roper has a broad range of legal and civic experience; a tailor-made temperament; conservative, no-nonsense principles; and a courage of his convictions that he'll wear on his black robe's sleeves.

You won't cast a more important vote, and could not do any better, than to name David Roper Superior Court judge on Nov. 7.


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