HAZARD – The list of candidates who will vie for the circuit court judgeship in Perry County in 2014 grew by one as Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen confirmed his candidacy this week.
Hansen, who last year was elected to a second term as commonwealth’s attorney, said he discussed his possible candidacy for the past several months with supporters of his previous campaign and received encouragement to run. It’s a position he said he views as one of service to the community and requires equal treatment of everyone involved.
“The need to expedite justice and the need to make the right decision with the concept that everyone is equal is a very important concept I think I can successfully bring to the bench,” Hansen said.
A native of West Virginia, Hansen graduated from West Virginia University and earned his law degree at the Cumberland School of Law. He moved to Hazard in 1989 and took a position with the public defender’s office. A year later, he entered into private practice, and has handled cases including bankruptcy and criminal defense.
In 2000, Hansen was elected to his first six-year term as commonwealth’s attorney. He opted not to seek re-election in 2006, and instead ran an unsuccessful campaign for Hazard mayor. After returning to private practice in the interim, he captured a second term as commonwealth’s attorney in 2012, defeating incumbent Teresa Reed.
Hansen said if elected there will be some noticeable changes. He wants to hold domestic relations hearings on Monday, while trials would be moved from Monday to Tuesday, which he said would give jurors a better opportunity to plan to be away from work while also giving attorneys more time to prepare. He added if he wins the judgeship, the public can also expect more rulings from the bench.
At the same time, Hansen added he would want to keep many of the current proceedings as they are now, including drug court, and relations with the clerk’s office and the state Division of Probation and Parole.
Hansen’s entry into the race for circuit judge brings the total number of candidates to three, as attorneys Sam Collins and Alison Wells confirmed their candidacies last month. The race for circuit judge will not have an incumbent, however, as Judge William Engle has opted not to run for re-election after two terms.
Each of the candidates’ names will appear on the ballot during the May primary, at which time the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November 2014.