John Lee is one of three candidates whose name will appear on the Feb. 18 primary ballot in New London and Weyauwega for the position of municipal judge. Lee is joined by candidates Bradley Graham and Laurie Shaw in seeking the position.
Lee has been a resident of New London since 1971. He attended high school in Manitowoc and went on to the attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Lee worked for the Post-Crescent for 40 years, covering crime, courts, emergency services, and victim services. His additional service work includes efforts with the Outagamie County Volunteer in Offender Services (VIOS), and he has also served as an AARP Driver Safety Instructor.
Lee has never been arrested or charged with a criminal offense.
“I’ve had a long-term interest in criminal justice and in 40 years as a reporter, I’ve worked with everything from small claims and municipal courts to county, state and federal courts,” said Lee. “I received a few calls in summer asking if I would run when Judge Resch decided to retire, and I got a positive response when I mentioned running to a few people, including former police chiefs Dave Neumann and Jack Algiers, as well as Mayor Gary Henke and others in the community.
“I’ve stayed involved the last couple years as a volunteer instructor for the AARP driver safety program and as a volunteer with VIOS. In VIOS, we work with non-violent young offenders to meet the conditions of probation a judge sets, and hopefully assure their first offense is their last. If we decide they’ve met expectations of paying fines, performing community service, continuing their education or getting a job, the judge will expunge their record, giving them a second chance in life.
While no legal degree or legal background is required to hold the municipal judge position, Lee feels his work experience and volunteer activities make him a qualified candidate.
“I feel I bring a lot to the municipal justice post,” he said. “I am probably as prepared and knowledgeable as any non-attorney can be for this post.
“I’ve worked closely with police, prosecutors, judges, offenders and victims, and defense attorneys,” he said. “I understand the responsibilities and issues and challenges they each have.
“I realize that so-called minor crimes are not minor if you are the victim of a vandalism or theft, or if your business has taken in a bad check,” stated Lee.
“I know court procedures in everything from traffic and juvenile court as well as state and county courts and will be able to hit the ground running,” said Lee. “The municipal court is a big asset to the cities, not only for the funds it brings in but for the savings and convenience it provides for police and for those people who appear in court.
“I’d like to continue the efficiencies and innovations started by Judge Resch and work to keep this court running smoothly and fairly for the community,” concluded Lee.