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August 02, 1996 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-08-02

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COURTING page 14


ecuted a case in his court, she be-
lieves "residents in the district
deserve a judge who treats
everybody with respect.
"They want a judge who will
be fair but tough on crime, and
that's something I could bring to
the bench. I'm not going to at-
tack [Judge Brookover's] cre-
dentials, but I believe somebody
else would do a better job," Ms.
D'Agostini says.
"I'm not picking this incum-
bent; I'm picking this race," Mr.
Zawideh says. "At this juncture
of my career, it's time for me to
run. I don't want to disparage
any of my opponents, but as I
talk to people throughout this
campaign, it seems there's a
breakdown of trust [in Judge
Brookover]. I think people are
looking for a change, somebody
to restore their trust in the 48th
Judge Brookover, 51, was ap-
pointed to the court in 1989 by
former Gov. James Blanchard
and ran unopposed in 1990. Be-
fore he took the bench, he served
as city attorney in Trenton and
practiced law in the private sec-
He says his years on the
bench have taught him some-
thing about the seat: It's hot.
"The nature of the beast is
that there are winners and
losers. Winners think the judge

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stance abuse therapy.
Ms. Small, a longtime mem-
ber of Temple Israel, character-
izes herself as tough but
"If children do something ille-
gal, if you get their attention
right away and let them know it u
won't be tolerated, it may not

Candidate Robert Zawideh

happen again. I've read over
2,500 pre-sentence reports which
show that a person has three to
five misdemeanors before he
commits a felony," she says. 'The
bottom line is, if the family's not
going to do it, the courts should.
You always give people help, but
you better get their attention."
Misdemeanors and small-
claims lawsuits are handled in
the district court, as are pre-tri-
al hearings for felonies.
Gang activity in the affluent
suburbs served by the 48th Dis
trict Court also motivated Ms.
Small to run for the seat. Her
eyes fill with tears when she
speaks of having to watch her
daughters while they play in the
back yard or noticing three or
four locks on a senior citizen's
door along the campaign trail.
Another one of her pet peeves
is baseless lawsuits. She says
she told a plaintiffs attorney
who asked her about her posi-
tions on issues that "if you are
making a living filing frivolous
Candidate Diane D'Agostini
lawsuits, you have reason to be
is the most brilliant thing on the afraid," she says.
face of the earth, and losers
Ms. Small, an Andover High
think he is the worst," Judge School graduate who put herself
Brookover says.
through Detroit College of Law,
He notes that neither Ms. beams when she talks about her
Small nor Ms. D'Agostini has family. Without her daughters'
practiced in his courtroom and help stuffing envelopes and her
takes exception to their charac- husband's "incredible" support,
terization of him.
the campaign would be much
"I categorically deny that I am less fun, she says.
abusive to litigants. It's not my
"This is not just me running,"
nature, my character. If they'd Ms. Small says.
like to come up with what they
Her campaign headquarters
think are specific examples, then is set up in her house because
transcripts are available. It's she was "determined not to lose
very easy to make allegations touch with my family."
like that," he says.
So far, Ms. Small has raised
He also considers himself between $40,000 and $45,000 for
rather tough on crime, especial- her campaign.
ly drunk driving, but says he re-
"I'm confident I'm working as
alizes that young offenders can hard as I can. I'm an underdog
be "turned around" with the and I know it," she says.
right kind of counseling and sub-


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