This past Monday, Sedalia attorney Carmen L. Smith filed with the Pettis County Clerk’s Office to throw her name in the hat for Associate Circuit Judge of Division 6. Smith is currently running unopposed on the Democratic ticket. Smith will be hosting a formal announcement this Friday at 10 a.m. inside the Pettis County Courthouse on the first floor.
Smith was born and raised in Sedalia and attended State Fair Community College before transferring to Central Missouri State University (now UCM). After finishing college at CMSU, Smith moved on to law school at the University of Missouri, where she received her law degree.
Smith has been practicing law in Sedalia for the past ten plus years. Her office is currently located at 108 E. 5th Street in downtown Sedalia. Smith was asked what type of legal cases she has dealt with over the past decade.
“I practice domestic law, criminal law, probate law, juvenile law and I do guardianships for adults and children. I practice in all the areas that Division Six presides over,” Smith said.
Smith went on to explain her decision to become an attorney.
“I always call myself a late bloomer. I was married and then I was a single mom, and I knew I had to support my family. I knew I was going to have to work and I wanted to do something that I loved so I went to law school,” Smith explained.
Smith was asked about when she made the decision to run for judge.
“I have talked about running for judge for years. I have had people come up and ask me to run for a variety of political offices. When you appear in court, you watch judges and see how they deal with people and issues.
“I always asked myself if I could do that better or how I would do that job. I don’t think people understand what Division Six is all about. There are so many facets that the judges deal with. It is more than one area of law,” Smith said.
She added, “Each area of the law has its own statutory provisions. The standard of proof of one type of case may be different than another type of case. The facts that you evaluate in a juvenile matter, when a child has been removed from a home, is different than the guidelines you need to be aware of in a divorce proceeding or a criminal matter.”
Smith was asked why she thought she would make a good judge and what she would bring to the position.
“I have strengths to offer to these matters, because I have been practicing law for the past 10 years. You have to be well-rounded to be a judge. The judge should treat people with dignity, be efficient, know the subject matter and be fair and unbiased.
“I think I am very capable of doing all of those things. I think I have something to offer that other candidates don’t, and that is insight into people’s lives,” Smith explained.
Smith talked about her support system and how they feel about her running for the position of judge.
“My family is very excited. My dad and children are very supportive, and the Kindle family is very supportive. I also have support from members of both parties and all areas of the community,” Smith said.
She added, “I want voters to be informed about what the position entails. I believe they should exercise their right to vote. It is very important.”