Elections — we love them, and we hate them.

We love elections because we get to exercise our right to choose who we think will be the best at guarding our money and protecting our lives.

We hate elections because they bring out the absolute worst in everybody.

The local races for judge — district and county — are insane. We’ve heard lots of accusations and rumors and nasty comments. It’s difficult to determine which accusations are accurate and which are not, mainly because we have a small staff and there are many backstories in each case. The video might not tell the whole story.

Even the newspaper has been accused of “covering up” for one candidate or another. That, we assure you, is flat-earth untrue.

There is one truth that we can’t ignore journalistically. In hindsight, we wish we’d mentioned it sooner in the campaign process, but we had different plans. Things played out differently and the 2020 incident with Judge Donna Dutton has turned into the hot-button issue, and while bringing it up now might appear that we are spotlighting Dutton in a very untimely manner, that’s not the intention. It’s just that we can’t simply ignore the elephant in the room.

Two years ago, Dutton was suspended without pay for 14 days for violating several rules of the Judicial Code of Conduct after, during a bench conference, she accused defense counsel of stealing from her husband, and another comment was a perceived threat. She also interfered with defense counsel’s right to obtain a video copy of the bench conference, then pressured the Shelby County Circuit Clerk and Judge Linda Bullock to decline to provide the video.

That case and suspension were covered by this newspaper in 2020.

Dutton responded about the resurrection of that incident:

“That issue involved the theft of a large sum of money by an attorney who also happens to practice law with my opponent,” she said. “I let my personal feelings about the theft interfere with my courtroom conduct and for that I apologize. No litigants were affected by my actions, and the only person hurt was me.

“I am proud of the job I’ve done in my 16 years on the bench and have worked every day to ensure the court system protects our families and community.”

I guess now it’s time for you to be the judge.