Letter to the editor: Silberman would bring oversight to justice system

High Bailiff is a small but important position — its primary role is to ensure that our county’s elected sheriff never becomes viewed as above the law. Because a sheriff can’t be expected to arrest himself or herself, High Bailiff exists to deliver a warrant to the sheriff or arrest the sheriff if appropriate and necessary. This is a key oversight, and I’m glad that it’s part of Vermont law.

For too long, Addison County has had an unofficial tradition of placing sheriff’s deputies into the office and treating High Bailiff as if it were a “Sheriff in Waiting” for a presumed future sheriff. But, when High Bailiff is filled by a member of the sheriff’s own department, oversight is impossible due to a lack of independence. How could a sheriff’s deputy, whose job and livelihood depend on the sheriff, ever fulfill the duties of High Bailiff in the rare but important circumstances in which High Bailiff might be called to act?

Dave Silberman is the best candidate for High Bailiff. He is a civilian who is not a member of the sheriff’s department, and he will return High Bailiff to its intended purpose of independent, civilian oversight. Dave is a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform, and has helped organize free expungement clinics in Addison County that help people clear their old records and get a fresh start. He is a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Middlebury Board of Civil Authority, and he helped rewrite the Vermont Democratic Committee’s party platform to focus on providing equal justice for all Vermonters. Dave will serve as an important bridge between the sheriff’s office and the Addison County community.

I’m voting Dave Silberman for High Bailiff of Addison County — I hope you’ll join me.

Sivan Cotel 

Vergennes 

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Addison County Independent