Often the hardest disputes to resolve are between people who know each other as friends, or acquaintances.

A woman contacted me, recently, about a case that involved a dog she’d sold to a friend on payments. There was about $900 still outstanding, for which she had a judgment out of our court. She obtained a Writ of Execution for me to collect this money. She’d also asked that I be allowed to seize the dog, but the judge denied it. I don’t think I, as a judge, would have denied that. Although I’ve never done it, I know constables in rural communities can seize livestock, but I digress.

I actually knew this woman’s parents from campaigning, and wanted to do a good job for them!

It didn’t seem the defendants had much to seize, and they weren’t particularly cooperative. All I could do was keep talking, and keep coming by their residence, but it was over before it started.

In the dark?

Unbeknownst to me, both parties were still texting each other, but that worked in my favor. I became like the “bad cop”.

And then the strangest thing happened. One night, I got a call that one of the defendants had simply brought the dog by, unannounced, and left it with a relative who was babysitting. I was so startled they did this, but of course happy about it!

A few weeks later I was out campaigning in that very same neighborhood, and came upon a neighbor who knew the “dog story”. He told me he was going to vote for me for JP just because I got the dog back. What he appreciated was that our court had delivered the outcome his neighbors sought; that there was still justice in this world.

I have to admit I teared up when he told me that! It made me feel very proud.

— Ed Malles