By Matthew Daigle
BETHEL — Two lawyers are seeking to become the Republican nominee for the Oxford County judge of probate.
Jarrod Crockett of Bethel and Ted Dilworth of Norway, both Republicans, are seeking to replace Dana Hanley, who is retiring from the position at the end of the year.
Oxford County residents will cast their ballots June 14. The winner will face Rumford lawyer Jennifer Kreckel in November. She is running unopposed as the Democratic nominee.
Each of the 16 probate courts in Maine has jurisdiction over specialized subject matter, such as estates and trusts, adoptions and name changes, guardianship and protective proceedings.
“I currently practice probate law, and have practiced with the current probate judge for six years,” Crockett said. He said he is “pretty familiar with the probate code” because he served on the Maine Legislature’s Judiciary Committee while a member of the House of Representatives.
Crockett said more people are choosing to represent themselves in court rather than hiring lawyers.
“You want a judge who is compassionate, respectful,” and someone who can work with those who represent themselves, Crockett said. “You want to make people feel comfortable. You don’t want it to be an adversarial process. I’d like to think I have those skills.”
He said he would work part time at his law firm if he is elected.
Born and raised in Oxford County, Crockett grew up in a logging family in Bethel. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17, attended college on an ROTC scholarship and became an Army officer for six years on active duty.
After law school, he returned to practice law and is a partner in the firm of Siegel & Crockett.
He served for six years in the Maine Legislature, four years on the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, and has continued his military service as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Dilworth, who works at Dow’s Law Office in Norway as a trial lawyer, said, “Hanley encouraged me to consider running for the position. I’ve had people in the legal community telling me that I should run.”
Dilworth said he believes the judge of probate should have extensive experience in trial work,” pointing out that he has “done hundreds of trials” over his 22 years as a lawyer.
“When people go to vote, they should be asking themselves who has the most experience, and who will be able to start doing their job on day one,” Dilworth said. “It’s not something you want to figure out as you go along.”
Dilworth’s wife, Jennifer, is register of probate for Oxford County.
Dilworth was born and raised in Maine and has made his home in Oxford County since 1994.