StreetScape Magazine > Business & Education > Interview of St. Charles County Judicial Candidate Michael Fagras

Interview of St. Charles County Judicial Candidate Michael Fagras

1:  Question:  “You and Cindy have been llongtime residents of St. Charles County, where did you spend your early years.”

Tom Hannegan
April's
The Decorating Den

I was born in Michigan and lived there till age 9.  I was raised in a musical family. My father was a pianist and voice teacher and my aunt Katherine received her Masters Degree in voice and piano pedagogy from Michigan State University.  I began piano lessons with my aunt at age 4. My brothers all studied classical guitar, piano and percussion as well. After moving to Texas I continued my piano studies and, at age 14, I debuted with the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of John Giordano.  My father performed with the Ft. Worth and Dallas Civic Operas and he would take me along to have me accompany the performers in practice. I studied with Luis Carlo Demuro Castro at TCU my junior and senior years at high school as well as master classes with Alexander Uninsky at SMU.  It was a great musical childhood.

After high school I had an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and study jazz composition and performance but I was concerned about the opportunity to earn a living out there and decided against it.

Cindy was raised here in Bridgeton and went to school in the Pattonville School District.  She was in jewelry sales with national retailer for 35 years before retiring. Since her retirement, Cindy and her friend, Kim DeJong, work creating custom signs and repurpose vintage furniture, teaching classes as well as consulting.

2:  Question: “With your background in music what led you into your career in law enforcement?”

Interesting turn of events.  I had moved to Missouri, was newly married and had a keen interest in criminal justice.  I applied for the St. Charles City PD and was accepted and graduated from the academy in 1979.  

I was studying jazz piano with Ken Palmer in University City for about 6 years while working as a police officer and performing at different venues in the St. Louis area.  Mostly private parties, weddings, and sitting in at different venues such as Hillary’s in Soulard, Cheshire Inn, and different country clubs.

I found that I had a desire to take my law enforcement career in a different direction and applied and was accepted at St. Louis University School of Law.

3:  Question: “Did you find it to be a hard transition from police officer to attorney?”

No, surprisingly I found that law school prepared me for the transition.

After graduation, I hung out a shingle but was soon working for Charles Lampin and, thereafter, became his partner.  I was sworn in at the Eastern District Federal Court and became a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel of attorneys that are selected by the federal judges, due to their experience, to handle indigent clients.  

From the beginning a part of my practice involved representing women that were victimized as a result sexual abuse or assault.  I worked to bring their cases to the attention of authorities when their case involved a predatory family member. There were those cases involving abuse or assault in the workplace.  I wanted to be a voice for them. In addition, I handled religious freedom issue, generally involving the Amish community, as pro bono work.

It would be accurate to say my career was litigating both criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts.  This practice required a knowledge and application of constitutional and state law. I have tried a great number of jury trials as well as contested matters and divorces.  I’m currently representing a death eligible defendant in a federal court case. That experience took on a whole new dimension.

I also teach criminal law on behalf of the Missouri Bar to other attorneys in their Continuing Legal Education classes.  

4:  Question:  “Why do you want to become a judge?”

I have had a wonderful career in law enforcement and as an attorney representing the people of St. Charles, and those throughout the state of Missouri.  In my mind, it is a natural progression, or matriculation, from law enforcement to attorney, to the role of Circuit Judge. None of this would be possible without the encouragement and support of my wife, Cindy.  

I believe that I am certainly qualified with the experience that I have earned throughout the last 24 years that I have been practicing.  This is a great way to serve the people of St. Charles County. Cindy and I love our community and this is and will always be our home.

5:  Question:  “What are the qualities that you look for in a judge?”

A thorough knowledge of the State and Federal Constitution, an understanding of Missouri State Statutes and knowing the Rules of Evidence are paramount.  Patience, respect for litigants and defendants as well as discernment are essential as well. It also helps to have a sense of humor.

  6: Question:  “What do you do for hobbies or relaxation?”

Cindy and I like to hunt antiques and travel.  Usually, we will head out to Estes Park to spend a week in the Rocky Mountain National Park or head to Pensacola Beach for a week.  Spending time with family now is really important as well.

We both like to be involved in our church, Harvester Christian, and have funded our own charity providing winter clothing for students who are in need.  We are also involved in “All Among Us”, a battered women’s shelter in Ferguson, Missouri as well as Ninos de Mexico, a Christian orphanage with 5 locations in Mexico.  Last year I started beekeeping and really love working the hives. It really is a fascinating and very rewarding hobby.

Finally, I’d like everyone to remember the primary election is August 7th.

  Paid for by Fagras for Judge-William Hardin IV, Treasurer

 

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