Judicial Candidates Forum
Twelve candidates for the 18th Judicial Circuit recently stopped by the Cantigny Park auditorium to answer questions in a forum hosted by the DuPage chapter of the NAACP.
“Tonight is not a debate,” said Dr. Vincent Gaddis, criminal justice chair of the DuPage County NAACP. “This is about candidates speaking about what they believe. What their positions are. Not other people’s positions, your position.”
The judicial candidates were split into two groups and asked various questions about diversity, bias, and other relevant topics – though not every candidate was asked the same questions.
Dealing with Diversity
Judge Richard Felice, Jeff Jacobson, and Azam Nizamuddin discussed how they deal with people who fit into different demographics.
“It’s very important that people who come to court feel that they have integrity in the system, confidence in the system, and they feel the system will deal with them regardless of who they are,” said Felice.
“I think also that everyone that would come before me needs to be treated equally. It doesn’t matter their national origin, their race, their religion, their gender, they need to be treated equally,” said Jacobson.
“As a judge, anyone who comes before me, regardless of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, you can expect two things from me. Number one is respect and [number two is] fairness,” said Nizamuddin.
Failing to Appear
Judge Ann Celine Walsh and John Pcolinski discussed how they would handle defendants who fail to appear for court after posting bond.
“If someone fails to appear in court and they come to court, I’m going to weigh all the bail factors and determine whether or not I’m going to lower or reduce their bail or set bail,” said Walsh.
“My take on this is I have always been against legislation which purports to remove discretion from judges who are sitting with the parties right in front of them and are able to weigh credibility,” said Pcolisnki.
Peggy O’Connell is also running, but did not attend the forum.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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