January 22, 2010

Judicial Candidates Stump for Votes

Voters will head to the pools on February 2nd for the Illinois primary. While some candidates are well-known, those running for judicial positions face an uphill battle to get name recognition.

Ann Jorgensen recently visited with a veteran’s group in Montgomery while campaigning. Appointed in 2008, she wants to keep her seat on the 2nd District Appellate Court, which covers 13 counties, including DuPage.

“I speak to a lot of citizens groups and generally start out with a civics lesson our three levels of court systems in the state, our trial courts, our appellate courts, which is the office I’m seeking, and ultimately the Illinois Supreme Court,” Jorgensen said.

Associate judge Brian McKillip is running for one of three open seats to be one of 15 circuit judges in DuPage County.

“Too often voters don’t or are not able to learn enough about the judicial candidates to make an informed selection,” McKillip said. “So they’ll go based on name recognition.”

If you can’t meet with judicial candidates in person, you still have ways to find out more information about them before you head to the polls.

Kent Gaertner is president of the DuPage County Bar Association, which publishes recommendations about judges.

“You almost have to rely on the bar associations, lawyers you may know, your own personal lawyer, to say, what do you think of these judges?” Gaertner said.

But candidates urge you to remember this about judges.

“A judge shouldn’t be pro or anti anything,” McKillip said. “A judge should decide a case based on existing law and the facts that are brought before him or her in courtroom.”

Plus they want you to know the importance of the decisions that judges make daily.

“They may be a victim of a crime someday,” Jorgensen said. “Their children may have to go through a divorce. And those are the kinds of decisions we make. And those will affect future trial judges when the make decisions and future lawyers when they go into argue cases.”

To view the DuPage County Bar Association’s recommendations about judges, go to dcba.org.


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