6th Circuit - Clem Vacancy
What is the importance of a 6th Circuit Judge to your constituents in Champaign County?
Judges preside over many types of cases involving citizens within our community. Circuit judges generally handle felony criminal cases, major civil litigation and family law matters. A judge’s job is to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Illinois. Judges do not make laws; we only interpret them. It is important for judges to be active within the community so that they understand and appreciate local values.
Why are you qualified to be a 6th Circuit Judge?
The Illinois Supreme Court appointed me as Circuit Judge in October 2016. I have proven that I have judicial qualities: experience, integrity, knowledge of the law, respect of lawyers and the right temperament. I treat litigants with respect and dignity. I make fair rulings and explain them well. Before becoming a judge, I practiced law for 25 years. I was a proud public servant for decades, serving the last 18 years as Chief Champaign County Public Defender. I ran the office with 17 employees and a million dollar budget. I handled well over 100 jury trials. I was president or chair of numerous local and statewide legal organizations. I was appointed by the Governor to a statewide criminal justice board and appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a hearing’s board officer for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. I was also an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at the University of Illinois College of Law.
What is a key difference between you and your Opponent?
I spent my 25-year legal career as a public servant, helping those in need. For the last 18 years, I was the Chief Champaign County Public Defender. I was in the courtroom on an almost-daily basis, handling over 100 jury trials. During my years of practicing law, I actively worked on numerous non-partisan committees and boards whose goals were to better our community. The committees included providing grant funding for law enforcement, preventing juvenile delinquency, reducing jail overcrowding and increasing minority participation on juries.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
Politics should not matter when voting for a local trial judge who decides such issues as how much to fine someone for a traffic ticket or which parent gets custody of children. All that matters is having a judge with experience, integrity, good judgment and the proper temperament. My opponent and I both applied to the vacant position but the Illinois Supreme Court selected me because I possessed these qualities. Local lawyers also believe that I possess these qualities. A recent Illinois State Bar Association poll of lawyers "Recommended" me as judge with an overall 95% approval rating. For full results for me and my opponent, go to isba.org.