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updated: 1/25/2010 2:38 PM

Breaking down Lake County's judge choices

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Lake County voters have a choice of candidates in three races for circuit court judge and two candidates for the 2nd District Appellate Court on the Feb. 2 primary ballot.

Here's a breakdown of the races, candidate profiles and bar association ratings.

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4th Subcircuit

Four candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination in the subcircuit covering Bannockburn, Deerfield, Green Oaks, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest and parts of Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Mettawa and Riverwoods.

Highland Park attorney Dwayne Douglas is a former Lake County assistant public defender now in private practice who has been a lawyer for 19 years. Douglas stresses his knowledge of Lake County court operations and expanding legal services for the underprivileged as goals for his campaign.

Christopher Kennedy of Libertyville is a partner in the firm of Kennedy, Pierson and Strachan LLP and has worked as an advocate for children and adults with autism. He said he wants to increase public education about the court system and expand electronic filing and access to records if elected to the bench.

Mark Levitt of Deerfield has been an assistant public defender in Cook County with experience in criminal and civil cases. He said he is running for judge to protect the rights of all litigants.

Jeremy Schwartz of Highland Park is a candidate for circuit judge in the Democratic primary in the 4th Judicial Subcircuit who was not included in a story in Sunday's editions of the Daily Herald.

A Cook County assistant state's attorney in both the criminal and civil divisions for 24 years, Schwartz said he is running for circuit judge to continue his career in public service and to give back to the community.

He said he favors making more creative use of Lake County court facilities prior to constructing a new building and supports a continued ban on cameras or recording devices in courtrooms.

Schwartz was rated "recommended" for the position in candidate polls conducted by the Lake County and Illinois State bar associations.

5th Subcircuit

Two candidates are on the Republican ballot in the subcircuit covering the Barrington area communities, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lakemoor, Lake Zurich, Round Lake communities, Wauconda and Volo.

Diane Winter of Barrington was appointed a circuit judge in November 2008 and previously served as an associate judge for eight years. She said she believes the county should expand assistance for people representing themselves in court, and judges should do more to educate the public about the court system.

Peter Curielli is a Chicago attorney who did not respond to the Daily Herald's request for information about his campaign.

6th Subcircuit

Two candidates are on the Democratic ballot in the subcircuit covering Antioch, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Hainesville, Old Mill Creek, Third Lake, Winthrop Harbor and parts of Fox Lake, Grayslake, Gurnee, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, Wadsworth and Zion.

Edward Abderholden of Antioch practices law in Chicago and is a former president of the Cook Memorial Library Board. He said he wants to study expanding court hours into the evening to relieve the space crunch in the courthouse and end the ban on cameras in courtrooms.

Michael Perillo of Grayslake began his legal career in the Navy and served as a Lake County public defender and assistant state's attorney before going into private practice. He said he wants a more transparent system of appointing associate judges and supports continuing the ban on cameras in the courtroom.

2nd Appellate Court-Elgin

Two Republicans are on the ballot for a seat on the district covering nine counties outside of Cook County.

Mary Seminara Schostok has served as an appellate justice since 2008 and was a Lake County circuit judge, associate judge and assistant state's attorney before her appointment.

She stresses her experience in all areas of the law in her bid for election and supports continuing the ban on cameras in courtrooms.

Donna Kathryn Kelly is a McHenry County attorney who did not respond to the Daily Herald's request for information about her campaign.

Bar association ratings

Both the Lake County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association issued ratings for the candidates in all the races for Lake County Circuit Court.

The associations asked their memberships to rate the candidates according to their integrity, impartiality, legal ability, court management and other criteria.

In the Lake County poll: Kennedy, Levitt, Perillo and Winter were rated "highly recommended;" Abderholden, Douglas and Schwartz were rated "recommended"; Curielli and Howe were rated "not recommended."

The state association poll said Abderholden was "not recommended;" Curielli and Howe did not generate enough responses for a rating; all other candidates were rated "recommended."

The state association also rated candidates for the 2nd Appellate Court District seat and found Schostok "highly qualified" and Kelly "not qualified."

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