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updated: 2/10/2012 4:55 PM

Peter J. Vilkelis: Candidate Profile

Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy) (Democrat)

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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Chicago


Office sought: Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy)

Age: 56

Family: Married for 30 years. No children, but 10 nephews and nieces and innumerable great nieces and nephews.

Occupation: Circuit Court Judge, appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in February, 2011. Currently assigned to the Child Protection Division at Cook County Juvenile Court

Education: J.D. John Marshall Law School, 1980. B.A. University of Illinois, Chicago, 1977. St. Laurence H.S., 1973 Nativity B.V.M Grammar School, 1969.

Civic involvement: Illinois Judges Association. Formerly, Board Member of the Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce.

Elected offices held: None.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

I am assigned to the Child Protection Division of Juvenile Court. My goal is to break the cycle of abused/neglected children drifting into delinquent behavior and giving our wards a chance to become educated, productive mebers of society.

Key Issue 2

Candidate did not respond.

Key Issue 3

Candidate did not respond.

Questions & Answers

Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process' Please explain your answer.

I respectfully decline to express an opinion on this issue.

What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?

My career began when I was a court clerk for the seven years of college and law school. I worked in the misdemeanor and preliminary hearing courts around Chicago. This was an eye-opening education into the inner workings of our court system and the work of lawyers and judges. I then spent nine years as an assistant Cook County states attorney, where I worked in Criminal Appeals, Juvenile Court, Special Prosecutions and the Felony Trial Division where I ultimately became a "first-chair" prosecutor at 26th and California. I spent the next 20 years as a sole practioner, concentrating in the defense of criminal cases. At the time of my appointment to the bench, I was a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar, as well as its screening committee.

All of the evaluating bar associations found me either "Qualified" or "Recommended." Not one negative comment or finding was made. My conduct has never been called into question by an appellate court.

What are your thoughts on mandatory sentencing? Do you believe judges should have greater leeway when it comes to sentencing defendants' Why or why not?

I respectfully decline to answer this question.

What are your thoughts on the use of drug courts, domestic violence courts, veterans courts, mental health courts and prostitution courts' Have they been effective?

To effectively serve our community, the court system must be creative.

Ideas are conceived and put into practice. If they work, that will be evident.

Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms' Why or why not?

I respectfully decline to answer this question.