Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/10/2012 4:55 PM

Joan Marie Kubalanza: Candidate Profile

Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy) (Democrat)

Success - Article sent! close
  • Joan Marie Kubalanza, running for Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy)

    Joan Marie Kubalanza, running for Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy)




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.

Jump to:

BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Palos Heights


Office sought: Cook County Circuit Court (Ward vacancy)

Age: 56

Family: Single, two sisters, one brother-in-law, one niece and two dogs.

Occupation: Judge

Education: Maria High School DePaul University BA in Education/History, Summa Cum Laude, 1977 DePaul University MA, American History, 1979 IIT/Chicago Kent College of Law, JD 1984, graduated 4 out of 200

Civic involvement: Maria High School Board of Directors,1988-1999, Chair 1996-1998; Board of Advisors of Caholic Charities, 1997-2003; Board of Directors, Literacy Chicago, 2005-2007; Board of Directors, Friends of Tolentine, 2011 to present; and Board of Directors, Illinois Judges Foundation, 2011 to present. In the past, Misceracordia -- Candy Days Volunteer.

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

My number one and only campaign issue is making every effort possible to demonstrate to the voters of Cook County that I am the most qualified person to be elected to fill the Ward Vacancy, based on my experience, integrity, honesty, and legal knowledge.

This is not a "political" campaign, in which candidates identify hot-button issues and make promises or seek to obtain votes through making promises.

I am seeking to earn the trust and confidence of the voters based on my own merits, and I am confident I can do that.

Key Issue 2

See 1 above.

Key Issue 3

See 1 above

Questions & Answers

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

There are arguments in favor and against electing judges and appointing judges.

An argument in favor of electing judges is that the public should have a voice in who will be interpreting the laws that impact their


An argument against electing judges is that a judge could be perceived as being influenced by special interest groups that contribute to the judges election campaign.

An argument in support of appointing judges is that the person or persons appointing would appoint qualified candidates and politics would not enter the selection process.

On the other hand, an appointed judge may be perceived as having the same political beliefs as the individual or individuals making the appointment.

There of course are many more arguments in favor and against both systems.

Illinois currently elects its judges with the exception of the selection of Associate Judges, who are elected by the elected, full circuit,

judges in the relevant circuit.

Perhaps there could be modifications to the election process that would eliminate some of the concerns.

One such modification could be that judicial candidates not be identified with a political party.

A second modification could be to limit the amount of money that a judicial candidate could spend in an election.

Recently, the legislature limited the amount of contributions

a judicial campaign can accept from individuals, unions, corporations,

and political action committees.

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

I am the most qualified candidate for this position because I possess each of the qualities a judge should possess: experience, knowledge of the law, honesty, integrity, impartiality and respect for those who appear before me. One of the most important qualities a judge can possess is experience.

I have experience as a judge, experience as a law clerk to a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, and over 22 years experience as a practicing lawyer.

The Circuit Court Judges of Cook County selected me as an Associate Judge in 1998.

I subsequently went back into private practice as a partner at two prominent law firms and then the Illinois Supreme Court recalled me to serve on the bench once again.

For the last three years I have served as a judge in the Child Protection Division of the Cook County Juvenile Court.

My initial work in the judicial branch of government began after graduating fourth out of 200 in my law school class at IIT/Chicago Kent College of Law.

In 1984, Justice William G. Clark of the Illinois Supreme Court chose me to serve as his law clerk.

In that position, I helped research and write opinions that were ultimately published and become controlling Illinois law.

I then spent over 22 years in private practice representing individuals, small businesses and other entities in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation cases.

During my time in practice, I tried cases before judges and juries and argued appeals before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Illinois Appellate Court.

These trials and appeals deepened my understanding of the judicial process and further prepared me to serve as a judge.

Not only did I gain knowledge of the law in law school but I continued to study and stay abreast of developments in the law during my years in practice and also during the time I taught law school classes.

During my years in practice, I identified legal issues, researched the law, applied the law to the facts, and set forth the differences and similarities between the facts in my case and the case law I found.

I then presented the courts with well written briefs and solid arguments.

I continue to remain a student of the law and remain current with

developments in case law and legislation.

Moreover, I continue to research the law as to legal issues that now come before me and with respect to contested hearings and trials I write my opinions to provide the parties and their attorneys with a full explanation as to how I reached my decision.

Honesty and integrity are values I cherish.

I have never had a complaint filed against me as a practicing attorney or as a judge.

In addition, I would never embarrass myself, my family and friends or my colleagues by doing anything improper or dishonest.

My role as a judge, and formerly as an attorney, is extremely important to me and I dedicate myself to preserving the integrity of the court and the legal system by always dealing with people honestly and in a manner that earns their trust and respect.

Finally, I treat all parties who appear before me with respect and dignity and provide all of them the opportunity to be heard.

Currently, I have one of the most difficult and challenging assignments in the court system.

As a Judge in the Child Protection Division, I am called upon to hear and decide cases involving child abuse, neglect and dependency.

I base my decisions on the law and what I find to be in the best interest of the children whose cases are before me with the knowledge that my rulings will almost always have an immediate impact on the lives of the those children, their parents and other members of their families.

It takes a strong resolve, dedication to the law and very often a tremendous amount of civility, honesty, integrity and fairness, to deal with and resolve the issues presented, which are often highly emotional.

I treat all litigants and their attorneys with respect and dignity and expect them to do the same.

Many times not all of the parties receive the result they may have hoped to obtain, but I do my utmost to ensure that they know they have been treated fairly and honestly and that their voices have been heard.

I believe the Chicago Bar Association recognized that I possess

the important qualities a judge should possess when, in its evaluation, it described me as "knows the law, is hardworking, diligent, and possesses a fine demeanor."

All of the bar associations that evaluate candidates for judicial positions have found me to be either ?Qualified? or ?Recommended? for the position I now seek.

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?

As a sitting judge, and as a candidate for judge, my role is to apply the law as written to the facts developed in evidence, fairly and impartially.

I believe it is not appropriate for sitting judges or judicial candidates to express personal opinions about whether they approve of existing or proposed laws.

Any candidate who does so risks sending a message to the public that he or she does not fully support the application of existing law or risks the public questioning the sincerity with which he or she may apply a law as written.

The public deserves unabated trust in their judicial officers that the law will be applied to the facts fairly and impartially.

Once a candidate or a judge publicly questions or challenges the merit or wisdom of that law, the bond of trust is irrevocably shaken.

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?

Based on my knowledge, I believe subject matter courts have been in many ways very effective.

They provide the opportunity to develop and promote a staff that has specialized knowledge of the particular and often intricately unique issues that the court faces.

Therefore, they promote more efficient case management and provide an additional level of experience that benefits the court, the public and the lawyers as well.

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

I am fully in favor of the public's right to have access to open court proceedings.

Many court proceedings, including cases I currently hear are not open, because they involve issues affecting minors.

There are strong public policy reasons to keep those proceedings closed.

With regard to open proceedings, however, allowing recording devices is not necessary to promote or provide public access.

Rather, it is more likely to create an environment of distractions.