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updated: 2/10/2012 4:53 PM

Diann Marsalek: Candidate Profile

Cook County Circuit Court (Frossard vacancy) (Democrat)

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  • Diann Marsalek, running for Cook County Circuit Court (Frossard vacancy)

    Diann Marsalek, running for Cook County Circuit Court (Frossard 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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Chicago


Office sought: Cook County Circuit Court (Frossard vacancy)

Age: 51

Family: Single

Occupation: Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County

Education: St. Alphonsus Grade School Immaculata High School BA Political Science-DePaul University MA Sociology-DePaul University JD-Northern Illinois College of Law

Civic involvement: Former President Lake View Citizens' Council President Central Lake View Neighbors President 23rd District Steering Committee Member 19th District DAC Committee Memeber of numerous Bar Associations- Chicago Bar Assoc., Women's Bar Assoc., Cook County Bar Assoc., Justinian Society of Italian Lawyers, Decalogue Society, Advocate Society of Polish Lawyers,Hellenic Bar Assoc., Asian American Bar Assoc., Gay and Lesbian Bar Assoc., Black Women Lawyer's, North Suburban Bar, Northwest Suburban Bar, West Suburban Bar and South Suburban Bar.

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

To reach as many voters in Cook County with my message of treating everyone who appears in front of me with dignity, respect, fairness, listen to what the individual is saying and give everyone a meaningful day in court.

Key Issue 2

To inform the public of the importance of voting for Judges and voting the entire ballot to reach the Judges at the end of the ballot.

Key Issue 3

To offer information on the voting of Judges and the number of vacancies as many individuals usually are not sure about how many vacancies there are and who they can vote for in the election.

Questions & Answers

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

The election of Judges ensures that the voters are involved in the process to elect Judges. The voting of Judges hopefully will ensure diversity of individuals being elected. This is the core of democracy to elect the individuals to represent the voter or be elected into office by the voter.

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

I am currently a sitting Judge in Traffic Court in the Daley Center. I handled large caseloads daily where individuals with and without attorneys appear before me in court. I start my court call promptly and manage the large court calls. I have the legal knowledge to serve as a Judge including 21 years of trial experience. I believe what sets me apart from others running in my race is that I work with the litigants as I have previous years of working with pro-se individuals or individuals representing themselves. I do understand the financial circumstances of many individuals and try to work with them for fines and the options available to them. I also use my judicial discretion where appropriate based upon the merits of the case.

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?

Every case should be heard on its own merits and sentencing should be based unpon the evidence/facts of that case. Sentencing guidleines should be available to Judges and Judges should have discretion for the sentencing. Some crimes may be more severe than others and require a longer sentence based upon the facts and evidence of the case.

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?

These courts are a great tool for the Judiciary and are able to help the defendants involved to obtain the treatment or services they need. The specialized courts do help individuals and if they help one individual than there is success.

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

As a Judge I would have to follow the law of the State of Illinois. As a member of the Judiciary it is not appropriate to offer an opinion on an existing law. This is a legislative issue. Court proceedings are open to the public except in matters involving juveniles.