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.
Office sought: Cook County Circuit Court (Conlon vacancy)
Family: Married for 37 years to my wife Edith, a retired public school teacher and we have two grown sons.
Occupation: Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County - appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, December 15, 2010. Attorney for 37 years, Lecturer and then Adjunct Professor of Law - DePaul University College of Law, Clinical Fellow University of Chicago Law School
Education: Juris Doctor, University of Michigan School of Law (1973) Bachelors of Science, Journalism, Northwestern University (1970) High School Diploma, Wendell Phillips High School, Chicago (1966)
Civic involvement: Past President and Board Member - Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc. (1996 - Present); Past Board Member - Partnership for Quality Child Care (2006-2007); Honorary Trustee Ancona School (2007) previously on Board (1990 - 1997); Sunday School teacher and former Youth Director - Morning Star Baptist Church of Chicago; Member Chicago Yachting Association and officer; former coach Stan Edwards Biddy Basketball League.
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To get the message out that experienced, qualified judges matter and that my personal goal for the position for judge is the same as my goal in life, to simply be the best I can be and be a decent human being - "loving justice, doing mercy and walking humbly."
As a judge I strive to be honest, fair, hardworking and dedicated.
Key Issue 2
That it is important that voters know who they are voting for when they vote for judge and not just pick the person with the best ballot name.
Almost everyone at some time in their life will be touched by the court system - whether it be traffic court, civil lawsuits or a criminal matter and at that point a person wants to know they have a judge who is fair, knows the law and is competent, and will treat them with respect and decency.
Courts and the justice system are frightening to the average person and a judge has a responsibility to the public.
Key Issue 3
That we need a better system and one that removes fund raising from the election of judges.
The public has the right to be informed about the judicial candidates and judges should not have to be involved in raising money in any form to run for office.
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process' Please explain your answer.
I believe in democracy and the right to vote, however, I also feel that when it comes to electing judges we need to improve the system.
Until we enact campaign finance reform, the costs of judicial elections are too high and there is no way to properly educate and inform the public about candidates and their qualifications.
I do not think, however, that the answer is a system of appointment of judges because we would never agree on who makes the appointments.
Some compromise between appointments and elections may be the answer coupled with campaign finance reform.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
The qualities I have that make me the best person to serve as a judge are I have far more legal and judicial experience than my opponents and I bring a diverse and mature background to the bench.
My charitable and community work has given me an understanding of many of the issues facing the families and individuals who come before the court.
I am a judge who is not merely a former Assistant State's Attorney, but who combines that experience with also having represented a wide variety of clients from all walks of life and over a year's worth of actual judicial experience.
I have 37 years legal experience in state and federal courts and I have tried to jury verdict more than 140 criminal cases, and more than 50 civil cases to jury verdict, including a number of high profile cases. I have also tried hundreds of non-jury cases. I had the privilege of trying a landmark civil case Wallace v. Smyth where the ultimate outcome was a change in Illinois law establishing a higher standard of care applied for the protection of underprivileged children in child care facilities.
I have been found Qualified or Recommended by ALL evaluating Bar Associations.
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 believe that mandatory sentencing has had a negative impact on the criminal justice system.
The legislative intent was to remove bias from sentencing and to ensure fairness and equality in sentencing but the result has been in many cases the elimination of judicial discretion and pure common sense.
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?
I favor the use of these courts and the data supports the premise that they have had a positive impact on the system.
In the instances of mental illness, drug and alcohol issues, prostitution and veterans the answer is all too often a need for treatment and referral services not incarceration.
These specialty courts are set up to handle the needs of these cases and defendants.
However, it is important to note that if the appropriate and necessary social service programs and treatment options are not available the system will break down.
The cost to taxpayers has been shown to be less that maintaining individuals in jail.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms' Why or why not?
The use of cameras and recording devises is determined by legislation and as a Judge I must follow the law.
Courts, except in juvenile and a few specific instances are open to the public to attend and the transcripts are public record.