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updated: 2/10/2012 4:48 PM

Kay Hanlon: Candidate Profile

Appellate Court 1st District (Cahill) (Democrat)

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  • Kay Hanlon, running for Appellate Court 1st District (Cahill)

    Kay Hanlon, running for Appellate Court 1st District (Cahill)




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: Northbrook


Office sought: Appellate Court 1st District (Cahill)

Age: 51

Family: Married for 25 years to Jim Hanlon, and two sons: Kevin (16) and Jack (14)

Occupation: Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Third District

Education: University of Illinois, Champaign, B.A in Finance, 1982 DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Juris Doctor, 1985

Civic involvement: Volunteer Career Day Northbrook Junior High Volunteer Career Day Glenbrook North High School Volunteer St. Norbert Church

Elected offices held: Northfield Township Trustee for eight years.

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 campaign issue is to have an independent judiciary.

When a candidate is endorsed by special or political interest groups the candidate may feel obligated or beholden to the group.

It is essential that judges remain neutral and rule according to the law and the evidence.

It is

also fundamental for judges to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Key Issue 2

My number two campaign issue is civility within the judiciary.

Every judge should treat the litigants, attorneys, and fellow judges with respect.

In fact, the judge should treat everyone in the court room with respect including the clerk, sheriff, court-reporter, and interpreter.

Appellate Court justices should avoid personal attacks on judges they reverse.

Circuit Court judges should not intimidate anyone who comes before them.

It is part of our job to explain the system to people and make them feel that they are getting a fair judge who will listen and rule according to the facts and the law.

Key Issue 3

My number three campaign issue is teaching and mentoring.

I think that judges should teach at law schools or local colleges and high schools.

I think it is important for judges to mentor other young judges and attorneys.

We need to show the public that we are human and that we can contribute by sharing our knowledge of the court process.

Questions & Answers

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

After much thought, I favor the election process.

When someone runs for election they go into the community to campaign.

It is imperative for judges to learn and understand the concerns and values of the various segments of our community. It is important to listen to people and hear their concerns about the judiciary.

I think this experience makes us better judges.

If the process were by appointment this would not happen.

In addition, the merit selection processes proposed to date appear to substitute one political process for another, and as between the two processes, I prefer one that gives the voting public a direct voice.

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

I believe that my diverse background and experience qualifies me for the Appellate Court.

I have over 25 years of experience.

I have served in all three branches of government.

I have been both a criminal prosecutor and defense attorney.

I have practiced civil law.

I have worked for a State Representative and served as a Township Trustee.

Although I currently sit in a criminal felony trial room, I have presided in every courtroom in the district (criminal, civil, domestic relations, etc...).

Most of my experience is in criminal law, and almost half of the cases that come before the Appellate Court are criminal cases.

Having someone well versed in criminal law and procedure would be an important addition to our 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 believe that judges should have discretion in sentencing.

We have statutory guidelines that we must follow but there is discretion within those guidelines.

Mandatory sentencing takes it out of our hands.

We hear the evidence at trial or during the factual basis for the plea.

We hear aggravation and mitigation from the lawyers and often have a pre-sentence investigation which tells us about the defendant and his/her background.

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 think specialized courts are fantastic!

First of all, the judges, lawyers, and staff are familiar with the types of crimes coming before them.

For example, in domestic violence cases, there are many specific rulings that must be made and special conditions of bond that must be set.

In mental health court, the defendant's mental health history and special needs are presented.

Veteran's and mental health courts are new to the Third District, but they are very effective in other parts of the county.

I am all for specialized court rooms.

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

At this time, I do support the ban.

Until we have adequate security measures to

protect witnesses and victims, I don't think cameras or recording devices should be allowed in court.

There is a possibility that the witnesses and victims will feel reluctant to come forward.

Jurors may feel intimidated by cameras. We already have security issues with people taking photos of jurors or witnesses on their phones.

Until better rules are established, I am not in favor.