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updated: 2/10/2012 4:48 PM

Aurelia Marie Pucinski: Candidate Profile

Supreme Court 1st District (Fitzgerald) (Democrat)

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  • Aurelia Marie Pucinski, running for Supreme Court 1st District (Fitzgerald)

      Aurelia Marie Pucinski, running for Supreme Court 1st District (Fitzgerald)

 

 

 

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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

 

Bio

City: Chicago

Website: http://www.pucinski.org

Office sought: Supreme Court 1st District (Fitzgerald)

Age: 64

Family: 2 daughters and one son all wonderful adults!

Occupation: Justice, Illinois Appellate Court,Cook County

Education: Catholic University, Washington, DC, 1968, BA History DePaul College of Law, Chicago, IL, JD, l975

Civic involvement: Norwood Park Historical Society, Old Edgebrook Historical Society, Advocates Society, Chicago Bar Association

Elected offices held: 1984-1988 Commissioner, Water Reclamation District 1988 - 2000 Clerk of the Circuit Court 2004 - 2010 - Judge of the Circuit Court 2010 - Justice, Illinois Appellate Court

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

working with my colleagues to make the court system in Illinois independent of political influence and the influence of big campaign donations,

perhaps by modifying the rules on disclosure and recusal

Key Issue 2

assuring that the court's legal and administrative processes are effective at assisting senior citizens and the disabled and fair to all by making sure we do not throw unnecessary procedural roadblocks up against litigants with limited resources

Key Issue 3

to assist county court systems to develop better and more efficient processes, including on-line document research

Questions & Answers

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

I have already been very outspoken that judges should be elected but in non-partisan elections.

Judges should not and in fact may not campaign on a partisan platform so having partisan endorsements makes no sense except for the democratic party which assesses a fee from each judge candidate that nets the party about $400,000!

I think that we are better judges when we get out of the "ivory tower" and meet real people in real neighborhoods and answer their questions and hear their concerns

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

I have been an attorney since l976 and have had my own law practice, worked for the Small Business Administration as Regional Counsel dealing with business, finance and regulatory issues, worked as Clerk of the Court administering the Cook County court system with 2200 employees and NO scandal for 12 years while complying with the 900 statutory requirements of the office and with the legislature and county board; have served as a trial judge hearing felony, traffic, mental health, adoption, tax, election and domestic violence cases.

I heard more than 10,000 (no kidding!) domestic violence cases at which I evaluated evidence, heard testimony and made decisions -- and now serve on the Appellate Court where my caseload has included every kind of case from murder to contract, from medical malpractice to divorce.

I have served this community with dignity and honesty and believe that voters know I am hard working, fair, and effective.

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?

My judge friends who serve in criminal courts tell me that mandatory sentencing sounds good but doesn't work in many cases where the judge, who is on the spot and hears the evidence, might have a better idea what the sentence should be.

I have often thought that mandatory sentences should be limited to the worst of the worst cases, especially those in which young children were the victims and where a gun was used in the commission of a crime.

Crime should be punished, but the range is something that judges really agonize over and they are in a better position to fit the punishment to the crime.

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 heard more than 10,000 domestic violence cases and believe without a doubt that it was effective to have a special court, with trained advocates and access to extra services in one place.

While there I developed the extra services for senior citizen victims of domestic abuse which has, I am pleased to say, had a role in the development of our new Elder Court which will be up and running soon.

The other specialized courts are a response to specific needs in this community matched with specific services. It would make no sense for veterans advocates to spend a whole day in a court where no veterans needed their help, so having a central location makes those services more efficient and helps provide better training for the judges and staff.

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

I think Illinois would need much more researh on cameras and recorders in court to see how much they interfere with the process.

I am a fan of audio transmissions, like we have now for the Supreme Court and Appellate Court oral arguments -- I think that process does not lead to the "three ring circus"

that many fear if attorneys, litigants and witnesses were playing to the media, but does allow for citizens to hear what is going on

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