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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.
Office sought: 18th Circuit (Thompson vacancy)
Family: Married 23 years to my beautiful wife Suzanne, proud parents of four children
Occupation: DuPage County Circuit Judge
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Government, University of Notre Dame, 1980 Juris Doctor, University of Illinois College of Law, 1983
Civic involvement: Paul Harris Fellow, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, 2011 President, Naperville Community Outreach, n/k/a 360 Youth Services, f/k/a NCO Youth and Family Services, 1986-1987 President, Naperville Task Force For Drug Free Youth, a/k/a Community Against Substance Abuse (CASA). 1996-1997 Board of Directors, Naperville Crimestoppers Basketball Coach, Heritage YMCA, 1996-2008 Swim Coach, Naperville YMCA, 1983-1988 Naperville Park District Representative: Cress Creek Country Club Swim Team, 2001-2006 Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Parishioner, 1971-2012 DuPage Bar Association, Real Estate Law and Practice Committee, Chairman, 1992-93 Supreme Court Special Committee charged with improving the residential foreclosure system in Illinois, 2010-present Supreme Court Rules Committee, 2010-present Illinois Board of Admissions Character and Fitness Committee, Member, 2003-2009, Vice Chairman, 2008-2009 Executive Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference, 2011-present
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To continue to work hard and perform at a high level as a judge, to honor the trust placed in me when I was appointed.
The Supreme Court of Illinois, including Chief Justice Bob Thomas, unanimously appointed me in August 2010 to serve as a DuPage County Circuit Court Judge.
I am running to keep my current position. The Illinois Supreme Court Justices demonstrated their confidence in me, and I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can to merit that confidence.
Key Issue 2
To continue to utilize my talents and experience where they are most needed.
Upon my appointment as a judge, I chose to preside over the residential mortgage foreclosure court call, even though it has the heaviest caseload, because this call directly affects the quality of our community and the lives of our citizens.
I helped implement a program to have HUD-approved counselors in the courtroom, at no cost to taxpayers, to assist deserving homeowners achieve alternatives to foreclosure.
I serve on a special Supreme Court committee to make sure that the foreclosure process runs as fairly as humanly possible.
Key Issue 3
To serve with integrity and treat our county's citizens with the respect they deserve.
We have been plagued in Illinois with public officials who lack integrity and who view their positions as ones of entitlement and privilege.
I believe that the position of judge is not an entitlement, but rather a position of public service, trust, and responsibility.
It is of the utmost importance to me to treat every person who steps up to the bench with respect, and to treat every case as vitally important.
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process' Please explain your answer.
At the county level, voters elect circuit court judges, but the Supreme Court of Illinois appoints replacements for departing circuit court judges for the balance of their unexpired terms.
Appointed circuit court judges must then run and win one election to retain the position.
The circuit judges appoint the associate judges.
So the current system is a combination of both appointment and elections.
DuPage County has an excellent judiciary, and I favor the current system until someone demonstrates a better alternative.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
A judge must know the law, be fair, work hard, demonstrate integrity, and possess an attitude of humility and respect for everyone in the courtroom.
I grew up in DuPage County, and spent much of my life around young people, as a coach, as a parent, and as the president of youth and family service organizations.
Six years ago, my son and I came within an eyelash of drowning in a riptide in the Pacific Ocean.
Since then I treat every day as a gift, not to be taken for granted.
I love our community and, God willing, I will continue to do my part to make it a better place to live.
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?
One of the hallmarks of effective sentencing is that similar cases should be treated similarly.
The system must promote that objective or risk being unfair.
How to promote that objective is trickier than it might appear at first glance.
Facts and circumstances vary so widely that not every possibility can be legislated.
So long as judges are conscientious, their sentences will be more just with greater leeway to sentence defendants.
That being said, unfettered discretion is never a good thing.
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?
We live in a large state with people from all walks of life, and I doubt very much that a program that works in Cook County would necessarily work or even be needed in, say, Franklin County in very southern Illinois.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and some specialized courts have, by general acclaim, worked in particular regions for particularized problems.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms' Why or why not?
Courtrooms are designed to provide people fair trials, and fairness must always be the overriding consideration.
So long as a fair trial is not jeopardized, I support lifting the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms.
Pilot programs should be explored to determine the effect that cameras and/or recording devices have in different types of cases before any changes are implemented.