The Northwest Suburban Bar Association has released its recommendations for judicial candidates running in the 12th and 13th subcircuits located in Northwest suburban Cook County.
Candidates complete questionnaires and participate in interviews with the bar association screening committee, whose members evaluate them on legal abilities, judicial temperament, integrity and impartiality. The committee rates the circuit court candidates as "recommended" or "not recommended."
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In the 12th, which includes parts of Wheeling, Elk Grove, Maine, New Trier and Northfield townships, the bar association recommends Democrat candidates Michael J. Halloran, James C. Murray and Andrea M. Schleifer.
Robert P. Babbitt and Daniel P. Scott, also Democrats, did not participate in the screening process.
On the Republican side, the bar association did not recommend candidate James P. Pieczonka, who is running unopposed.
In the 13th subcircuit, which includes parts of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Schaumburg and Streamwood, the bar association recommends Republicans Nicholas G. Grapsas, Paul S. Pavlus and Ketki "Kay" Steffen, all of whom are running to replace Judge Edward N. Pietrucha, of Rolling Meadows Third Municipal District.
Republican candidate Peter Pacione did not participate in the screening process.
No Democrats are running.
Martin C. Kelley is running unopposed in the Republican primary to fill a 13th subcircuit vacancy. No Democrats have filed in that race.
Voters look to bar associations for their evaluations, said Northwest Suburban Bar Association member Michael Meschino.
"Screenings are about as close as the legal community is going to get in terms of merit-based selection," he said in a prepared statement. "Citizens appreciate having guidance as to who the right people are to be sitting on the bench, making judgments that affect lives."
The Northwest Suburban Bar Association did not screen candidates running in Cook County's 11th subcircuit, which includes parts of Des Plaines, O'Hare International Airport and parts of Chicago.
Democrat candidates running to fill the O'Brien vacancy in the 11th subcircuit are Michael R. Clancy, Maritza Martinez, Maureen A. Murphy and Roger Zambaro.
Running to fill the Urso vacancy in the 11th subcircuit are Democrats Jennifer A. Blanc, Deborah J. Fortier, Lisa Ann Marino and Pamela McLean Meyerson.