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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: Cook County Circuit Court (Stralka vacancy)
Family: Married to Patricia Mullen since 1987. Four ("4")children. Claire Elizabeth(age 23); Catherine Anne (age 22); Michael, Jr. (age 20); and Conor (age 10).
Education: Marquette University 1978 B.A. Loyola School of Law 1981 J.D.
Civic involvement: Trustee Village of Western Springs, Illinois(1995-1999); and Chairman Fire and Police Commission Western Springs, Illinois(2006-present)
Elected offices held: Trustee Village of Western Springs, Illinois(1995-1999).
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Key Issue 2
Key Issue 3
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process? Please explain your answer.
The election process is extremely challenging and unpredictable. As a result, many very qualified and successful attorneys do not seek to become elected. I believe that a truly impartial appointment process would assist in improving the quality of the judges that serve our community.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
During the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of being able to practice law before each level of the Illinois State Court Judiciary, as well as in the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and I have met with success at each level. I have taken many extremely complicated criminal and civil cases to verdict in both State and Federal Court both as a federal prosecutor and while in private practice. I have written briefs and argued cases before the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts, as well as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. While an Assistant U.S. Attorney, I was a Chief in the Criminal Division where I supervised 40 attorneys and prosecuted public corruption, bank fraud, as well as bank robberies and narcotic cases. In both1988 and1990, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded me with a ?Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance? due to my commitment to my responsibilities and the results that I had obtained on behalf of the community. Throughout my professional career I have devoted a significant amount of my professional and personal time to public service. I served as an Assistant Attorney General for three (?3") years and as an Assistant United States Attorney for six (?6") years. I was a Trustee for the Village of Western Springs and continue to serve as the Chairman of the Fire and Police Commission. I have contributed to various legal publications and was selected as an Illinois ?Super Lawyer? and am listed in ?Who's Who In American Law? ?Who?s Who In America? and ?Who?s Who In The World.? I have been rated as ?Highly Recommended? by the CBA, ISBA, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Puerto Rican Bar Association of llinois and Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and have received at least the ?Recommended? rating by all bar associations, including the Women?s Bar Association of Illinois, the Hellenic Bar Association, the Asian American Bar Association, the Black Women Lawyers? Association of Greater Chicago, the Cook County Bar Association and the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association. My participation in civil and criminal trials during the last 30 years, in addition to my appellate court experience, has provided me with an excellent foundation from which to draw upon, so that I can properly evaluate the cases that will be assigned to me as a judge. In addition to my experience, I have the common sense, good humor, sense of fair play and calm temperament necessary to become a successful judge. I believe that if I am honored with the privilege and responsibility of becoming a judge, I will continue to work to make a positive difference for those in my community by using the skills that I have developed during the last 30 years as a trial and appellate attorney to be fair and objective, while continuing to treat all with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
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?
Judges should be entrusted with the responsibility to appropriately impose a sentence based upon the judge's experience with the recognition of the crime that was committed, the impact to the victims of the crime, as well as the criminal defendant's overall circumstances. Mandatory sentencing artifically limits a judge's abilty to properly address each case at sentencing and when that occurs, mandatory sentencing fails.
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?
Specific courts have been created to address unique issues such as those cited. Judges, who are knowlegeable in the specfic issues, are assigned to various courts based upon their experience and interest in the specific problems. This is a good idea as it is designed to allow an individual judge to review an individual's case in an extremely large unified court system. Every system, whether civil or criminal, needs to be constantly reviewed in order to insure fairness for all, as no one system is perfect.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms? Why or why not?
Yes. The proper use of cameras and other recording devices will promote a better understanding of the judicial process and engender more community confidence of the judicial process.