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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.
Website: http://Judge John Walters.com
Office sought: 16h Circuit, 2nd Subcircuit (Seat A)
Family: Married to Deborah, 2 sons - Dr. John Paul Walters, Matthew Walters
Occupation: Currently a sitting Circuit Court Judge in Kane County, previous to this appointment - attorney
Education: Juris Doctorate - The John Marshall Law School, Law Review Editor Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and History - Illinois State University
Civic involvement: Elgin City Council for 22 years Elgin Sustainability Committee Hemmens Advisory Board Elgin Liquor Commission Kiwanis Club Elgin Sports Hall of Fame United Way Allocations Panel Renz Center Youth Soccer and Baseball Coach
Elected offices held: Elgin City Council
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Experience has to be a key issue in this campaign! Last fall, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously appointed me to this position of Kane County Circuit Judge. Since that time, I have obviously gained priceless experience and educational opportunities as a sitting judge. I have presided over traffic, criminal, domestic violence, juvenile, mortgage foreclosure, and other civil matters.
Key Issue 2
Experience as a general practice attorney is and should be a crucial issue in any judicial campaign. I have 33 years of general practice experience in Kane County. My courtroom experience as an attorney is extensive in all areas of legal practice. I have experience as an arbitrator - both as a panel member and as chair of the panel.
Key Issue 3
I have experience in the economic climate of the legal system. During my tenure on the Elgin City Council, legal fees were part of the city budget. As an attorney, I was aware of the fees associated with Court. As a judge, I am responsible for assessing legal fees where appropriate. As a judge, I am fully aware and cognizant of this process.
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process? Please explain your answer.
Elections are a transparent way for citizens to put people of experience and character into an important position of the court system.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
Since I was already appointed to this position, I have gained invaluable experience as a sitting judge. In addition, I bring a wide and varied breadth of legal experience to this campaign. My years as a general practice attorney have given me experience in family law, traffic law, criminal law, real estate law, probate, wills and trusts, and breach of contract cases. I have taught Business Law classes at Elgin Community College for many years. In all of these experiences, I have worked closely with people of all ages, gender, backgrounds, beliefs, and abilities. I believe that I can be a fair and independent voice for all people of Kane County.
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?
This is a subject that many judges struggle with. Mandatory sentencing is created by the General Assembly. As I judge, I am required to follow the mandates of the legislative governing body of Illinois.
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?
Drug Court is very effective. It offers one on one time and assistance to people who may have made a bad decision, but can turn their lives around with responsible counsel and hard work. Domestic Violence Court, unfortunately, has a huge court call every day and speaks to a social crisis in our times. This is invaluable to people who find themselves in situations that need the support of professionals. Mental Health Court meets weekly to deal with issues of people with mental illness and the struggles they face on a daily basis. All three of these courts are effective and invaluable to the citizens of Kane County.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms? Why or why not?
I do not support a complete elimination of the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois Courtrooms. Currently, each circuit is drafting its own set of rules for allowing the use of such equipment in Illinois courtrooms.