The Illinois State Bar Association has offered some guidance to help voters sort out who should retain seats on the Kane County bench Nov. 6.
The group sends out ballots to lawyers and asks them for opinions on a range of qualifications such as integrity, meeting the requirements of office, impartiality, legal ability, temperament, court management, health and sensitivity.
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Both judges seeking retention in the 16th Judicial Circuit, which includes Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties, earned high marks from 337 attorneys who responded.
Judges Donald C. Hudson and Thomas E. Mueller both were recommended by lawyers in the advisory poll, scoring 91.47 or above in eight categories.
Judge John A. Barsanti is the only candidate seeking to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Michael J. Colwell. The 300 lawyers who responded recommended Barsanti, who was elected to two terms as Kane County state's attorney. He scored over 90 in every category except "impartiality," in which he received an 87.88.
Two attorneys also hope to be elected to fill a new subcircuit seat: John N. Walters, who was appointed as a judge earlier this year, and John G. Dalton. Both are Elgin attorneys.
Dalton did not receive enough responses from the bar association's poll to be valid. Of the 300 attorneys who responded, Walters got his highest mark in "health" with an 88.99 and lowest marks in "meets requirements for office" and "legal ability" with 59.65 and 58.41, respectively.
An ISBA Judicial Evaluation Committee also concluded that Joseph E. Birkett, a former DuPage County state's attorney who was appointed to the 2nd District Appellate Court in December 2010, is "qualified" to serve on the appellate court. He is the only candidate on the ballot to fill a vacancy.
However, 965 lawyers who responded to the bar's advisory poll did not recommend him, giving him only a 54.57 for "impartiality" and a 57.18 for "meeting the requirements of office."
Prison for Carpentersville assault: A 47-year-old Carpentersville man was sentenced to 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to breaking down a neighbor's door last spring.
James M. Luecke, of the 0-99 block of North Lincoln Avenue, was arrested in May and charged with felony trespassing, criminal damage to property and a hate crime.
Authorities charged him with kicking in the door of a neighbor and calling her racial slurs, even after police arrived. Luecke also was accused of threatening to kill an officer and flushing a blanket down the toilet in his jail cell, causing a flood and other damage.
Luecke, whose previous criminal history included prison time for trespassing, aggravated assault and domestic battery, also must serve a year of supervised release after his prison term.
Judge Clint Hull accepted the plea, in which prosecutors dropped the hate crime charge as well as the threatening an officer charge, according to court records.
In court papers, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Christine Bayer noted Luecke's past criminal history, stating he was "extremely belligerent" during the booking process and recommended that he not be a considered for early work release.