A longtime Kane County associate judge and an Aurora attorney have declared their candidacies for the Kane County Circuit Judge seat formerly held by Timothy Sheldon, who retired in December 2012.
James Hallock, an associate judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit since 1992, and David Howard, an attorney since 1990, are running as Republicans for the six-year term.
Hallock, who was appointed to fill the remainder of Sheldon's term, stressed his experience in presiding in nearly every court call in Kane County except for juvenile court and medical malpractice cases.
"I've spent a long time working my way through different courtrooms to develop that experience. I believe that experience qualifies me to be a good candidate," said Hallock, who lives in Elgin.
Associate judges are appointed by circuit judges and circuit judges are elected by voters. In addition to hearing cases, circuit judges have an opportunity to impact policy.
One change Hallock said he would make if elected would be to require attorneys to complete court orders electronically. Hallock already makes attorneys do that in his felony courtroom, which he says can eliminate handwriting errors on orders listing a person's next court date.
"That's really unfortunate for folks to go through. If it's a computerized order, you don't have that problem," he said.
Howard, who lives in Aurora, said he served as a part-time prosecutor for the city on misdemeanor cases, as well as a defense attorney and bankruptcy and family law. Running his own law firm during the recession gave him greater empathy and understanding for the financial challenges faced by many defendants.
"As I've grown older, I have a greater and greater respect for the value of law in society. It's probably our most valuable asset nationally, the rule of law," Howard said.
Howard didn't have any specific policy changes he would suggest if elected, but views the court system as a "social service agency of last resort.
"The most important thing is that you treat the people that are before you with a great deal of respect," he said.
Two people also are seeking the Republican nomination for the Circuit Judge seat that will become vacant when Karen Simpson retires in October 2014.
Associate Judge Marmarie Kostelny and Geneva attorney D.J. Tegeler have declared their candidacies for the GOP nod.
The primary is in March and winners from that election will square off in November 2014.