Luis Berrones: Candidate Profile
19th Circuit, 2nd Subcircuit (Seat A) (Republican)
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: 19th Circuit, 2nd Subcircuit (Seat A)
Family: Married, three children, one grandchild.
Occupation: Associate Circuit Court Judge
Education: Juris Doctor, DePaul University College of Law, 1983. Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with High Honors, 1980.
Civic involvement: St. Patrick Knights of Columbus,Council #12639
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Maintaining the high quality, standards and competence of the judges in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.
Key Issue 2
Trying to make the legal system more user friendly for those civil litigants who must represent themselves in court because they cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Key Issue 3
Educating the public about the judicial branch of government and the role of the courts and judges in our system of government.
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process? Please explain your answer.
While I see the positives and negatives of both the appointment and election process I prefer the appointment of judges. The election of judges poses difficulties for both the candidate and the voters. The ethical restraints that prohibit judges from taking positions on issues makes it especially difficult for the voter to make an informed decision. In addition, the need to raise money to run an effective campaign and be able to inform the voters of a judicial candidgate's qualifications raises additional concerns for me. The evaluation of whether to vote for a particular judicial candidate is different than the evaluation process a voter goes through when deciding how to vote for candidates for other offices. Generally, a voter looks at the candidate's position on issues and determines whether a candidate's position on the issues match the voter's position. With judicial candidates, the voter has to evaluate the candidate's knowledge of the law, integrity, impartiality, temperment, experience and other factors that are necessary for someone to succeed as a judge and maintain the legal system's integrity. The information necessary for the voter to make an informed decision may be difficult for the average voter to obtain but not for a committee that may be vetting candidates for a judicial position and making a recommendation to fill that position.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
I believe that I am the best person to serve as a judge because of my experience as an Associate Judge, the diverse legal experience I gained from practicing law for 24 years and the strong work ethic instilled in me by my parents. I have served as an Associate Judge for 5 years and have been assigned to several different courtrooms in Lake County. My judicial assignments started in traffic court where I served for a brief period of time. I was then assigned to family court where I presided over cases involving dissolution of marriage, property settlements, child support, child custody and post decree issues. My next assignment was in domestic violence court where I presided over criminal domestic violence cases and civil orders of protection. I currently sit in Chancery court where I have a high volume case load and preside over cases with some of the most complex legal issues in our court system. I was in private practice for over 20 years and was a partner with a large law firm. My practice involved handling complex civil litigation matters and I appeared in state and federal courts throughout the United States. My first job after graduating from law school was as an Assistant State's Attorney where I became a felony trial attorney and prosecuted all types of felony cases including sexual assaults, drug offenses, property crimes and murders. The diversity of my experience and background provide me with the best qulifications to sit in any courtroom and make knowledgeable and competent decisions. Finally, I am the only judicial candidate in the Second Sub-Circuit race to receive a positive evaluation by the Lake County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association. I received the highest evaluation ratings available from both bar associations with the Lake County Bar Association rating me as "Highly Recommended" with a 95% "Meets Requirements" rating and the Illinois State Bar Association rating me as "Recommended" with a 94.49% "Meets Requirements" rating.
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?
A judge should have the flexibility to craft a sentence that fits the particular facts of a case. We currently have minimum sentencing requirements for certain offenses, but a judge still has great leeway even in these cases when sentencing a defendant. Each case has its own set of unique facts and the discretion to craft a sentence that fits the particular factual situation before a judge is important to make sure that a just result is reached.
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?
The use of specialty courts such as domestic violence court, veterans court, drug court and mental health court is an effective and innovative way to address the special needs of certain defendants and victims. By limiting the types of cases these courts handle it allows the Judge more time to focus on the special needs of the parties and craft solutions to address their problems which benefits both parties and society.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms? Why or why not?
The issue of cameras and recording devices in the courtroom has been decided by the Illinois Supreme Court and I will abide by the Court's decision and our Chief Judge's decision regarding implementation.