The March primaries are almost upon us, and the Chicago Bar Association has released its Judicial Evaluations.
From the CBA’s website:
March 18, 2014 Primary Election:
The Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) invites you to view its evaluation of judicial candidates seeking election to vacancies on the Illinois Appellate Court and the Circuit Court of Cook County in the upcoming Primary Election to be held Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Please take this information with you to your polling place and remember to vote the Judicial Ballot. Also, feel free to share our findings with your friends, relatives and colleagues.
We urge you to vote for judicial candidates seeking election found Qualified or Highly Qualified.
View our complete findings in the Green Guide to Judicial Candidates.
View a two-page, printable Pocket Guide (take this quick guide with you to vote).
Get the Pocket Guide on your smart phone at http://m.chicagobar.org/.
As you may know, I am a member of the CBA’s Judicial Evaluation Committee, so let me tell you a little about how we come to our findings:
Each candidate is asked to complete a lengthy questionnaire about his or her background. Subjects include information about trial experience, legal writings or courses taught, community activities, and a list of references.
After receiving the completed questionnaire, investigators from the committee then contact the references, trial adversaries and judges, and look into things like whether the person has ever been a party to a lawsuit or received criticism or sanction from an appellate court or the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
The final step is a hearing before the CBA’s Judicial Evaluation Committee, where the Candidate is given an opportunity to speak about his or her qualifications and is questioned by members of the committee. After that there is discussion and then a secret ballot. If the Candidate does not like the result, he or she can appeal and request another hearing.
The end result is a very thorough process. Although I personally do not agree with each and every rating, I have to say that each rating is the result of a very long and careful process.
Judges are very important. One day, one of them could change your life. It is vitally important that we elect qualified jurists. So please review the committee’s findings, and print them out or have them on your phone when you go to vote.