Ju­di­cial can­di­date’s ad shows ri­val fade away

Ep­stein fears vot­ers may mis­take foe Jim Ryan for gov hope­ful

Chicago Sun-Times - - News - BY ABDON M. PALLASCH

Judge Jim Ep­stein takes an un­usual step in his race for Illi­nois Ap­pel­late Court Tues­day. He runs a tele­vi­sion ad with a photo of one of his op­po­nents. That photo of Judge Jim Ryan fades away as Ep­stein clar­i­fies that he’s “a lit­tle dif­fer­ent” from the other candidates in his race.

Ep­stein is highly rated by the bar groups and is a for­mer pres­i­dent of the Illi­nois Judges As­so­ci­a­tion. Judge Kath­leen Kennedy, an­other can­di­date in the race, also got high rat­ings. Their three op­po­nents did not.

Ep­stein said he doesn’t want vot­ers to con­fuse his op­po­nent Ryan, 43, for­mer gen­eral coun­sel to Sher­iff Michael Shea­han, with Jim Ryan, 63, the for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral run­ning for gov­er­nor in the Repub­li­can pri­mary.

“In ju­di­cial races, peo­ple go in without a clear idea of who’s run­ning, and they see a fa­mil­iar name — that name may get

Sun­Times en­dorse­ments, bar group rat­ings. | P. 20, 21 a vote whether it’s at­tached to the per­son they think it is or not,” Ep­stein said.

Sadly, in ju­di­cial races, vot­ers tend to go for women with Ir­ish names, whether or not they are qual­i­fied, so Kennedy’s name may help her more than her im­pres­sive re­sume. Vot­ers have elected un­qual­i­fied peo­ple with other eth­nic­i­ties who changed their names to Ir­ish ones to run for judge. They have also elected men who used fem­i­ni­ne­sound­ing names.

Judge Ryan’s name may help him over­come the fact that he got a good rat­ing from only one of the 11 bar groups. Some of the oth­ers said he had “tem­per­a­ment” is­sues.

But to his credit, Ryan at least sub­mit­ted his cre­den­tials to the bar groups for eval­u­a­tion. Some of the candidates slated by the Demo­cratic Party for judge- ships ex­pect to be handed the $170,000-a-year gig with lifeor-death power over de­fen­dants without hav­ing to be both­ered sub­mit­ting their cre­den­tials and an­swer­ing pesky ques­tions about mis­takes they have made in court.

Pamela Hill Veal got the party’s bless­ing in her bid to move up to Ap­pel­late Court from Cir­cuit Court, even though the very Ap­pel­late Court she seeks to join lam­basted her in an opin­ion for in­ex­cus­ably jail­ing a lawyer for con­tempt of court.

Veal did not bother to sub­mit her cre­den­tials for re­view or to re­turn a phone call for this story.

Cook County State’s At­tor­ney Anita Al­varez said she hopes vot­ers would ed­u­cate them­selves about the ju­di­cial candidates’ qual­i­fi­ca­tions be­fore vot­ing.

“Some­day you may be in a civil court — maybe you will be in a car ac­ci­dent — so you have a stake in this. It’s im­por­tant that you do make the right de­ci­sion,” Al­varez said.

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