Our picks for judge
The most consequential vote you may cast Tuesday — on behalf of a woman seeking custody of her children, a senior citizen trying to keep his house, or a man facing a death sentence — is for judge.
A bad judge can do more damage to a plaintiff’s or defendant’s life than a congressman can. A good judge can set a wayward youth on a path toward redemption or hold a deadbeat dad accountable.
You won’t recognize the names of most of the 104 candidates, nearly all Democrats, seeking 24 seats on the Cook County circuit and state appellate court, so consider bringing this list with you when you vote. We based our recommendations on those of Cook County’s lawyer associations, which spent thousands of hours interviewing lawyers who have appeared in court with these candidates. Rather than highlight the worrisome judges to vote against, we’ll tell you the good ones to vote for:
Kathleen G. Kennedy and James Epstein both have received excellent ratings in their bid for the McNulty vacancy, and they stand head and shoulders above three other candidates. We endorse Kennedy, a former public guardian rated “highly qualified” by the Chicago Bar Association.
Aurelia Pucinski is a candidate voters will recognize as a former clerk of the Circuit Court, but Judge Thomas L. Hogan has the legal ability that Chicago’s lawyers say best qualifies him to fill the O’Malley vacancy. We endorse him over Pucinski and three other candidates. The Chicago Bar Association praised Hogan for “his integrity, legal knowledge judicial experience and work ethic.”
It’s a close call between Judge Mary Katherine Rochford and Judge Sebastian T. Patti, both with excellent reputations, but Rochford gained just a few more “highly” recommended ratings from bar groups.
The Sun-Times enthusiastically endorses former criminal defense lawyer William H. Hooks for the Berland vacancy. Hooks, a Marine, a law professor and a litigator in state and federal courts, earned top marks from just about every bar group.
Public defender and law professor Terry MacCarthy is heartily endorsed over three worthy opponents for the Bronstein vacancy.
Jamaican-born Assistant Corporation Counsel Linda J. Pauel is endorsed over the equally highly regarded Susan Kennedy Sullivan and two poorly rated opponents in the race for the Dolan vacancy.
Raymond W. Mitchell, a former attorney at Winston & Strawn who worked on former Gov. George Ryan’s defense team, is endorsed for the Hayes vacancy.
Attorney John Patrick Callahan Jr. is endorsed for the Kelley vacancy.
In a rare Republican primary race, the Sun-Times endorses arbitrator Maureen Masterson Pulia over Michaela Nolan Ryan.
Longtime personal injury litigator Russell William Hartigan stands out among seven candidates seeking the Riley vacancy. The Chicago Council of Lawyers praises him as “hardworking, conscientious
1st Subcircuit (South Side). Chicago Board of Elections Examiner Thaddeus L. Wilson is the clear choice over Linnae Bryant for the Coleman vacancy. Bankruptcy attorney Jesse Outlaw is the only good choice among five contenders for the Steele vacancy.
3rd Subcircuit (Southwest Side). Former prosecutor and public guardian Allen F. Murphy is the best choice for the Carmody vacancy. David Joseph Coleman, who handles special prosecutions for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, gets our nod for the Darcy vacancy. The Chicago Council of Lawyers finds him wellqualified. For an open seat, we choose Daniel Malone, a former personal injury lawyer found “highly qualified” by the Illinois State Bar Association.
9th Subcircuit (north suburbs). Defense lawyer Geary W. Kull is found “highly qualified” for the Otaka vacancy by the Chicago Bar Association for his “legal ability and outstanding temperament.” For the other 9th Subcircuit vacancy, Pro Bono Advocates Executive Director Mary Susan Trew is endorsed.
11th Subcircuit (Northwest/ West Side). In a crowded field of 11 candidates, Assistant Public Defender Ann Finley Collins stands head and shoulders above the rest for the Riley vacancy, with “highly qualified” ratings from many bar groups.
15th Subcircuit (south suburbs). For the Lipinski vacancy, we endorse Linzey D. Jones, village president of Olympia Fields, who is rated “highly qualified” by the Illinois State Bar Association. For the Panichi vacancy, we endorse state Rep. George F. Scully— whomthe state Supreme Court already has appointed to the bench — over respected prosecutor Mary Therese Quinn. For the Phelan vacancy, we endorse Judge John C. Griffin.