Our picks for judge

Chicago Sun-Times - - We Think Commentary -

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:

Ap­pel­late Court

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.

Cir­cuit Court

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

and knowl­edge­able.”

Sub­cir­cuits

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.

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