|Separating the wheat from the chaff. | Parris Blog|
With early voting underway for the March 20th primary, a lot of people are asking us for our thoughts on judicial candidates. We don’t make recommendations per se, but we do research criminal court judges’ performance on the bench. The information is passed along to our subscribers via a Judges Scorecard before the current and November election cycles.
An excellent resource to look at is this PDF from the Alliance of Bar Associations For Judicial Screening. The authors have collected recommendation and qualification ratings from eleven bar associations for each judge on the ballot this month. (Of course, just because a candidate is “qualified” does not mean that they will use common sense on the bench.)
You are allowed to take this list into the voting booth. So print it out, and take it with you.
The candidates on the ballot this month are running to replace judges who have exited since the last elections. Their vacancies have been temporarily filled by appointment. Now, the appointed “temps” must win a race to get the job for a full term.
Two judges appearing on some ballots this cycle will be familiar to CWBChicago readers: Judge Stephanie Miller and Judge David Navarro. Miller and Navarro oversee initial hearings and set initial bonds in court cases. Those are the only two judges up for election who have established track records in criminal court. Again, simply because a candidate is “qualified” to be a judge does not mean that they will make the decisions you may hope for.
BTW — once a Cook County Judge passes this initial election state, they’re usually on the bench until they quit. The November election cycle will call on voters to decide whether judges should be retained for another six-year term. No judge has lost a retention vote since 1990. Not even one who had been declared “insane” by a court hearing a criminal case against her.
A final note: Virtually every judicial candidate in Cook County is running as a Democrat. If you take a non-Democrat ballot in the primary, you will probably not have any judges to vote for.