A pair of trial court judges with different but significant legal experience hope to become the newest member of the Illinois Second District Court of Appeals, where the winner will be able to affirm or vacate types of decisions they are currently making.
Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles and Lake County Judge Chris Kennedy are vying for a seat on the Second District Court in the Nov. 8 general election to fill an open seat created by judicial redistricting.
The second district includes Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties, an area with a combined population of 1.78 million people.
In addition to the Court of Appeals race, there are five competitions for Lake County Court Judges in five sub-circuits. Only one is disputed. Four judges sitting in the county are seeking to retain voters.
Kennedy, a Libertyville resident and Democratic candidate, is in the 28th year of his legal career since graduating from what was then John Marshall Law School in Chicago, including the last two as a judge in the court of first instance. He believes he is ready for the next step of judging the judges.
“I’ve learned a lot in my career, not just about the law, but about the people involved in the legal process,” Kennedy said. “I have learned that the worst quality in a judge is arrogance. Good judgment requires humility and consideration of all perspectives. Judges make decisions in the moment based on what is before them At the Court of Appeal, I will have time to do research.
Boles, now the presiding judge of the Kane County Court Civil Division, is the Republican nominee and a resident of St. Charles. In the 32nd year of her legal career and a judge for the past 15 years, she said she graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Valparaiso.
A litigator since 1990, Boles first worked for a large Chicago law firm before joining the Clancy Law Offices in St. Charles where her grandfather, father and brothers also practiced. Since becoming a judge, she says she has experienced a number of appeals. One was reversed and it was a learning experience.
“That was a while ago,” Boles said. “I took a look at the court’s reasoning. You understand why they ruled in favor of the party, even if you don’t always agree. In the trial court, you have to make a decision on the spot rather than being able to approach the matter contemplatively. »
With two years of hearing in Lake County, Kennedy said only one decision has been appealed and the appeals court has yet to rule. As a lawyer, he has been involved in a number of appeals, some involving millions of dollars. He understands the difference between ruling quickly when a lawyer makes an objection and the more academic role of an appellate judge.
“You really dive deep into the legal reasoning,” Kennedy said. “You know all the facts, you have a brief, sometimes quite long, and a pleading. I know how to do this because I did it as a lawyer.
During her law practice, Boles said she had long dreamed of becoming a judge. Now that she believes she has performed her duties on the bench successfully, she feels ready to help people on a different level. She would like to expedite the appeal process.
“There are times when there can be a four or five year delay,” Boles said. “I would like to improve the efficiency of the process.”
As Kennedy and Boles vie for an appeals court seat, two Lake County attorneys – Chris Ditton of Grayslake and Rod Drobinski of Wauconda – vie for a Lake County court seat in the First Judicial Sub-Circuit consisting of all or part of Ingelside, Hainesville, Grayslake, Wauconda and the communities of Round Lake.
A 2001 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Drobinski, the Republican nominee, spent 15 years in the Lake County state attorney’s office before starting his own practice focusing on criminal defense and real estate. In 2020, he also led the Criminal Division of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Ditton, a 1991 graduate of John Marshall Law School and a Democrat in the race, said he has his own law firm and has been affiliated with Harter & Schottland in Round Lake Beach since 2010. He focuses on civil disputes and transactions. He has also been an assessor for the Township of Avon since 2011 and previously served as a trustee.
Sharmila Manak in the second sub-circuit, Lake County Judge Reginald Matthews in the third sub-circuit, and judge Michael G. Nerheim in the 12th sub-circuit are seeking judges in uncontested races.
Second District Court of Appeals Judge Joe Birkett and Lake Victoria County Judges Rossetti, Jorge Ortiz and Mark Levitt are running to keep their jobs to give voters an opportunity to keep their jobs.