1.) What is the importance of a 6th Circuit Judge to residents of Champaign County?
Our Circuit Judges make decisions that affect the residents of Champaign County every day. Judges decide who gets locked up, and for how long; who gets to raise children and whether anyone else gets to have a significant role in the child’s life; who gets possession of homes and other property; who gets protective orders, and for how long; who pays the damages when someone is injured; etc. These decisions affect the litigants, their families, their neighborhoods, their schools, their workplaces, all of us. Circuit Judges also establish local court rules and appoint the Associate Judges for the Sixth Circuit.
2.) Why are you qualified to be a 6th Circuit Judge?
I earned my undergraduate degree and law degree from the University of Illinois. I have been a mother since 1995 and a lawyer since 1996. I was widowed young, and spent 10 years balancing the responsibilities of a single mother raising 2 young children with the responsibilities of a full-time attorney representing clients. My training, professional experience, and life experience have prepared me for the position, and my integrity and temperament make me an ideal candidate. My qualifications for the position of "judge" have been the subject of 4 judicial advisory polls, rated by lawyers, and 3 judicial evaluations, rated by committees appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. I have been "recommended" for judicial office in 4 out of 4 polls and found "well qualified" to serve as a Circuit Judge in 3 out of 3 evaluations. A judicial advisory poll is expected to occur for this vacancy, but results won't be available until late February.
3.) What areas of Law have you had substantial experience in?
I have been a legal aid lawyer handling high-volume caseloads for over 21 years. My work history from Land of Lincoln includes over 13 years of extensive courtroom experience with civil cases, including family law, child custody, divorce, orders of protection, guardianship, eviction, foreclosure, collections, and just about any legal problem that does not involve the risk of jail. My work history from the Public Defender's Office includes over 8 years of extensive courtroom experience with criminal law, representing adults and juveniles, abuse and neglect, traffic court, and just about any legal problem where a person is legally entitled to an attorney. I have handled thousands of cases involving domestic violence from every angle, representing victims seeking Orders of Protection or other relief in civil court, representing children and parents in juvenile abuse and neglect proceedings, and representing defendants in criminal and juvenile delinquency proceedings. During my 2 years in private practice, I handled criminal law, family law, estate planning and administration, and real estate. For many semesters, I taught law students at the University of Illinois about representing clients affected by domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and poverty law.
4.) Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter?
I went to law school to help people, and have committed my career to the principle that every person should have access to justice whether or not they can afford to hire an attorney. After devoting more than 20 years of my life as a legal aid attorney, I am certain that I could best serve the community and best serve that principle if I brought my perspective to the bench. I have applied for several judicial vacancies and have always been found qualified, but have never been considered for an appointment. Though I did not have political experience or political allies, I knew my only path to the bench was an election and I ran for judge in 2018. I challenged a sitting judge in a circuit-wide race in a predominantly republican circuit where no democratic candidate had run for the position since 1996. I spent over a year educating voters across the Sixth Judicial Circuit about what judges do and why judicial elections matter, all while balancing my life as a wife, mother, and full-time public defender. I won Champaign County by more than 11,000 votes, but fell short in the rest of the circuit and did not win the election. In 2020, I am seeking your vote for Resident Circuit Judge in Champaign County. You will not find a more qualified candidate, and you will not find a candidate who has worked harder or worked longer towards the goal of serving this community as Circuit Judge.