Wednesday, February 12, 2014

James Patrick Crawley: In his own words

James Patrick Crawley is a candidate for the countywide Veal vacancy. His punch number is 161.

My name is James Patrick Crawley, and I am a Democratic candidate for Circuit Court Judge of Cook County (Veal vacancy).

I am asking the people of Cook County to vote for me in the upcoming Primary Election because I possess the skill, qualifications, temperament and integrity to meet the high standards demanded of this position.

The bedrock of our democracy demands judicial independence. I am running in this election because the people of Cook County deserve well-qualified judges who will impart justice based upon the rule of the law and not be swayed by political influences or the pressure of special interests.

With respect to my background, I am the youngest of three children raised in a working class family in Joliet. I graduated from Joliet Catholic High School and received my undergraduate degree from Loyola University of Chicago. While in college, I had the pleasure of working as an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon (D-IL).

I received my law degree from St. Louis University School of Law, where I served on Law Review. During law school I worked for the Federal Public Defender; a not-for-profit that provided legal services to the homeless; and served as an aide to Justice Myron H. Bright, Senior Justice for the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

I was among the first law students to work in the law school’s AIDS Legal Clinic, which provided legal services to people with AIDS at the height of the health crisis. Our small clinic challenged Missouri’s refusal to pay for the drug AZT for Medicaid patients dying of the disease. At the time, AZT was the only drug available to delay progression of the illness. Our case went all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which ordered the state to immediately begin paying for the drug.

I returned to Chicago after law school and continued my volunteer work in this area. In 1990, I was on the founding board of directors for AIDS Care, an organization, which built and operated a residential living facility for those living with the illness.

For much of the past 24 years, I have handled complex personal injury litigation on behalf of seriously injured persons and their families. In 2001, I started my own firm and handle litigation stemming from serious injury or death. My work includes construction accidents, unsafe or defective products, nursing home neglect, asbestos exposure, motor vehicle accidents and foodborne illness cases.

I have handled hundreds of cases over the years through all phases of litigation, including jury trials, arbitrations, and appeals. Several of my appeals have resulted in legal precedent that remains the law of this state to this day.

I am active in a number of bar associations, including the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, where I serve on the amicus curiae committee.

After conducting thorough investigations, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, Chicago Bar Association and ten other bar associations found me “recommended” or “qualified” to serve on the bench. The Chicago Bar Association committee said, James Crawley is “well-regarded for his dedication to the law and his integrity,” while the Chicago Council of Lawyers said, “Mr. Crawley has substantial experience doing more complex personal injury litigation. … He is praised as a solid litigator who is hard-working with a good temperament. He is considered to have good legal ability and is exceptionally knowledgeable.”

Throughout my adult life, I have attempted to give back to the community. I served on the board of directors for Jane Addams Hull House, which provided various services to lower-income individuals. I also served as a member of the Citizens Advisory Council to Chicago Police Department, which fostered better communication between the community and police. Given my past work in this area, I am particularly proud to have recently received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 7, Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association and the Cook County Sheriff’s FOP Lodge 4.

My other endorsements include the Chicago Fire Fighters Local 2; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 15; and the Italian American Political Coalition.

Having worked in courtrooms on an almost daily basis for the past 24 years, I have had the opportunity to appear before many excellent judges whose actions and temperament I would model as a judge. These judges know the law, and are fair, impartial and unbiased. They make their rulings based upon the rule of the law and are not swayed by outside influences. They share a common trait of treating everyone that comes before them with dignity and respect.

Everyday, judges make decisions that impact the lives of thousands of people on matters of life, liberty, family or property. Nothing is more fundamental to the administration of justice, in my opinion, than judicial independence. In other words, the application of our laws and Constitutional principles must never be influenced by politics, popular opinion or pressure from special interests. In running for judge this past year, I have been personally troubled by the deep influence of politics in judicial races.

I believe I possess an innate sense of fairness and the integrity to make difficult decisions. I have demonstrated in my work as an attorney over the years and as a former government employee in a management position that I can make tough decisions based on ethics and what is just. Throughout my professional career, I have always treated my opponents fairly, and I know that as a judge I would do the same for those that came before me.

Lastly, I believe that the best judiciary is one that reflects the demographics of the people it serves. I am the only LGBT candidate running countywide in any office this election cycle, and while this does not qualify me for bench, I believe that our society is enriched when our courts are guided by diverse, differing points of view.

In closing, I believe I possess the values and principles necessary for the job of Circuit Court Judge. I would be honored to receive to receive the support of the people of Cook County on Election Day.

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