Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chicago Crusader issues endorsements in some Cook County judicial races

The Chicago Crusader has made endorsements in a number of Cook County judicial races. Here is a link to paper's endorsement page so you can read the paper's endorsements in all races.

I take the liberty of excerpting what the Crusader had to say about judicial races:
Illinois Appellate Court

Freddrenna M. Lyle (Gordon vacancy); Sharon Oden Johnson (Steele vacancy).

Circuit Court of Cook County

Bridget Anne Mitchell (Arnold vacancy); Kristal Rivers (Connors vacancy); Cynthia Y. Cobbs (McDonald vacancy); William B. Raines (Neville, Jr. vacancy); Andrea Michelle Buford (Hill Veal vacancy); and Diana Rosario (Reyes vacancy).

Cynthia Cobbs brings a unique skills set to the job. The incumbent circuit court judge has effectively and fairly dealt with those issues, such as debt collection, landlord tenant cases as well as alternative dispute resolutions that affect tens of thousands of county residents. Cobbs also has the unique perspective of having run the state Supreme Court administrative offices for nearly 10 years. The entire circuit court is strengthened by her presence.

Bridget Mitchell comes across as no-nonsense yet empathetic individual. The fact she comes from a labor union family and has the support of a diverse group of organizations from the oldest African-American bar association in the nation to grassroots political groups tells us she appreciates the varied backgrounds of the individuals who will appear before as a sitting judge. We also are impressed that she deftly balances the demands of motherhood with the rigors of a solid law practice.

Kristal Rivers is a newcomer to the world of campaigning but she has background, knowledge and an abundance of common sense to be an exceptional jurist. Rivers also brings a broad range of trial experience that will be beneficial to both defense and prosecution attorneys who appear before once she is on the bench.

William Raines has seen both sides of the courtroom having worked as a prosecutor as well as a defense attorney. He is a former cop, which translates into a clear understanding of the entire process from arrest to sentencing. At the same time, he does not appear to be one who will automatically take the word of his former colleagues over a defendant and witnesses.

Andrea Buford seeks to continue on the bench where she has applied a distinguished career as an attorney to the cases she has handled. Her even temperament is an outstanding counterbalance to the over-the-top as well severely sub-par behavior we see too often on the bench today.

Diana Rosario, like some of the others we are endorsing, presents multi-dimensional credentials to succeed as a judge. We are pleased someone with her background as an attorney for the city, former assistant state’s attorney and private practitioner is seeking a circuit court seat. She also will lessen the void of Hispanic judges at that level.

Freddrenna Lyle is a household name given her three terms as a South Side alderman. She has been able to seamlessly move from city council to her private law practice to the circuit court bench. The depth and breadth of that career track is invaluable. She has repeatedly demonstrated a toughness when necessary and always a fair application of the law.

Some of these races offer voters tough choices given the strengths of several candidates seeking the same seat. Mary Alice Melchor in the Circuit Court of Cook County race is such a candidate.

Steven G. Watkins, 2nd Subcircuit.

John S. Fotopoulos, 15th Subcircuit (Doody Jr. vacancy) and Michael B. Barrett, 15th Subcircuit (Sterba vacancy). Both of these men bring an attribute that is so often missing on the bench today understanding of the common person and the problems people who are not well-connected or high income endure. The kinds of individuals they have represented throughout their stellar legal careers mean they will bring compassionate dispositions to the bench, as looking cases based on the merits and not strictly on race as we so often see in courts across the country.

We also like the fact that both men are young enough that they can be a positive force in the their respective sub-circuits for several years.

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