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Kane County Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee Rates Judicial Candidates

                                              KANE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION EVALUATES
                                       CANDIDATES FOR CIRCUIT COURT JUDICIAL POSITIONS

The Kane County Bar Association recently completed its evaluation of the nine candidates for the circuit and appellate judicial vacancies in the Sixteenth and Twenty-third Judicial Circuits.  The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit includes Kane County.  The Twenty-third Judicial Circuit includes Kendall and DeKalb Counties.  The findings of the Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee, reported to the Chief Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, are as follows:

APPELLATE JUSTICE, SECOND DISTRICT
(To fill the vacancy of Justice John M. O’Malley)
Joseph E. Birkett, Republican                    Recommended

CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
(To fill the vacancy of the Honorable Michael J. Colwell, Resident Kane County)
John A. Barsanti, Republican                     Highly Recommended

CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, KANE COUNTY
(To fill additional judgeship A, Second Sub-Circuit)
John G. Dalton, Democrat                         Not Presently Recommended
John F. Hurlbut, Republican                       Recommended
John N. Walters, Republican                     Recommended

CIRCUIT COURT, TWENTY-THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, DeKALB COUNTY
(To fill the vacancy of the Honorable Kurt P. Klein, Resident DeKalb County)
Bill Brady, Republican                               Recommended
Ron Matekaitis, Democrat                         Recommended

CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, KENDALL COUNTY
(To fill the additional judgeship A, Kendall County)
Melissa S. Barnhart, Republican                Highly Recommended
David S. Kim, Republican                          Not Presently Recommended

                                                    THE JUDICIAL EVALUATION PROCESS

The Kane County Bar Association utilizes a twenty-one member Judicial Evaluation Committee, which includes members from each county represented in the Circuits.  The members of the committee are a diverse group of practicing lawyers.

The process used by the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Kane County Bar Association includes review of the questionnaires completed by the candidates, interviews with the candidates who participate, and inquiries of lawyers who have practiced with the candidates.  The Committee then discusses the qualifications of each candidate and a vote on each candidate is then taken by private ballot.  The criteria for Committee evaluation include the integrity, legal knowledge, legal ability, judicial temperament, diligence, punctuality, and professional experience of the candidate. 

The Committee members maintain a pledge of confidentiality that facilitates a forum for complete and frank discussion.  A “highly recommended” finding requires a 75% vote.  A “recommended” finding requires a 60% vote or more but less than 75%.  A Candidate is “not presently recommended” if the Candidate fails to receive sufficient votes to be “highly recommended”, “recommended”, or refuses to participate in the evaluation process.  If the total vote of Committee Members for a Candidate is a fraction, the number of votes shall be rounded to the nearest whole number.

The evaluation conducted by the KCBA Judicial Evaluation Committee is a personal interview process.  Kane County Bar Association members also participated in a joint poll with the Illinois State Bar Association.  The poll is an independent survey mailed to ISBA and KCBA members within the Sixteenth and Twenty-third Judicial Circuits.  The ISBA results were released in February.