Second Circuit has a huge job ahead of it tomorrow (election day): JUDGES
For what it's worth, we're going to take a look at the judicial candidates, at least those in the Second Circuit, who are on the ballot tomorrow and who happened to have been recently rated in the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)'s poll.
We generally make fun of the ISBA poll, as it is a poll BY attorneys FOR attorneys who want to wear the big black dress, and most of the time, the attorneys who are selected to handle the issuing of ballots and other organizational duties,and who receive the ballots and make their "recommendations," are hardly qualified to impose their assessments and opinions on the general public...who are ultimately the ones to make the decision as to who will judge them for the next six years. In the past, such non-luminaries as Morris "Lame" Harvey of Mt. Vernon have been on the poll's operating staff; and of course, since he's never been able to attain an elected office, and because he tends to take on the most hideous of cases in southern Illinois, we can hardly rely on his opinion. We're not sure he's on the organizing staff this year as in years past, but we figured that would be a good heads-up for you to be aware of as you read the poll's results; and that's all the attention we're going to give to the polls; we'll let you decide whether the numbers are of any importance to you or not.
This year, in the Second Judicial Circuit (wherein lies the majority of Disclosure's coverage area; we didn't start out with the plan for it to be that way, it just happened), there are numerous contenders for a couple of vacancies created by the retirements of three judges: Former chief judge Kyle VanTrease, Terry Gamber, and Tom Sutton. Unfortunately for the Second Circuit, these were three of the finest judges we had. We've worked several cases over the years that these judges sat on, and their performance was always above reproach. Ang became particularly fond of Gamber when she was working in Mt. Vernon and observed his ongoing, genuine concern for both the law and those convicted of infractions of it, something that was endemic in Jefferson County as they have had an inordinate amount of gang crimes including murder thanks to the prison in Ina drawing in riffraff from all over the state.
Seeking to replace Gamber are Jefferson County-based attorneys L. James Hanson, David L. Piercy and Jo Beth Weber on the Democratic ticket, and Nicole Villani running unchallenged on the Republican ticket.
We don't know Piercy or Weber. We do know Hanson and think the world of him. He'd make a GREAT judge, in our educated opinion, because he's immensely intelligent, has a perfect temperament for staying fair and level, as we expect our judges to be, and is just an all-round good guy. We need more people like him on the bench. EVERYWHERE.
The winner of tomorrow's Primary race will go up against Nicole Villani in November, and Villani was appointed to Gamber's position when Gamber retired here recently....and with good reason. Villani is ALSO intelligent, fair, level and was just a perfect fit. She'll be hard to beat in the big contest.
Those in Jefferson County will be the only ones voting for the attorneys seeking Gamber's seat, as it's a resident judge position.
Running for VanTrease's seat---which is a circuit-wide decision and will encompass all 12 counties in the 2nd---are a complete slate of Democrats; not a Republican among them: Eric Dirnbeck, Steve Swofford, Paula Newcomb, TJ Parrish, and Kent Renshaw.
We've had a lot of complaints issued about Renshaw. Now, bear in mind, we don't know the guy, have never watched him in the courtroom....but the complaints we have about him are kind of...enormous. And there's no doubt the person issuing those complaints has more than just a bone to pick with Renshaw...there's probably something deep-seated going on in the background...but it's nevertheless interesting. In particular, the complainer states that Renshaw is driving about the countryside at his job in a vehicle with "TRL ATTY" vanity plates...yet when he campaigns, he hops in a beat up truck and claims he knows what we bourgeoisie endure (at the hands of...lawyers, maybe? I can tell you if it weren't for the existence of certain lawyers, I'd have my house paid for and would be able to take a vacation more frequently than every four or five years). He calls it "walking in our shoes" in TV ads.....which he's really swamping the area with. And then there's Renshaw's association with ol Hot Rod Blagojevich. Not a good thing, for sure.
As for the rest, we happen to like Newcomb (who has been a civil rights-type attorney in many cases we've followed, as well as a strong criminal defense attorney),Parrish and Dirnbeck. If we had to choose, it'd be Dirnbeck. From the cases we've followed, that boy appears to be sharp as a tack....and the Second Circuit needs that in an at-large judge.
Those are the only contested races for tomorrow in the Second Circuit....keep checking back with us for more pre-election information if we can get to it!!
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