What makes a Judge?

The Seventh Circuit has earned a reputation for exceptional trial judges.  All my life, this Circuit has been blessed with dedicated jurists, men and women I have known.  They have served as my role models and mentors.  Following in their footsteps, I will dedicate myself to the work, to the office, and to the people of this community.

Since I was a young boy, it has been my desire to earn a judicial seat in this community. This is my home and I have a vested interest in its future.  To that end, every day of my career has focused on learning to serve the needs of our citizens and working to improve our quality of life.  As a prosecutor, I have helped thousands of innocent victims while offering a fair and just result for criminal defendants. 

Over the past twelve years I have personally handled more than 10,000 criminal cases and amassed a nearly flawless trial record.  I have conducted 67 criminal jury trials and lost only six.  Since coming to the State Attorney’s Homicide Unit in 2010, I have not lost a case.  Overall, I have a conviction rate greater than 91%. 

When evaluating judicial candidates, one of the most important considerations should be litigation experience. As a prosecutor, I have spent the majority of my career in the courtroom.  I have presented and cross-examined experts of every discipline hundreds of times.  I have wrestled with the evidence code and exhaustively argued all points of procedure.  I have successfully litigated at the highest level of the criminal practice, arguing against child molesters, murderers, and thieves who threaten the safety of our homes and the sanctity of our community. Virtually all of my cases have been appealed; only one conviction has been overturned.

As a judge, I will strive to deliver the same quality workmanship that I have provided in practice.  Success in the courtroom is driven by careful attention to detail and meticulous preparation.  No doubt, a judicial position will require the same hard work that has generated success in my current role. 

Though the greatest part of my career as a litigator has been in criminal prosecution, I spent a year drafting and negotiating contracts for the extraction of oil and gas in the civil realm. During that time, I gained experience in real property, contract, and probate law.  Since joining the Office of the State Attorney, I have also frequently appeared in civil cases related to pending criminal matters.  Nearly all criminal cases have a component of mental health and drug addiction.  Juvenile delinquency often involves juvenile dependency and family law.  Sex crimes expand to the involuntary civil commitment of predators.  Homicide routinely brings questions regarding probate estates. 

As a senior litigator, it has been a pleasure to travel the state and appear before many courts. Every appearance was a chance to observe the many ways that judges conduct business and handle the affairs of court. If given the opportunity, I would continue to study the work of my colleagues and accept the example of practiced jurists to better serve the needs of this community.

I have lived my life according to a code that recognizes that hard work and preparation will be rewarded; that perseverance and dedication will always make a difference; that a strong moral compass will steer you to your destination.  These are the characteristics of a life well-lived.  But they are also the hallmarks of a qualified candidate for a judicial office. 

If elected, I will always give attorneys and litigants an opportunity to be fully and fairly heard.  I will treat each person with respect and dignity.  And I will never place a premium on form over substance.  Our citizens are entitled to consistent, reliable, and predictable outcomes that are generated through an adherence to precedent. I will be mindful of the cost to the public of appearing in court.  Whether it’s time or money, people make a significant sacrifice to appear before the court and should always be respected. 

It has always been my belief that a trial attorney is great because he or she is well prepared.  If elected by the people of the 7th Circuit, I will give the same effort from the bench that I have given to being a litigator.  The people of this community deserve hard-working public servants and it would be my honor to serve them.

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