ISBA poll: retention of all judges on Knox Co. ballot recommended

With the elections around the corner, voters will see several questions on the board regarding the retention of judges in both the supreme and appellate courts as well as on the 9th Judicial Circuit.

While it may be easy for voters to find candidates that have platforms that align with their own personal beliefs, how do voters decide on which judges should be retained when the position is to be apolitical?

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluations Committee does a comprehensive evaluation process of candidates who are seeking retention at both the state’s highest courts.

Knox County voters will see the questions on if Thomas Kilbride should be retained for the Illinois Supreme Court and Mary McDade for the Appellate Court. The ISBA committee says: yes; both judges received the recommendation for retention.

The committee said that many, “of the individuals interviewed indicated that Justice Kilbride has been a leader in the transparency of courts by allowing cameras into courtrooms.” They say it was also reported that he has championed access to justice for all by expanding the legal process for low-income individuals and supported increasing funds for probation services.

Of McDade, the committee says that she is, “considered a sincere and intelligent judge who is known for her excellent judicial temperament and being well-versed in the law.” McDade is the first African American female elected to the Illinois Appellate Court outside of Cook County.

A poll of ISBA members questioned all candidates for retention on a number of questions, such as a judge’s legal ability, impartiality, integrity, and temperament, to help the public make an informed decision.

Voters in the 9th Judicial Circuit, which Knox County is a part of, will decide if Thomas B. Ewing and David L. Vancil Jr. get retained.

The ISBA poll found that both Ewing and Vancil be retained. Ewing received 49 responses while Vancil had 59.

To be recommended, a score of 65 is needed for the category of “Meets Requirements of Office,” to which Ewing received a 73.47 and Vancil achieved an 87.72.

Ewing received 49 responses while Vancil had 59. Judge Vancil received notably high scores in Temperament, Court Management, Health, and Integrity.

The poll also found that members recommend McDade and Killbride for retention as well.

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