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Lawyers evaluate judge candidates

WOODSTOCK – Attorneys rated 24 of their colleagues who are vying for two open judge positions, and the results are in.

Ballots were mailed to all Illinois State Bar Association members who practice in McHenry County, all McHenry County Bar Association members and other attorneys who requested a ballot.

Respondents were asked to answer “yes” or “no” to seven questions, such as whether the candidates adhere to the high standards of integrity and ethical conduct required of a judge. They also were asked whether they believe the candidate “meets acceptable requirements for the office.”

Norman D. Vinton, who is first assistant state’s attorney at the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, again scored the highest of the candidates in the overall question, with 80.28 percent of opinionated responses saying “yes.”

Vinton also had the highest rating to that question when he applied for judge about a year ago. Those spots ultimately were filled by Joel D. Berg and Kevin G. Costello.

Rounding out the top five to the overall question were Christopher Harmon with 76.4 percent, Robert Fetzner with 74 percent, Mark Facchini with 66.67 percent and Neil O. Anderson with 64.76 percent.

The bottom five in descending order were Anne K. Brophy with 27.16 percent, Kristen N. Foley with 20.69 percent, Mary E. McClellan with 18.92 percent, Robert T. Hanlon with 18.42 percent and Richard H. Jackson with 12.63 percent.

One candidate, Sally J. Zimmerman, did not have enough opinionated responses, meaning that fewer than 30 attorneys participating in the poll had sufficient knowledge to rate her, so her results were considered invalid.

One other candidate chose to withdraw.

The applicants will be interviewed and later voted on by each circuit judge.

The two judicial vacancies stem from retirements: Judge Joseph Condon and Judge Gerald M. Zopp.

Judge Gordon E. Graham has taken Condon’s place in a felony courtroom, and Judge Michael W. Feetterer moved into Graham’s previous position handling misdemeanor cases.

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