Lawyers OK only 2 of 4 hopefuls
DANVILLE — Two of the four candidates running in 2014 for a Vermilion County circuit judge's opening were recommended by bar association members within the 5th Judicial Circuit, and two were not.
Karen E. Wall, a Democratic candidate for circuit judge, and Thomas M. O'Shaughnessy, the Republican candidate, were both recommended in the poll that's conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association. The other two candidates, both Democrats, Edwin C. Barney and Daniel D. Brown, were not recommended.
Wall, Barney and Brown will meet in the March primary, and the winner of that will meet O'Shaughnessy in the general election this fall.
This poll is conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association, which mails the questionnaire to all ISBA members in the circuit where the candidates are seeking election. The fifth judicial circuit includes Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Edgar and Vermilion counties. More than 200 ballots were mailed throughout the district. Licensed attorneys who are not members of ISBA can also request a ballot.
Attorneys are asked to rank the candidates in seven areas, integrity, impartiality, legal ability, temperament, court management, health and sensitivity. Then, they are asked to answer "yes" or "no" to the following question. "Considering the qualifications of this candidate, do you believe the candidate meets the acceptable requirements for the office?" Whether the judicial candidates are rated "recommended" or "not recommended" is based on the results of that question. Candidates receiving 65 percent or more "yes" responses receive a "recommended" rating and candidates who get less than 65 percent are rated "not recommended."
Slightly more than 85 percent said "yes" to whether Wall meets the requirements for the office, and slightly more than 85 percent said O'Shaughnessy also meets the requirements. About 62 percent said Dan Brown meets the requirements, and about 47 percent said Barney meets the requirements.
— Wall was rated over 95 percent in the areas of integrity, health and sensitivity, between 90 percent and 94 percent for impartiality, temperament and court management, and 83 percent for legal ability.
— O'Shaughnessy was rated just over 94 percent for integrity and health, between 85 percent and 88 percent for impartiality, legal ability, sensitivity and court management and 80 percent for temperament.
— Brown was rated between 84 percent and 89 percent for integrity, temperament, health and sensitivity, 79 percent for impartiality, 77 percent for legal ability and 35 percent for court management.
— Barney was rated 92 percent for health, 71 percent for sensitivity, between 59 percent and 62 percent for integrity, temperament and impartiality, and 46 percent for legal ability and 40 percent for court management.