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Judicial Independence Press Release October 2022

October 11, 2022 Press Conference on Judicial Independence

The Illinois Judges Association (IJA) launched a series of two-minute educational videos designed to inform the public about the roles and responsibilities of judges. View the videos by clicking on the below links.  These videos can also be found on IJA's YouTube page.

Becoming a Judge: How exactly are judges selected in Illinois?  Why do some judges appear on the ballot for election or retention, but others do not?  And, what qualities should we all expect from all our judges?  Learn the answer to these questions and other important facts about Illinois judges. (Featured Judges: Judge Debra Seaton, Cook County Circuit Court; Brian Barrett, 12th Judicial Circuit Court; and Amanda Byassee Gott, 1st Judicial Circuit Court) 

Setting Bond: After someone is arrested and charged with a crime, but before the case is set for trial, a judge must set bond conditions for the pre-trial release of the defendant.  The judge must consider dozens of factors to decide which bond conditions are the least restrictive conditions necessary to ensure the defendant appears for trial and does not commit new crimes awaiting trial.  By law, judges must first consider conditions other than cash bail.  So, how do judges set bond conditions and what sorts of non-cash conditions can judges impose?  (Featured Judges: Justice Mary Mikva, 1st District Appellate Court of Illinois; Judge Reginald Mathews, 19th Judicial Circuit Court; and Judge Victoria Kennison, 12th Judicial Circuit Court). 

Appeals & Reversals: One single judge never has the last word in any civil or criminal case in Illinois.  Every party has the automatic right to appeal any trial court’s final ruling if they believe mistakes were made.  So, how does the appeals process work, and why do rulings get reversed, in whole or in part, for reasons that have nothing to do with errors by the trial court judge?  (Featured Judges: Judge Ronda Holliman, 6th Judicial Circuit Court; Judge Veronica O’Malley, 19th Judicial Circuit Court; and Judge Israel Desierto, Cook County Circuit Court). 

Judicial Independence: Judges make up the third and co-equal branch of government.  But, what does it mean to have an independent judiciary that are duty-bound to serve without regard to outside influences or political affiliation?  And why is an independent judiciary important to you?  (Featured Judges: Justice Mary Jane Theis, Illinois Supreme Court; Judge Jorge Ortiz