Illinois State Bar Association members rank seven candidates for judge in Eighth Judicial Circuit

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Top row from left, Gabriel Grosboll, Jennifer Winking, Casey Schnack and Timothy Bass. Bottom row from left, Christopher Pratt, Andrew Mays and Jonathan Hoover.

QUINCY — Seven candidates for a judge vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit recently were rated in an advisory poll of lawyers conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association.

Ballots were sent to all ISBA members who practice or reside in the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The advisory poll was conducted by mail and electronically. Licensed Illinois attorneys who are not members of the ISBA or who are outside the circuit could have requested a ballot. The results of this poll are being released to the public at the request of Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White.

Opinions expressed in the poll are of those attorneys who chose to respond and do not reflect the opinion of the Illinois State Bar Association or the opinions of all Illinois attorneys.

Applicants considered for appointment to the judgeship are: 

  • Timothy A. Bass of Springfield, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois. He prosecuted the cases against three former Illinois Department of Corrections officers — Alex BantaTodd Sheffler and Willie Hedden — who were convicted of federal civil rights violations and obstruction charges in the beating death of inmate Larry Earvin, 65, at Western Illinois Correctional Center in May 2018.
  • Gabriel T. Grosboll of Petersburg, the state’s attorney in Menard County and the former general counsel for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
  • Jonathan S. Hoover of Quincy, a partner with the firm of Lemon, Matchett and Hoover in Hannibal, Mo. Hoover previously worked for Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu and Mitchell in Quincy. He also is a professor at Quincy University.
  • Andrew O. Mays of Quincy, an attorney at Mays Law Office since January 2018. He previously was an attorney for Hauk & Owens, LLC, and Mays, Walden & Anastas, P.C.
  • Christopher W.B. Pratt of Quincy, who was named interim chief public defender in Adams County in February and had the interim tag removed April 1. He has been with the public defender’s office since 2016. He previously worked for seven years for Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu and Mitchell.
  • Casey J. Schnack of Quincy, an attorney at Schnack Law Offices, P.C., for 13 years.
  • Jennifer A. Winking of Quincy, an assistant general counsel for the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission. She previously was the director of human resources and risk management for the city of Quincy for nine months and assistant professor of legal studies at Culver-Stockton College for two years. She was a partner for 25 years at Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Siebers and Duesterhaus.

Attorneys were asked to respond only if they had sufficient knowledge about the candidate’s qualifications for judicial office to give a fair, informed opinion.

The following questions were asked:

In your opinion, with respect to this judicial office and in off-the-bench conduct affecting the judicial office, will the candidate:

  • Integrity: Adhere to the high standards of integrity and ethical conduct required of the office?
  • Impartiality: Act and rule impartially and free of any predisposition or improper influence?
  • Legal Ability: Have adequate legal experience, knowledge and ability?
  • Temperament: Exercise the appropriate temperament with courtesy, consideration, firmness, fairness, patience, and dignity?
  • Court Management: Attend to all professional responsibilities including the management of cases/clients, and complete work in a prompt and skillful manner?
  • Health: Have the physical, mental and emotional health, stamina and stability needed to perform judicial duties?
  • Sensitivity to Diversity and Bias: Conduct self and deal with others appropriately to reduce or eliminate conduct or words which manifest bias based on race, gender, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or socio-economic status against parties, witnesses, counsel, or others?
  • Meets Requirements of Office: Considering the qualifications of the candidate, do you believe this candidate meets acceptable requirements for the office?

The screening committee consists of non-lawyers and lawyers who live in the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The non-lawyer members of the committee are Nicole Kopec, Lee Lindsay, Stacey Juilfs and Eric Sieck. The lawyer members of the committee are attorney Hal Oakley and retired judges Diane Lagoski and Scott Butler. Lagoski is chairperson of the committee. 

Josh Jones previously was a candidate, but he was appointed last week to fill the associate circuit judge position that will be created with the retirement of Judge Debra Wellborn in July. Jones withdrew his name from consideration for this post.

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