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DuPage County 18th Judicial Circuit (Bakalis)

The State of Illinois is divided into 22 Judicial Circuits. Each Judicial Circuit is comprised of one or more contiguous counties. Circuit Courts, also known as trial courts, are established within each judicial circuit. The Circuit Court is a court of general jurisdiction, which means it has original jurisdiction in all matters except those limited cases in which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction. The trial courts hear a wide variety of civil and criminal cases, ranging from small claim actions to domestic relations to criminal felonies. View a map of the Illinois Judicial CircuitsReview the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Advisory Poll for their ratings of judicial candidates (to view Poll, right click link to open in new tab).

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  • Candidate picture

    Margaret "Peggy" O'Connell

  • Candidate picture

    James F. McCluskey

Biographical Information

What is your general judicial philosophy?

What can be done to provide adequate access to legal help and to the legal system for all citizens, especially for our most vulnerable citizens; minors, poor, the homeless, and the mentally ill?

What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice?

I believe that all litigants appearing before the Court must be properly represented regardless of their economic status. It is important to inform all litigants of their options prior to proceeding with the court process. It is imperative that the Judges in our County preside with empathy and good temperament.
We must encourage private attorneys to engage in more pro bono services. Also, all Judges should support our diversion programs regarding drug addiction, mental illness and Veteran's. Lastly, I believe that Du Page should reinstate the "Night Court" for family law cases that allows parties who have an agreement to have the assistance of volunteer attorneys after hours to get their paperwork processed.
Economic barriers. We must provide for those less advantaged to have equal access to the judicial system.
My general judicial philosophy is to be fair and open minded to all parties and litigants who appear before me. It is most important to follow the rule of law and not to legislate from the bench but, listen to the facts and apply the law as written to reach a fair and just decision.
During my time as President of the 30,000 member Illinois State Bar Association, I worked tirelessly to provide access to justice for those citizens who needed legal services but could not afford them. On behalf of the lawyers of the State of Illinois, I met with Congressional Leaders from Illinois including but not limited to Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth. The Legal Services Corporation, a national organization providing resources for legal aid organizations in the United States, requested that I speak on behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association to seek funding. Currently, I sit in Eviction Court in DuPage County. Further, both the Prairie State Legal Services and DuPage County Bar Association are invaluable in assisting me in court daily to provide legal services to the underprivileged citizens of DuPage County.
The greatest obstacle to justice is that the court process can be very expensive and cumbersome. It is imperative that all bar associations within the State of Illinois and the judiciary work together to provide effective legal assistance to all citizens in the State of Illinois.