DuPage County 18th Judicial Circuit (O'Shea)
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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Richard D. Felice
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?
As trial judges, our task is to apply the law to the facts of each case. In order to properly adjudicate cases, we have to use our discretion to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and apply relevant and probative facts without emotion or prejudice.
Additionally, I would treat each person that comes before me with respect and fairness, and try to achieve a just result in each case.
In the area of civil law, we need more pro-bono work from our legal community. We also need to fund more not-for-profit organizations that provide free legal services to people who cannot afford legal representation. In the area of criminal justice, we need to fund the Public Defender's Office so that there are a sufficient number of public defenders who can represent the accused from the time they get arrested and bonded through to trial by a trier of fact.
We need more judges who have a diversity of legal experience and who are independent. Additionally, we need to diversify the judiciary so that it represents the people of the county it services. Furthermore, we need to balance public safety with individual liberty so that we can protect the public and at the same time protect the rights of the accused.
My general judicial philosophy is the need for procedural fairness in the administration of justice. It is critical that every person using the Court system appears before an experienced Judge dedicated to integrity, compassion, dignity, fairness and open mindedness for all parties that appear before the Court. It is important that the Court follows the rule of law and does not attempt to legislate or make policy decisions. It is important that each litigant feels that the Court has given them a fair opportunity to be heard so that they have confidence in the Court’s decision.
During my 40 years of practicing law, I tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases including felony cases and jury trials. I was the conflict attorney in the DuPage County Juvenile Court for over three years when the public defender had a conflict. I handled cases for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including minors and people of limited means. In my role as a Guardian ad Litem for families, seniors, people with disabilities I had an opportunity to deal with people in their most difficult times. As President of the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, I advanced various projects to provide access to justice for those citizens that needed legal services. As a delegate of the American Bar Association, I went to Washington to encourage further funding of the Legal Services Corporation to provide resources to legal aid organization. I served on the Supreme Court Rule Committee appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court and assisted in the preparation of uniform forms for litigants to increase their access to justice.
Certainly, one of the most obvious obstacles is to access the Court system. The Court process can be daunting and for many unaffordable. It is of the utmost importance and the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized the need for effective legal assistance to all citizens of Illinois. There have been various avenues that have now been opened to allow this to occur. As indicated the use of unified forms for self-represented litigants, the assistance for litigants through various organizations like Prairie State Legal Services, as well as the State and Local Bar Associations offering Pro Bono representation or limited means representation to litigants allowing them to access the system with a certain level of legal assistance.
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