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DuPage County 18th Judicial Circuit (Anderson)

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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    Jeffrey M. Jacobson

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    Monique O'Toole

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?

My philosophy is to uphold the laws and to treat everyone fair. When I was an administrative law judge every person was given a fair hearing. The parties were given time to present their evidence. The parties were treated with respect. I believe that the parties deserved a decision that is well thought out and given quickly, but not rushed.

While there are several philosophies on how a judge decide cases, I believe that the Constitution is a living document and should be interpreted based on the facts now. For example, we have technology now that could not have been dreamed up at the time of the drafting of the United States Constitution.
I have spent my whole life volunteering for those less fortunate. I grew up in a family that could not afford attorneys. When is was a teenager, my mother was charged with DUI, despite her never drinking alcohol. She was forced to defend herself, so I worked persistently to learn the laws to help my mother. My mother and I showed up in court, and the judge dismissed the case against my mother. After passing the bar to be an attorney, I volunteered my time with Pro Bono Advocates. It was an organization that found attorneys to volunteer to help abused women with their divorce and order of protection cases. I volunteered for night court in DuPage, until they closed it down. I also volunteered for The Help Desk. Proper training for all in the justice system in sign language, Spanish, and communicating with minors should be instituted. Keeping costs down and budgeting more fairly between the public defenders and state attorney's offices would also greatly benefit our most vulnerable citizens.
Money to fund litigation is the greatest obstacle to litigation. I hear judges all the time stated that if the litigation continues that it will cost a substantial amount of money. In domestic relationship cases, judges are constantly reminding the parties of the substantial costs to litigate. Yet, the parties are in court because they could not settle. The court should be aware of its involvement in the cost of litigation and make every attempt within the bounds of being a judge, to reduce the cost of litigation.
My philosophy is to follow the law with fairness and impartiality.
The Illinois Supreme Court created an initiative about eight years ago to facilitate and enhance access to justice for all, particularly those who cannot afford an attorney. These initiatives are aimed at helping those who represent themselves navigate the legal system by providing user-friendly statewide court forms, language access through interpreters and other legal resources for self-represented litigants. The initiative also provides training for the judiciary, attorneys and court personnel in enhancing access to justice. The system is definitely not perfect, but it is improving.
Lack of awareness of legal rights, services and resources available to the most vulnerable citizens and lack of education in the legal community as a whole regarding access to justice.