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Primary race pits judge against attorney

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 12:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 10:40 p.m. CDT

An Aurora attorney is running against a judge for the Republican nomination for the “New Judgeship A” seat in the 3rd Subcircuit of the 16th Judicial Circuit.

Kane County Circuit Court Judge James Hallock, 62, is running against Aurora attorney David Howard, 49, for the seat in the March 18 primary. Hallock was appointed as a new circuit felony judge in 2012, replacing retiring Judge Timothy O. Sheldon.

Hallock has served as a judge in the county since 1992, when he was appointed as an associate judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

“With my 22 years experience, that certainly gives me the edge over someone who’s never had the experience,” Hallock said.

One of Hallock’s goals is for the automation and computerization of court records.

“If things are automated and computerized, first off, there’s a big benefit for storage,” he said. “And then everyone can read the court orders. It’s one of the things that I would like to focus on. Certainly, automation is going to be the future. We’re not going backwards to carbon paper.”

The Kane County Bar Association’s judicial evaluation committee gave Hallock a highly recommended rating while not recommending Howard.

“I’m very happy to have that recommendation,” Hallock said. “It is like a peer review.”

Howard, a sixth-generation Republican, said that he has 23 years of experience practicing law.

“The reason why I decided to run was that judges are some of the most visible members to the public of government,” he said. “The judge has an important role. The judge’s role is to make sure that people are treated like citizens as opposed to subjects.”

Howard said if people have a bad experience, such as in traffic court, “it’s going to color your perception of the government.” While campaigning, Howard said he has found people to be “seemingly disillusioned with the government.”

“It comes down to people believing in the rule of the law and the system,” he said. “It’s something that a lot of countries don’t have.”

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