- 2010 - August - 9th -

Ballot will include one contested judicial race

by Joe Wilhelm Jr.
Staff Writer

Voters will be choosing one new judge when they head to the polls in August.

Assistant State Attorney Sam Garrison and attorney Mark Hulsey III have qualified to run for the Group 25 Circuit Court seat that will be vacated when Judge William Wilkes retires. A total of 10 judges, both circuit and county courts, are running unopposed. Both Garrison and Hulsey submitted replies to three questions posed to them regarding the judicial election by the Daily Record.

Sam Garrison

Education - University of Illinois College of Law, J.D.
Admitted to the Bar - 2001
Employer - State Attorney’s Office
Age: 33

Why do you want to become a judge?

As a career prosecutor, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact Circuit Judges have on all aspects of our community. Judges are entrusted with incredible power that comes with an equally incredible responsibility to ensure that our community is kept safe, our Constitution protected, our families safeguarded, and disputes are resolved fairly, efficiently, and with absolute integrity.  To my mind there is no greater honor than to serve as a Circuit Judge.

What makes you qualified to be a judge?

A Circuit Judge must demonstrate a number of important character traits: integrity, legal ability, humility, a strong work ethic, an innate sense of fairness, the ability to listen, and the courage to make difficult decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions. While it’s always hard to talk about myself, I respectfully submit that my background, training, drive, experience, and temperament have uniquely equipped me for the responsibilities entrusted to the Judiciary.

What do you say to people who question the depth of your experience in the practice of law? (Admitted to the Bar in 2001 and reaching your ninth year in September)?

I believe experience is defined not by mere length of service, but what we do with the time we are given. Voters want responsible, fair, honest, intelligent, and hard-working judges. Whether they are 33 or 73 makes no difference.  I’m running on my record of courtroom experience as a prosecutor making the hard choices in some of the most serious and difficult situations imaginable. In doing so I’ve learned that my reputation developed over the years for professionalism and humility speaks louder than anything else. If the primary criticism of our campaign is the date on my birth certificate, I take that as proof we’ve made a pretty compelling case.

Mark Hulsey III

Education - George Mason University, J.D.
Admitted to the Bar - 1983
Employer - self-employed, Mark Hulsey III, P.A.
Age: 60

Why do you want to become a judge?

I was taught the value and obligation of public service from a very young age. It is part of my family’s heritage in this community that goes back three generations. Those same values inspired me to serve our country as an officer in the Army and they have inspired me in my community service here during the last three decades. They are a large part of what pushes me now to want to serve our community as a Circuit Court judge. I believe the expertise I would bring in the areas of family law, mediation, juveniles and child custody would be a strong complement to the experience we currently have on the bench in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

What makes you qualified to be a judge?

From my military service to three decades of legal and community service, my diverse life experiences have prepared me well. My legal experiences include all areas of civil litigation. I have specialized in family law as a lawyer, taught law at local colleges, served as a court-appointed child custody evaluator and am a certified family mediator. These experiences have given me the knowledge, understanding and humility that a judge must possess and discharge inside the courtroom.

What do you say to people who question your experience with criminal cases?

Criminal cases are an important part of the work our Circuit Court performs. Yet, they represent only one of the five important divisions and less than 24 percent of all the cases handled by the circuit each year. Sometimes overlooked is the long-term positive impact on crime that judges can have in legal areas where my professional focus has been for the last three decades: family law, juveniles and child custody. Our circuit enjoys a wealth of experienced judges who came to the bench with criminal prosecutorial experience. I believe it could greatly benefit from more judges with strong experience in legal areas where criminal behavior is often rooted.

Fourth Judicial Circuit unopposed races

Circuit Court

Group 8 - Haldane Taylor
Group 9 - Henry Davis
Group 20 - Mark Mahon
Group 23 - Jack Schemer
Group 26 - McCarthy “Mack” Crenshaw Jr.
Group 31 - Linda McCallum

County Court

Group 5 - John Moran
Group 6 - Russell Healey
Group 10 - Eleni Derke
Group 15 - Ronald Higbee



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