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Four vie for two openings for full Lake County judges

Jeff Braiman candidate for judge. | Special for Sun-Times Media

Jeff Braiman candidate for judge. | Special for Sun-Times Media

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3rd Subcircuit

Parts of Libertyville, Fremont Township, Vernon Hills, Ela Township

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Updated: January 2, 2013 1:38AM

Two judge positions in the Third Judicial Subcircuit are up in Tuesday’s election. These judgeships were created by the state Supreme Court.

Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes is running as the Republican candidate against Jeffrey Braiman, the Democratic candidate for Judgeship A.

Associate Judge Nancy Waites is running as the Democratic candidate against Associate Judge Thomas Schippers, the Republican candidate for Judgeship B.

Circuit judges are elected to serve six-year terms. Associate judges are selected by circuit judges to serve four-year terms.

“Circuit judges are like a board of directors,” Shanes said. “How can we grow with the community to meet the needs of the community today and tomorrow? That’s what circuit judges get to do. That’s an exciting responsibility and a daunting task.”

Shanes was appointed circuit judge in 2010. He served as an associate judge from 2007 to 2010 and was a Lake County assistant state’s attorney from 1995 to 2007. He is currently assigned to the felony trial division. He said he wants to help decide systemic issues for the court and address how the court deals with its allocation of resources.

“It is a privilege to serve. The reason I am a judge is because of the tremendous honor to serve the community in this way to make our community a better place,” Shanes said.

He faces Buffalo Grove Village President Jeffrey Braiman. Braiman has practiced law for more than 35 years in a variety of areas, including criminal, real estate, corporate matters and bankruptcy. If elected, Braiman is prepared to step aside as Buffalo Grove president. He cannot hold both elected positions at once.

“I think what’s important is having a wide range of experience in various areas of the law,” Braiman said.

He was a Buffalo Grove trustee for 20 years before he became village president. He said he is interested in getting involved with some of the court’s “really good programs” such as drug court.

“I think my experience as a trustee and mayor administering the village could be a benefit to the 19th Judicial Circuit,” Braiman said.

Unlike the race for Judgeship A, no matter which candidate wins Judgeship B in the Third Subcircuit, both candidates will preside over a courtroom when the election is over.

That’s because Schippers has been an associate judge since 2007 and Waites has been an associate judge since 2005.

Schippers is in criminal court presiding over DUIs and misdemeanor offenses.

He said he wants to be involved with setting policy decisions for the court house.

“I want to move up. I want more responsibility,” Schippers said. “The specialty courts we have created (like drug and veteran’s court) are wonderful courts. It takes a lot of expertise. The whole purpose of specialty courts is to ... rehabilitate people ... I would like to be more involved in specialty courts.”

He said his motto is “common sense from the bench.” As an attorney, he worked in private practice and for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office..

Waites was a high school history teacher before she pursued her law degree. She has worked for both Cook County and Lake County State’s Attorney’s offices.

She also said she wants to have input into the programs and policies of the circuit court.

She is currently a judge in Park City dealing with traffic tickets, arbitration and some probate cases. She has presided over juvenile court.

“Truth be told, I’m qualified for this for a number of reasons. I’ve been a judge for eight years ... I think I have been doing a good job. The chief judges don’t hesitate to put me in spots where they need somebody ... I think I have a really good perspective on what goes in the Lake County judicial system,” Waites said.

She said she would like to see programs helping juveniles as younger kids to help them at the beginning of their problems.

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