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MOUNT CARROLL – Illinois State Bar Association members are recommending Carroll County voters choose 15th Judicial Circuit Associate Judge John “Jerry” Kane to replace retiring Circuit Judge Val Gunnarsson as the county’s resident judge.
Kane, 53, of Lake Carroll, was chosen to replace retiring John F. Joyce on Sept. 1, 2017. A Republican, Kane practiced with Leemon & Kane in Mount Carroll before his appointment.
Democratic attorney Betsy Shaulis, 44, also seeking the judgeship, is CEO of and practices law with her husband, Kipp Meyers, at Meyers & Shaulis, P.C. in Lanark. Before establishing the firm, she was an associate attorney in Galena and an assistant public defender in Jo Daviess County.
She has been president of the Carroll County Bar Association since 2013, and is a member of the Stephenson County Women’s Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Both are running unopposed in their party’s primary on March 17, and so automatically will advance to the general election on Nov. 3.
Gunnarsson, 64, told the state Supreme Court in June that he wouldn’t run again. Elected in 2002, and retained in 2008 and 2014, he will have served 18 years on the bench when his term expires on Dec. 7.
The Illinois State Bar Association polls its members in the circuit from which a candidate is seeking election, asking whether the candidate meets acceptable requirements of the office in qualities such as integrity, impartiality, and legal ability.
To earn a recommendation, the candidate must receive yes responses from 65% of respondents. In this case, there were 49 respondents to questions about Kane, and 48 to questions about Shaulis.
Kane was recommended by 93 percent of respondents; Shaulis by 30 percent.
The 15th Judicial Circuit covers Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Lee, and Stephenson counties; each county has one resident judge, who is required to be a resident of the county.
Associate judges are appointed; circuit judges are elected.