News - Joliet and Will County

Will County judicial candidates meet with voters

Daniel Rippy, (from left) Dinah Lennon-Archambeault, David Carlson, Daniel Kennedy, Sherri Hale and Diane Para are candidates for the three judicial vacancies in Will County. All six candidates attended a Will County Bar Association Forum Tuesday night in Joliet.

JOLIET – The six candidates for open judge positions in Will County met with voters Tuesday.

Since judicial campaigns restrict nominees from addressing specific legal issues or cases that could come before the court, the candidates related their experience and legal philosophy in seven-minute speeches at the Black Road library branch.

Daniel Rippy (R) and Sherri Hale (D) are running to replace retiring Judge Robert Livas in Subcircuit 1.

Rippy of Plainfield began as a Will County prosecutor in 2001 starting with misdemeanors and eventually moving to head narcotics prosecution. He left to become legal counsel for the state Senate judiciary committee before returning to local private practice.

“I’m humbled to have received bipartisan support for my campaign, but am also proud to say I’ve been recommended by my peers in the state bar association poll,” Rippy said.

Hale of Bolingbrook is an attorney in the Will County public defender’s felony division. She said she is a political outsider, but decided to run to offer voters a choice in representation.

“I think my campaign already shows progress [because] there’s never been a female nominee from the first subcircuit. I’m not afraid of hard work,” Hale said.

David Carlson (R) and Diane Para (D) are running in the newly created Subcircuit A.

Carlson of Plainfield is a former assistant Will County State’s Attorney and private defense lawyer who was appointed as an associate judge last year.

“Becoming a father has changed the way I look at life,” Carlson said. “When jurors come into the courthouse, we tell them ‘Don’t leave your experience outside,’ and I have the experience ... as a gatekeeper for justice.”

Para of Naperville has practiced law since 1988. She is prosecutor and legal counsel for the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which oversees licenses to practice in medicine and other fields.

“I have a diverse experience [from] encountering a high volume of cases. I’ve shown up everyday to work for 102 counties and now I want to bring that work to Will County,” Para said.

Dinah Lennon-Archambeault (R) and Daniel Kennedy (D) are running for Subcircuit 2.

Lennon-Archambeault of Joliet was a lawyer for 17 years and was appointed as an associate judge seven years ago. She has been reappointed each year to handle custody and visitation issues in family court and started the court’s “extern” program for law students to view real court proceedings.

“A judge is more than just presiding on the bench. A judge should make access to justice a priority for everyone and be involved [in the community] as a role model,” Lennon-Archambeault said.

Kennedy of Joliet has spent 28 years as an attorney and part-time public defender. He has argued three cases before the appellate court and worked hundreds of trials.

“The first thing they’ll have to fill [for the judicial vacancies] are the felony court call,” Kennedy said. “Longevity doesn’t always equal experience, but I’ve handled all kinds of cases and I can do the job.”