This is the second of three stories about candidates running for judicial seats in the 2nd District, which includes DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. To read about the three Democrats running for the Illinois Supreme Court vacancy, click here.
Four Republicans, each with extensive careers in law, are campaigning to win the open seat on the Illinois Supreme Court this November, but they first must earn their party’s vote June 28.
The candidates are Kane County Circuit Court Trial Judge John A. Noverini, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel B. Shanes, Appellate Court Judge Susan F. Hutchinson and former Lake County Sheriff and congressional candidate Mark Curran. The winner of the June primary will go on to face the winner of the Democratic primary.
The Illinois State Board of Elections last week sustained objections to Curran and Hutchinson and removed their names from the ballot. Both candidates have asked for those decisions to be overturned by the courts. That process is ongoing.
John A. Noverini
With humility, ethics and a strong faith in God, Noverini said that if he’s elected he will continue ruling as an active listener, making sound legal decisions and not political decisions.
“My core values, principles and integrity have remained constant throughout my personal and professional life,” Noverini said. “The people want someone who listens and works for them. In addition, I believe I have the widest breadth and diversified professional and judicial experience, I practice what I preach, and teach others to live justly and ethically.”
His career includes time as an attorney in the banking world and 25 years in the private sector as an attorney in Elgin handling civil matters involving business, banking and residential and commercial law. He was elected as a trial judge in 2008 and retained in 2014 and 2020.
His time on the bench has involved serving in family, criminal, civil and specialty courtrooms.
Noverini, who has been married to Saray Rodriguez-Noverini for 25 years, also taught law, ethics, business and government at Judson University in Elgin for 14 years and American government at Triton College in River Grove.
Other life experiences include serving on the Elgin Salvation Army Board for 17 years, being a Republican precinct committeeman for 12 years and serving as chairman of the Dundee Township Republican Party for four years. He also sat on the Carpentersville Village Board and was twice elected to the Kane County Board.
If elected, Noverini said he will use wisdom, discernment and objectivity in making sound legal decisions and protecting the Constitution as it is written. He has a large, loving family and church family whom he cares for and fights for, and said if elected, he will serve with that same protective compassion.
Daniel B. Shanes
Shanes, a married father of four children and a “house full of dogs” said “no other candidate has my depth and breadth of judicial experience and leadership.”
His background includes an array of law experience, including criminal justice.
“In my 16th year of serving as a judge, I have presided over nearly every type of case,” he said. “During that time, I have presided over more than 120 civil and criminal jury trials. In addition, I have served as a presiding judge for more than 10 years, including now serving as the deputy chief judge of the circuit court.”
He worked as a judicial law clerk for Justice Robert J. Steigmann on the Illinois Appellate Court from 1993 to 1995, an assistant state’s attorney in Lake County from 1995 to 2007, an associate judge in Lake County from 2007 to 2010, and circuit judge in Lake County from 2010 to the present. Shanes presides over serious criminal felony and civil cases and serves as deputy chief judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Lake County.
Shanes said he serves in several roles of judicial leadership capacities. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Judicial College, vice chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases and is a member of the Illinois Judicial Conference.
For more than 12 years, Shanes said, he served as faculty for judicial educations throughout the state. He has taught judges across the U.S. as a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College since 2015 and has written more than 40 legal articles, several of which have been cited by the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court, he said.
If elected, he said, he hopes to bring to the Illinois Supreme Court three principals: equal justice under law as the basis for every ruling, the rule of law is essential for justice, and judicial independence and restraint.
“I have been heavily engaged in the administration of justice both in my home circuit and statewide for over a decade,” Shanes said. “The Illinois Supreme Court has called upon and entrusted me with the responsibility of leading within the judicial branch in a number of ways. Doing so was not only an honor, but I also found an aptitude and fulfillment.”
Susan F. Hutchinson
As the first woman appointed in 1981 to serve as an associate judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit, which at the time included McHenry and Lake counties, Hutchinson presided over family, criminal, juvenile, small claims and traffic matters. She hopes to take all the lessons learned in her 40-plus years as a judge, along with previous work in and around McHenry County, to the Illinois Supreme Court – a “most significant responsibility and challenge,” she said.
Hutchinson’s first introduction to the judicial system was at age 9, when she had to attend her parents’ divorce proceedings. This “difficult” situation led her to facilitate a group of lawyers in McHenry County to present a mediation program to about 30 family law lawyers and two judges, she said.
She wanted to bring in the mediation program so children did not have to be present in a courtroom while their parents were going through their proceedings. At times, she has supervised visitations when no one else could because she wants parents to see the importance in visitation, she said.
Her career includes being elected circuit judge in 1992, during which time she presided in family and criminal courts in McHenry County. In 1994, she was elected as an appellate court justice for the 2nd District and was retained in that role in 2004 and 2014.
She is married to Steven J. McArdle, a lawyer at Clark & McArdle in Crystal Lake. They have one adult son and two rescue dogs, Duke and Duchess.
Hutchinson, who earned her law degree from the DePaul University College of Law in 1977, said she has been a faculty participant teaching at various education programs for Illinois judges most of her time on the bench. She taught on topics such as judicial ethics, complex litigation and family law.
She also served on the Supreme Court Committee on Education and is a member of an advisory committee to the Illinois Judicial College.
She said she has struggled at times with sentencing men and women to lengthy prison sentences, calling those moments “truly difficult personal decisions.”
Hutchinson said she is “a good listener” and thinks it’s best if people can solve their own problems and not have to come before a judge who will make the decision for resolution for them.
She called herself a “quick student and learner” ready to “get down to work immediately.”
Curran is a former coroner, county, state and federal prosecutor and Lake County sheriff, who said if he wins the election, he will continue to fight for and defend liberty and the most vulnerable.
Curran, a married father of three grown sons and two dogs, said his wide range of past experiences – including both prosecuting people for murder and defending them as a public defender – makes him the strongest candidate for the job of an Illinois Supreme Court judge.
“Been there, done that, seen it all,” he said in an interview.
Curran’s career path includes working as a Lake County assistant state’s attorney from 1990 to 1998 and an assistant attorney general in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office from 1999 to 2002. During his time in the attorney general’s office, he also was designated as a special assistant U.S. attorney to help with federal criminal cases, he said.
Starting in 2002, Curran was an attorney in private practice and concentrated in civil and criminal litigation. He also served as a special conflict public defender and attorney for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
In 2006, Curran was elected the Lake County sheriff as a Democrat, a post he held until 2018. He later left the Democratic Party, citing the scandals of disgraced Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich in part for the decision and calling it a “matter of conscience.”
He has lobbied for immigration and prison reform, called for faith-based programming in prisons and spent a week in the Lake County Jail in 2008, which attracted national media attention.
“I believe in second chances for people,” he said. “Our society is too much of a scarlet letter – ‘Oh, he’s an ex-con, just write them off for the rest of their lives.’ ”
Curran, who said he thinks the rich need to pay more taxes and laws need to be created to protect the middle class, said he doesn’t follow one party’s dictates and pushed back on the notion that he’s a conservative.
“I am not a conservative,” Curran said. “I am a Catholic, I am pro-life. I am left in my party in immigration, in incarceration. My goal is to serve God, not to serve Democrats or Republicans. Neither party has a platform inspired by God.”
He is running for Illinois Supreme Court judge because he believes Christ wants him to run, he said. But, does God want him to win?
“I have no idea,” he said, adding that he isn’t concerned.