Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes seeks Illinois Supreme Court seat

‘It has always been my position that we as a society cannot put the Constitution on a shelf at any time,’ Shanes said.

A second Lake County judge is campaigning for a seat for the recently redrawn 2nd Supreme Court District.

Lake County Judge Daniel B. Shanes serves as the presiding judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit’s felony division and is the second Lake County judge to announce his candidacy for the Illinois Supreme Court seat. He will run as a Republican.

Earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly redrew the judicial maps, shrinking the 2nd District, which previously spanned 13 counties to just five. The 2nd District encompasses DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. Fellow Lake County Judge Elizabeth M. Rochford announced her own candidacy for the position on July 15.

Shanes first was selected as an associate judge in 2007 and later was elected to his current role as a circuit judge, where he hears both criminal felony and civil law cases.

“We hear the most serious of criminal cases, murder, rape, arson, drug trafficking, child abuse,” Shanes said. “I’ve been hearing those cases for over 10 years.”

Shanes also presides over cases involving medical malpractice claims and contract disputes among other civil matters, he said.

The judge received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and went on to earn his law degree from DePaul University College of Law, where he also served on the DePaul Law Review.

Before his judgeship, Shanes worked as an assistant state’s attorney and division chief for nearly 12 years. There, he became one of the lead prosecutors in child-sexual-predator and first-degree-murder cases, he said.

“Some of the cases that I’m most proud of were cases that involved the most vulnerable members of our society, particularly children, seniors and the disabled,” Shanes said.

Shanes also was a founding team member that created Lake County’s drug court program, and previously served as a judicial law clerk to Illinois Appellate Court Justice Justice Robert J. Steigmann. Recently, he had a hand in establishing the 19th Judicial Circuit’s COVID-19 procedures.

“I personally have presided over four jury trials in the pandemic in both serious felony and civil cases,” Shanes said. “... It has always been my position that we as a society cannot put the Constitution on a shelf at any time.”

The chair of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees, Shanes regularly serves as faculty for judicial education for judges and lawyers in Illinois, he said.

He additionally is a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College, providing judicial education to judges across the country and has served on the board of directors of both the Illinois Judges Association and Lake County Bar Association.

“I think those who appear in front of me know that I listen and consider their arguments, that I have an allegiance to the rule of law,” Shanes said. “So whatever their issue is, they know that I will hear them and that the law will be followed in whatever their case is, criminal or civil.”

Shanes also serves as vice-chaimanr of the Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases and is a member of the Judicial Conference of Illinois, as well as a certified new judge mentor.

Off the bench, Shanes has coached youth sports and served on the board of directors of a local homeless shelter and transitional living facility for women and children.

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

Katie has reported on the crime and courts beat for the Northwest Herald since 2017. She began her career with Shaw Media in 2015 at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, where she reported on the courts, city council, the local school board, and business.