Jeffrey Braiman: Candidate Profile
19th Circuit, 3rd Subcircuit (Seat A) (Democrat)
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Buffalo Grove
Office sought: 19th Circuit, 3rd Subcircuit (Seat A)
Family: Married to Susan, a Special Education teacher in School District #102; Three children - Nina age 29, Michael, age 29 and Mara, age 24.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Drake University, 1974 Doctor of Jurisprudence from John Marshall Law School, 1977.
Civic involvement: Route 53 Advisory Commission 2011 - 2012 Northwest Municipal Conference Legislative Committee 1999 - 2007, 2011 - present Buffalo Grove Plan Commission 1989 - 1991 Buffalo Grove Zonong Board of Appeals 1986 - 1989 Buffalo Grove Transportation Commission 1985 - 1986 Aptakisic Tripp School District #102 Long Range Planning Commission Congregation Beth Am Long Range Planning Committee
Elected offices held: Buffalo Grove Village President 2011 - present Buffalo Grove VillagePresident Pro Tem 2007-2011 Buffalo Grove Trustee 1991 - 2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
In a Judicial Election there can be no "issues" therefore I would refer to the answers to the editor's questions below.
Key Issue 2
Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
Do you favor the appointment of judges or do you prefer the election process? Please explain your answer.
Both the appointment of judges and the election process of choosing judges are flawed. While the appointment process will theoretically choose competent jurists by fellow attorneys who have knowledge of the legal process and most likely personal knowledge of the candidate, in reality, the process can become extremely political. Unfortunately, those making the decisions may have their own agendas and favor candidates with whom they are most familiar. The electoral process allows the candidates to be vetted by the public and is much more likely to be open and transparent. However, the very nature of elections makes the process extremely political for a position that should avoid politics at all cost. In any event, the election of judges should not be partisan ? party politics should not be a condition of serving as a jurist. Some hybrid process needs to be developed to join the benefits of the appointment and election processes while avoiding the politics that unfortunately plays an important role in the current methods.
What special qualifications or experiences make you the best person to serve as a judge?
Over the past 34 years of legal practice I have gained the necessary tools to be an effective jurist ?legal competence, experience, temperament, integrity, and a commitment to public service. I began my legal career in a high volume civil litigation practice within the greater metropolitan Chicago area. The practice involved not only civil litigation of all types, but additionally included exposure to numerous disciplines within the law, including but not limited to domestic relations, criminal defense, real estate transactions, corporate matters, and bankruptcy cases. Eventually, I began my own practice which included many if not all of the matters described above. Throughout my years as a practitioner I have represented clients in all areas of the law and in various perspectives. I understand the nature of the law and litigation. I understand how to manage a practice and manage litigation. I have learned and understand the needs of the litigant and the importance of understanding their unique perspective. I believe the most effective judges are those who have extensive practical experience in areas throughout the law. As a result, I have gained the insights and knowledge to be an effective jurist. Included in the criteria for a jurist is integrity, temperament, and a commitment to public service. I have demonstrated throughout my 34 years of practice along with over 25 years of public service that my integrity is beyond reproach. I have been fortunate to be involved in public service for over 25 years, beginning with service to the Village of Buffalo Grove as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commissioner, Village Trustee for over 20 years, and currently as the Village President. It has been a long standing belief that service above self is most important. I have learned much from my years in the public eye. The political process is not much different from the legal process. It is the determination of making authoritative decisions within an environment of conflicting interests, desires, and resources. I have demonstrated throughout my public life as well as private practice the ability to effectively lead and make difficult decisions. While some may not necessarily agree with all of my decisions, I have learned that by carefully explaining the rationale behind those decisions most individuals will accept and appreciate my position. This similar process is vital to Judges, as well. It is not sufficient to merely rule, it is just as important to explain the reasoning behind the decision in order to insure compliance. It is imperative that members of the judiciary be fair, well reasoned and understand not merely the law, but how the application of the law impacts the parties before the bench. Over the past 34 years of private practice and public service I have gained these important traits which will serve me well in the judicial forum.
What are your thoughts on mandatory sentencing? Do you believe judges should have greater leeway when it comes to sentencing defendants? Why or why not?
While mandatory sentencing has theoretical benefits, including, but not limited to consistency of sentences and avoidance of forum or judge shopping, I believe that judges need to have discretion in the sentencing process. No two cases are the same - no two defendants are the same. Numerous circumstances must be weighed when dealing with individuals and crimes. Sentencing should not be imposed by rote. If the purpose of imposing a sentence is merely to punish the individual, then strict guidelines may be appropriate. However, if the goal is to reform the behavior and rehabilitate the offender, the sentence must be tailored to best benefit the individual and serve the overall purpose.
What are your thoughts on the use of drug courts, domestic violence courts, veterans courts, mental health courts and prostitution courts? Have they been effective?
Specialized courts have yielded great benefits to all components within the judicial process. The specialized courts, such as domestic violence court and drug court may serve to identify particular and individualized concerns regarding litigants. The process can use professionals assigned to the specialized courts or whom the courts can utilize to modify existing behaviors thereby avoiding recidivism and creating a more positive environment for the litigant, thereby not only benefiting the litigant, but the community at large, as well.
Do you support eliminating the ban on cameras and recording devices in Illinois courtrooms? Why or why not?
Approximately 18 years ago, as a Village Trustee for the Village of Buffalo Grove I was intimately involved in the decision to televise Village Board meetings. I am proud to claim Buffalo Grove was one of the first municipalities to routinely televise public meetings. This process has been extremely beneficial to the community by keeping the decision making process transparent. The feedback received from citizens who view meetings has been critical in decisions made by the Board. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court lifted the ban on cameras and recording devices in courtrooms. I strongly approve of that decision. I believe citizens have the right to see for themselves the judicial process. The public will be better able to make decisions regarding the necessity the passage of laws and of the imposition of penalties. Further, if judges continue to be elected or retained, the process will be better served with a more informed public. However, the process should not be allowed globally. The rights of individuals, including witnesses need to be protected. Not all types of cases need to be televised or recorded. Strict, but reasonable standards need to be created to avoid potential abuse.