Judges from Kane, Lake counties face off for appellate court seat

  • Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles, left, and Lake County Judge Christopher Kennedy are set to face off for one open seat on the Illinois Second District Appellate Court this November.

    Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles, left, and Lake County Judge Christopher Kennedy are set to face off for one open seat on the Illinois Second District Appellate Court this November.

By Amanda Marrazzo
Shaw Local News Network
Updated 9/12/2022 4:08 PM

Two sitting judges -- a Democrat from Lake County and a Republican from Kane County -- are set to face off for an open seat on the Illinois Second District Appellate Court this November.

Lake County Judge Christopher Kennedy and Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles are vying for the vacant seat of Judge Michael Burke, a Republican who was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in March 2020 to fill a vacancy left by Judge Robert Thomas.


Based in Elgin, the Second District includes Kane, Lake, McHenry, DeKalb, and Kendall counties.

Kennedy, a Democrat, described himself as "diligent, considerate and persistent," with a diverse 25-year career as a defense attorney, prosecutor and judge.

Seeing all sides of many different types of matters has given Kennedy "perspective and a deep appreciation for the great breadth and diversity of the law and those affected by it," he said.

Clancy Boles, a Republican, also points to her experience as making her right for the job and because she is a "doer, not a talker" when it comes to running a courtroom.

"I have the greatest amount of experience, both substantively and procedurally throughout my almost 16 years on the bench," she said.

Boles said she has served in every courtroom throughout her career and "that combined with (her) leadership skills make (her) the right person" to fill the vacancy.

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Boles began her career as a civil litigator with Rooks, Pitts & Poust firm in Chicago, then became partner at Clancy Law Offices in St. Charles, where she worked for more than 17 years. She was appointed to the bench as an associate judge in 2007.

She said she has presided over a variety of jury trial courtrooms, including criminal, civil and juvenile, as well as specialty courts, such as drug and treatment alternative courts for cases involving mental illness.

Kennedy, who won the Democratic primary in June by defeating two other candidates, began working as a prosecutor in the Lake County State's Attorney's Office after passing the bar in 1994. While there, he tried numerous jury and bench trials, including violent felony cases.

After several years as a prosecutor, he went to a law firm in Chicago to try catastrophic personal injury cases. His experience includes defending verdicts on appeal, writing briefs and arguing before state appellate courts.


After forming a firm with a partner in 2004, he argued on cases defending clients involved in personal injury, wrongful termination and contract cases.

"I ... understand the challenges ordinary families face, including some of the most difficult, like supporting a child with special needs," Kennedy said. "As an appellate court judge, I will apply the law knowledgeably, correctly and fairly, without forgetting the people affected by our rulings."

Kennedy, a Libertyville resident and married father of three adult children, served on the board of the Autism Society of Illinois from 2003 to 2009, and volunteered as its legislative director. He has lobbied for laws helping those living with disabilities, ensuring they receive much-needed financial assistance and can afford medical care and medicine vital to live their lives, he said.

Boles, a Geneva resident and married mother of three adult children, is a co-creator of Worries of the World Wide Web, an in-school program for middle and high school students. The program focuses on the dangers and potential criminal repercussions of cyberbullying, electronic harassment and sexting. She has trained judges throughout the state and continues to present the program to schools, students and parents in the hopes of educating communities and encouraging students to make good decisions.

Both candidates were deemed "highly recommended" by the Illinois State Bar Association.

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