"I was fighting crime and corruption when my opponent was taking accordion lessons," Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber fired back after his Democratic challenger accused him of intimidating staff while he was state's attorney.
Dave Hylla, an Edwardsville plaintiff's attorney running against Weber for circuit judge, accused his opponent of intimidating his employees into contributing prescribed amounts of money to his re-election campaign in 1984.
Hylla said it would be a good idea to have a rule preventing judges from tapping court employees for campaign help.
Hylla claims two letters asking for "lugs," which are campaign contribution guidelines based on employee's salaries, were given to Weber's staff. They were prompted by the ire of Weber's lead prosecutor Zeke Smith, upset about meager $10 donations.
"I had no idea these letters were being given to anyone," Weber responded. "As soon as I heard of them, I ended it."
"Dave Hylla has his own ethical issues," Weber said citing Hylla's membership in the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
"He should have resigned before deciding to run for judge," he said.
"Dave Hylla was handling dogs running at large cases and parking tickets for the city of Madison while I was handling murder cases," Weber said.
Weber also noted that he was told to fire everybody in the State's Attorney's office when he was elected to office because they supported his opponent.
"I didn't though," Weber said. "Most of them got raises."
Weber was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created when Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis resigned in 2005.
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