SPRINGFIELD - Oral arguments in a challenge to the candidacies of St. Clair County circuit judges John Baricevic, Robert LeChien and Robert Haida will be heard at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield.
At issue is whether the judges have the option of running for election over retention. The three judges resigned last August, effective this Dec. 4, creating vacancies they intend to fill through partisan competition in the fall.
St. Louis attorney Aaron Weishaar represents Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook, who objected to the judges' petitions to run for election, arguing that state statute requires sitting judges seeking successive terms to run for retention on non-partisan ballots.
The judges are represented by Chicago attorney Michael Kasper, who has so far maintained their viability as candidates before election officials as well as Sangamon County associate Judge Esteban Sanchez.
At a hearing in February, Sanchez found that the word “may” in a sentence contained in Article 6 Section 12 of the Illinois Constitution - stating that a judge may stand for retention - meant that the judges might also choose election. His ruling was appealed by Cook to the Fourth District Appellate Court.