Name: Laninya A. Cason
Immediate family members: Dr. Karen A. Cason, Bailey Cason
Office sought: Circuit Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County
Party affiliation: Republican
Previous elected positions and years served: N/A
Why are you running?: I am running to complete my judicial career. I have many more years of service to St. Clair County as a Judge and the residents deserve a hard working public servant to administer unbiased and uncompromising justice and fairness.
Do you believe judges should be able resign in order to run for election, rather than retention? Why or why not?: No. It is not the intent of the drafters of the Illinois Constitution. The intent is for Circuit judges to receive at least 60% of voter approval every 6 years in a retention election in order to keep their positions. In this county, the judges obviously did not believe that they could pass muster with voters to receive 60% “yes” votes in a retention election so they resigned and are now running for their own spots again so they can keep their jobs by a simple majority. What?! This is political gamesmanship and desperation at its finest and is quite frankly unbecoming of a judicial officer. The judges have essentially undermined the will of the electorate and are trying to strong arm their way back onto the bench. If you resign...resign...go home, bet on horses and stop gambling with the lives and livelihoods of the residents of this county.
Do you plan to serve your full term?: Yes
There’s an opioid and drug abuse problem in the area. How should law enforcement approach the issue to stem the tide of drug abuse?: There should be a strengthening of prescription drug monitoring programs first of all. There should also be stiffer penalties for individuals and institutions responsible for the trafficking of heroin and fentanyl. Law enforcement should also be instrumental in assisting individuals who have overdosed or who otherwise seek guidance by directing them to treatment programs. The treatment needs of individuals with opioid use disorders who enter the criminal justice system should be addressed by examining the best practices for residential substance abuse treatment programs.
What is the biggest issue facing our court system, and how would you address it?: Judicial Independence. The judiciary is a separate branch of government and should not be influenced by other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. Politics has no place in the judiciary. The mere fact that judges are resigning from their posts and then running to get elected to their same positions to increase their chances of remaining a judge is a red flag that politics, greed and power has infiltrated our judiciary. I worked hard as an Associate Circuit Judge for 12 years and look forward to serving the residents of St. Clair County as a Circuit Judge with honesty, integrity and free from political influence.
Why should people vote for you?: I am the best candidate for the position. I have the requisite judicial experience to be an effective and impactful Circuit Judge. St. Clair County needs judges that make rulings free from partisan interests so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary be preserved. I will humbly serve the residents to ensure justice and fairness for all. My opponent resigned. The residents of St. Clair County should indeed respect his resignation and elect me to the position of Circuit Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County.