NAME: John B. Barberis, Jr.
IMMEDIATE FAMILY: Wife: Laura; Daughters: Jessica and Jordan; Son: John
OCCUPATION: Madison County Circuit Judge
OFFICE SOUGHT: 5th Dist. Appellate Court (replacing Stewart)
PREVIOUS ELECTED POSITIONS: Madison County Circuit Judge, 2014-present
Q. Why are you running?
A. I feel the people of the 5th Appellate Court District which includes 37 counties deserve to have a Justice on the Appellate Court that is conservative and follows the Illinois and U.S. Constitutions and is untouched by outside influence from any political party or special interest groups. The 5th District Appellate Court has always been controlled by Judges who were supported by the large plaintiffs firms of Madison and St. Clair Counties. I became only the second republican to win a contested race for Circuit Judge in Madison County in over 100 years without the support of the Plaintiffs firms. I intend to bring common sense, legal ability and impartiality and overall integrity to the 5th District Appellate Court.
Q. Do you believe judges should be able resign in order to run for election, rather than retention? Why or why not?
A. Because this is an issue that could come before me as a judge I must respectfully refuse to answer this question but will say that the Illinois Constitution controls this issue and I would follow the Constitution in this matter as I would in any matter brought before me.
Q. Do you plan to serve your full term?
A. Yes. I am in excellent health and, at age 48, foresee no problem serving out a full 10 year term.
Q. 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?
A. Education at the earliest age is important. There are many great educational programs put on by area law enforcement agencies but more is needed. Enforcement of the current laws is essential as well as furthering treatment options for non-repeat and non-violent offenders.
Q. What is the biggest issue facing our court system, and how would you address it?
A. Crowded dockets in many parts of the District which extend the time needed to bring cases to closure. I believe this can be addressed by enforcing discovery deadlines and penalizing those litigants and attorneys who knowingly file frivolous lawsuits.
Q. Why should people vote for you?
A. I believe that I am the only candidate running for a seat on the 5th District Appellate Court who has not sought or been given an appointment to any judicial position. This is significant, I believe, because it removes any suspicion that I “owe” any party, individual or group any favors or allegiance other than the voters. I also believe that my 18 years of legal experience that includes work as a prosecutor, corporate attorney, municipal attorney, family law attorney and private attorney for injured people and businesses provides a very comprehensive base for having the knowledge and life experience needed to be an effective justice on the Appellate Court. Additionally, I would bring integrity, honesty, work ethic, impartiality, strict constitutional mindset, legal knowledge and ability, conservative values and life experience to the 5th District Appellate Court if elected.