Name: Laninya A. Cason
Office seeking: Resident Circuit Judge, 20th Judicial Circuit-St. Clair County
City of residence: Belleville
Campaign website: judgecason.com
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running to serve the residents in this county the justice, equity, and non-partisan fairness that all citizens deserve when they utilize the court system. I have more judicial experience than my opponent and have presided over cases in all five counties in the 20th Judicial Circuit. The judicial poll numbers that my opposition relies upon to discredit my credibility are extremely flawed and biased. In 2003, when I was appointed to the bench, I was not recommended after serving only two months on the bench. When I was finally recommended, I switched political parties and the poll numbers plummeted to the depths of hell. Nevertheless, I continued to be an advocate for judicial independence and excellence in the judiciary. I was District Director 8 of the National Association of Women Judges, an organization dedicated to striking down discriminatory laws and practices, and confronting injustices and inequities in the communities that we serve. Politics has no place in the judiciary. I commit to the residents to be fair and impartial to all regardless of partisan interest.
What is your judicial philosophy? Justice and fairness for all.
If you were facing a Judicial Inquiry Board investigation, would you resign? Why or why not? It would depend on the severity and veracity of the accusations. If I knew that the allegations were false, I would defend myself at all costs to preserve my reputation and career. My opponent has disseminated information which I proclaim has placed me in a false light to the voters of St. Clair County to advance his political agenda. As a judge, he has an ethical duty not to misrepresent facts concerning me. This will be the subject of a Judicial Inquiry Board investigation since judges should not knowingly misrepresent facts concerning candidates. So, if false accusations are launched, it is within every person’s right to defend themselves.
What types of cases would you hope to work on and why? As an Associate Circuit Judge in St. Clair County for 12 years, I have handled all types of civil and criminal matters. My job is to serve the community in making certain that justice is administered according to the rule of law, and with the empathy and compassion that all human beings deserve. It doesn’t matter whether I am working the traffic docket or the felony docket, I will do my best to make the residents proud and deliver the type of unbiased judgments that the law requires.
The St. Clair County judiciary has been the source of some scandal in recent history. St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook, a Democrat, was convicted of heroin possession. St. Clair County Judge Ronald Duebbert, a Republican, faced sex and intimidation charges, but those were dismissed. What could you offer to the voters to ensure that you, if elected, would not bring more scrutiny to the bench? I do not engage in criminal activity, so the residents can be assured that I would not be a part of a drug scandal. I also don’t feel that mentioning Judge Duebbert in this question is appropriate since the charges against him were dismissed. In any event, the residents of St. Clair County deserve a hard-working public servant to administer unbiased and uncompromising justice. Through education and public service, I will continue contributing to the advancement of the judiciary, not the demise or undermining of it.