An Interview with Judge Emily Sutton

Judge Emily Sutton, a lawyer and jurist with over 17 years of experience, is on the ballot this year to be formally elected to the seat that she was appointed to fill in August of 2019. Sutton received her Juris Doctor degree from the Saint Louis University School of Law in 2004 and she has held various jobs in the legal profession until she was appointed to the 9th Circuit Court to fill a vacated seat in August of 2019. Through the course of her career she has, in her words, “seen it all, I’ve either seen it as a lawyer or now as a judge”.

The 9th circuit covers Warren, Henderson, Hancock, Knox, McDonough, and Fulton counties, Sutton is running as an “at-large” Circuit Court judge, which means that she is running in all six counties at once. As Sutton described it, “Circuit Court judges in our circuit do everything” in her relatively brief time as a judge so far, Sutton has dealt with everything from orders of protection to adoptions to various misdemeanors, criminal cases, and warrants.

Sutton states that her “deep and broad level of experience” is very helpful to her work as a judge as she frequently needs to switch between criminal and civil cases as well as navigate all of the nuances within the two fields. Sutton went on to state that “If you think that criminal law is the only reason people come to the courtroom, that’s just not true” and that “people deserve to have their problems listened to by somebody who knows what they’re doing and somebody who can make those decisions based on knowing the law, knowing the real life consequences”.

Sutton points to her own colleagues’ overwhelmingly positive evaluation of her performance in the Illinois State Bar Associations Judicial Advisory Poll, alongside her wide and varied experience in the law as proof that she is the best fit for the job. In her final statement to voters in the interview, Sutton emphasized that “it’s important to get the right person in this job because whoever wins this election will be on the bench for the rest of his or her career most likely”.

Joseph Doner – Staff Writer

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