Name: Kathryn Maloney Vahey
Current residence: Riverside
Current position: Cook County assistant public defender
Past legal experience: I have spent my entire legal career working as an assistant public defender
Campaign funds available, July 1 to Dec. 31: $73,081.32
Campaign funds spent, July 1 to Dec. 31: $11,327.23
Law school: Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 1998
Campaign website: vaheyforjudge.com
Family: Married with two sons, ages 10 and 12
Hobbies/interests: Watching my sons play basketball, water polo and competitive swimming. I also enjoy reading and cooking.
Have you ever run for office before? No, this is the first time that I have ever run for any office.
Why should voters support your candidacy?
For the last 19 years I have spent everyday in courtrooms defending the rights of individuals, including the mentally ill, veterans, juveniles, addicts, and the indigent accused of crimes. My experience working in courtrooms and observing judges in their roles has given me a great respect for the impact that judges have on peoples’ lives and it has prepared me for that role. For more information about my candidacy please visit vaheyforjudge.com.
Why do you want to be a judge?
I have always worked in public service, before law school as a caseworker and then as a career public defender. Now, after spending 19 years in courtrooms, I would like the chance to serve the public in another way. Judges make important decisions everyday that impact on peoples’ lives. I take that responsibility seriously and hope for the opportunity to serve the public from the bench.
What was the most interesting case you handled as a lawyer?
I tried a murder jury where the defendant had made a videotaped confession in a staged question and answer session after days of interrogation. The video taped confession did not match the physical evidence or the witness testimony. The defendant testified that he and the victim were friends and he explained how confused and tired he was during the interrogation and that he never killed his friend. The jury was out for 6 hours and came back with a verdict of not guilty.
What would you consider your greatest career accomplishment?
The most important work that I have done in my career was in the Problem Solving Courts, including Drug Treatment Court and Veterans Treatment Court. In those courtrooms I worked with addicts and veterans charged with crimes to help them become sober and get treatment for PTSD and other mental health issues. During my time in the Problem Solving Courts, we supported clients so that they could rehabilitate themselves and have better lives while not returning to the criminal justice system.
What qualities do you plan to bring to the bench?
As a public defender, I am appointed to represent clients who often mistrust the system and the lawyer that the system has provided for them. The qualities that I use everyday to garner my clients’ trust are the same qualities that would make me a good judge. I have to listen first, and then hear what my clients are saying, and what they are not saying. I also need to know the law and its application to my client’s case. I am decisive, knowledgeable and respectful.