My first job after college was with the Task Force on Family Violence in Milwaukee, a non-profit organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence. I listened to the victims’ intimate, gut-wrenching stories and helped walk them through the legal process. At the hearings, I would sit with them and their families to provide moral support. During that process, I would observe the judges, and I quickly recognized how important they were, not only to the legal system but also to the individuals that appeared before them.
Their decisions could help break the cycle of violence for both the victim and the perpetrator. On top of that, the judge’s willingness to listen and understand the situation of the person appearing before them was instrumental to the victim’s belief that the court system–and, ultimately, justice–was accessible. These experiences confirmed that I wanted to go to law school and, one day, sit as a judge. I wanted to hear those cases, bear that responsibility, and make the right decisions.
Today, I have that distinct honor. Serving as a McHenry County Circuit Court Judge after being unanimously appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, I have the opportunity to use my God-given talents to apply the law fairly and effectively in every case and for every person who comes through my courtroom. I am now running to retain my judgeship, and I hope to earn your support.
Serving our community is the honor of my life. My community service runs much deeper than my daily courtroom calls, hearings, and trials. From participating in local service projects to helping lead non-profit organizations to participating in sports with my kids, I take my civic responsibility seriously and strive to help make our community a better place. What’s more, my community involvement makes me a better judge. It helps ensure I understand the people who appear before me, along with how my decisions impact their lives. Those who appear before me are people to me, not just words on a page.
As a judge, I strive to always do the right thing. My parents raised me to always act with integrity. I saw how they saved a cousin and her mother from an abusive home through great expense to themselves. They taught me that doing the right thing is rarely convenient, easy, or cheap. But when you know it’s the right thing to do, you do it. That is integrity. That is a lesson close to my heart as a judge.
In my courtroom, I apply the law fairly and justly. Everyone is treated with patience and respect, and I ensure that all parties, including unrepresented parties, have their “day in court.” I thoroughly research cases, carefully consider evidence, and diligently seek answers to ensure the right result.
As one of the younger judges in McHenry County, I have a fresh perspective that is invaluable to our court system. I am working to help improve access to justice and the use of technology in our courtrooms. We must evolve as the number of people who participate in our court system grows and changes, especially with many unable to afford representation. I support efforts to improve our court system through increased e-filing, a self-help center that provides people legal resources, and an attorney help desk for the public to receive answers and get assistance. I am able to help address these issues with recent, firsthand knowledge as an attorney and as a judge.
For me, serving as a judge is an incredible responsibility. This isn’t a position for politicians or semi-retired individuals looking for an easy job and a cushy pension. Judicial elections should not be an invitation to advance politics, issues, or selfish ambition over important qualities like integrity, humility, and dedication to the community. I have lived out those qualities on the bench and in our community, and I hope to have your vote so I can continue to do so as a McHenry County Circuit Court Judge.
Judge Justin Hansen
McHenry County Circuit Court Judge
22nd Judicial Circuit, Third Subcircuit