It’s the latest battleground in a decade-long national struggle over the issue of massive jury awards for victims of negligence.
But the campaign against Kilbride has stirred a robust backlash from fellow judges, prosecutors and legal scholars who argue that the ads are misleading at best.
“It is just terrible, appalling,” said Timothy Slavin, a former Republican state’s attorney and circuit judge in Whiteside County who is past president of the Illinois Judges Association. “I wasn’t always a supporter of Tom Kilbride, but this portrayal of him as hostile to law enforcement just is not true.”
The ads are airing on numerous radio stations — including Tribune Co.’s News 720 WGN-AM — that cover Kilbride’s 21-county judicial district reaching from the Mississippi River to Naperville. In the commercials, which can be heard at the political group’s Web site, Kilbrideprotectsfelons.org, actors graphically describe cases to show the judge “sided with violent felons.”
In each one, according to legal scholars, Kilbride’s opinion was based not on the nature of the crime but on legal procedures and points of law.