Laninya Cason

LeChien vs. Cason: Will LeChien’s Election Strategy Work?

Robert P. LeChien
Robert P. LeChien


Robert LeChien:

Robert P. LeChien is a resident judge of the Twentieth Circuit of Illinois. He serves in Belleville.

LeChien’s term expires in December 2016. Instead of running for retention, he submitted his resignation and also filed to run for election to a vacancy on the court. Read more below.


LeChien earned his J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.


  • 1998-Present: Judge, Illinois Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court (Elected)
  • 1987-1998: Associate judge, Illinois Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court (Appointed)
  • 1985-1987: Founder, Consumer Law Center
  • 1980-1985: Attorney, LeChien & Associates
  • 1976-1980: Prosecutor, St. Clair County

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, LeChien submitted his resignation and also filed to run for election to a vacancy on the court instead of running for retention. Judges Robert B. Haida and C. John Baricevic also resigned and filed for election. Baricevic and Haida filed to run for each others’  vacancies, while LeChien filed to run for his own vacancy. While this strategy may force the judges to run against an opponent, they would need only a majority to win.  Judges running for retention must receive 60 percent of the vote in order to secure another term.

Laninya Cason
Laninya Cason

Laninya Cason:

Laninya Cason was an associate judge on the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois. She joined the court on February 3, 2003. She served on the probate division.

Cason was reappointed for a four-year term that began on July 1, 2011, and expired on June 30, 2015.

Cason is a candidate to be a judge for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court. The general election will take place on November 8, 2016.


Cason received a B.S. in finance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1992. She earned a master’s degree in education from the same school in 1993. She received her J.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Law in 1996.

Cason began her career in 1994 as a clerk for the firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson. She became an attorney there in 1996 and a partner in 2002. She also worked as a prosecutor and defense counsel for the City of East St. Louis and as corporation counsel for the Village of Washington Park. She joined the circuit court in 2003.

Published Author in the Illinois State Bar Journal and other State Bar Publications
2012 Torchbearer for Justice Award
2011 St. Louis American Award for Excellence in the Law
2011 NAACP Award for Excellence in the Law
Recommended in the 2011 ISBA Judicial Poll
National Association of Women Judges – District Director 2014 – 2015
Illinois Judges Association Foundation, 2015 – Present
Personal Information

Why I Am Now a Republican by Laninya Cason

I changed parties after I realized that my hard work and achievements would be better served and appreciated by the Republican party. My mother is a very prominent and vocal Democrat in East St. Louis, Illinois, an impoverished African-American community that is primarily Democratic. She goes against the grain and challenges the values of the local Democratic structure on a consistent basis. So much so, that she recently exposed the fact that a school board member, a loyal Democratic, was a previously convicted heroin dealer which led to his removal from the board and was the coup de grace for a takeover of the board by the State of Illinois.

I have been a judge for the past nine years and have a reputation for fairness and integrity. I am not swayed by partisan interest. I was 31 years of age when I took the bench and have worked extremely hard to ensure that the judiciary is recognized for excellence in the law. It has come to pass that the Dems and I have conflicting views on the role that politics should play in the judiciary. Although I am not naive to think that politics is not looming around in the decision making processes of certain institutions, when it comes to placing qualified, experienced judges on the bench, the role of politics should play a very limited role at most. When the Democrats yielded to politics when it came to filling the position in which I am running, in such a blatant and disrespectful manner, the Republicans stepped up to the plate to support me in my efforts to ensure that the residents are represented by an experienced, qualified and independent jurist. Thus, judicial independence is the platform on which I stand. Judicial independence, the ability of a judge to rule objectively based on the evidence, free from partisan interest, public clamor, or fear of criticism, is what the residents deserve and is what I am offering.

If I am elected to this position, it will send a resounding message to the public that credentials, experience and qualifications will not be undermined by partisan efforts. When people come before me, I do not ask them if they are a Democrat or Republican before I render judgment. I make judgments based on the law and the evidence. It should not matter whether a judge is a Democrat or Republican as the judiciary is an impartial and neutral entity when it comes to dispensing justice to the public. Any other perception would weaken the Constitutional rights of our citizens, as judges are accountable to the Constitution and the law…not political pressure.

I am seeking your vote to be your Circuit Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit on November 8, 2016. I have requisite commitment and skill set to be able to serve as your circuit judge. I am a fair, unbiased, and qualified candidate who has not only the experience, but a true passion for the responsibilities of being a circuit judge. I am a candidate the people deserve working for them on the bench.