Judge hires former gang member

January 28, 2008 4:12:12 PM PST
Judge Michael Hyman, who is running for re-election, has added a former Chicago gang leader to his staff. The controversial decision to hire Wallace 'Gator' Bradley is bringing attention to one race for Cook County Circuit Court judge.

"I believe a judge must not only be hard on crime and criminals but must also recognize when someone has turned his or her life around. A judge understands second chances," said Judge Michael Hyman, candidate for Cook Co. Circuit Court

Bradley, who says he is a changed man, was hired by Hyman's campaign as a consultant.

"I'm telling youth put down that gun, put down that crack, put down that blunt, register and vote," said Wallace "Gator" Bradley, Political Consultant.

Hyman is up for re-election. He was appointed to an open judgeship in 2006. Brian Sexton, an assistant state's attorney, is running against Hyman.

"There are so many people he could reach out to that actually represent the true African American community. It sends the wrong message when you reach out to Gator Bradley," said Brian Sexton, candidate for Cook Co. Circuit Court.

"He's clueless about the African-American community. That he's out of touch, that he doesn't really know the needs or what's going on in the African-American community like I do."

Judge Hyman's supporters denounced such criticism.

"This is the kind of political strategy we don't need. It's unacceptable. It does not promote interest of justice, said R. Eugene Pincham, retired Cook County judge.

Other candidates for the judge's seat are trying to steer clear of political bickering.

"I think Gator Bradley is not the issue in this campaign. The issue is who is most qualified person to be judge," said John J. "Jack" Murphy, candidate for Cook Co. Circuit Court.

"Rather than bickering and getting into name-calling, it's something we should avoid," said Kim Kardas, candidate for Cook Co. Circuit Court

The Tribune endorsed Judge Hyman and the Sun-Times endorsed Sexton. The article that brought the Gator Bradley hiring to light was from the Sun-Times. Bradley claims to have consulted for other politicians like Dorothy Brown, Jesse Jackson Junior and Barack Obama.