Carli Kierny, Esq. - Candidate for District Court, Department #2

Nothing is impossible for Carli Kierny. 


It isn’t often that a child who suffers from a speech impediment becomes an accomplished public speaker after undergoing extensive speech therapy for not being able to pronounce her R’s.  To overcome something that causes many people to withdraw due to a lack of confidence and step into a career that requires you to argue cases in front of endless juries and judges would seem almost impossible – almost. 


Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Kierny had the benefit of being raised by two teachers who valued education as a top priority.  At four years old, Carli would watch as her weary mother worked during the day and went to school in the evening while her father took care of Carli and her brother.  Even though she was very tired, her mother would always try to be home to read the children a bedtime story each night. 


Following her mother’s example, Carli chose to pursue higher education, graduating early from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She went on to receive her law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.  Now, her husband, John, takes care of her two small children while Carli dives headfirst into running for Judge of Clark County District Court, Department 2, just like her father did for her mother.


Carli Kierny has been working in the Clark County Public Defender’s Office for nearly ten years, after working in the same position in Illinois.  She is eager to see the impact of the new criminal justice reform bills that were passed in the last session, in particular the reduced penalties for non-violent drug offenders, additional opportunities to succeed while on probation, and further awareness of mental health issues in the context of the criminal justice system. 


“There is more recognition now that low-level drug offenders have a problem and need treatment as opposed to incarceration.   I am excited to see how this shift in thinking hopefully frees up the court to concentrate on more serious cases,” Carli explains.


One of Carli’s most influential role models in the legal field was an attorney named Norm Reed who was her mentor when she started in the Clark County Public Defender’ Office.  She worked alongside him on many murder cases and succeeded in getting two cases dismissed and winning an acquittal for their client in a third case.  Kierny admired Norm’s dedicated work ethic.  She would strive to emulate his ability to approach every case with an open mind and trust his own instincts implicitly.  When he passed away in 2017, the last lesson that he would teach her was to fight her best fight every day because you never know how long you’ll have to fight.


Winning a seat in the judiciary appeals to Carli because of her desire to help even more of her community than she already does in her current capacity.  As a volunteer victim advocate for Safe Nest (an organization that helps domestic violence survivors) as well as at Three Square, where people gain assistance battling food insecurity for families and children in the valley, Carli continues to demonstrate her passion for the people that she serves.  


“Remember that the judicial race is among the most important elections that you can vote in.  It is important to elect judges who work hard, are compassionate, and who always treat the people in their courtrooms with respect.  Courtrooms can be scary for some, but it’s important to remember that they are also a place of power.  They belong to the people.  This is not my seat; it is the people’s seat, and the public needs to put someone in it that has a proven record of protecting and helping the people,” Carli Kierny states with conviction.


To learn more about Ms. Carli Kierny, Esq., and to follow her campaign, please visit  

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03 Feb 2020

By Naiomi Pitre