FWIW readers following the Rhonda Crawford will recall David Thomas's article in the October 14 Law Bulletin about the ARDC petitioning the Illinois Supreme Court, seeking "a rule for Respondent, Rhonda Crawford, to show cause why she should not be suspended until further order of the Court or suspend Respondent on the Court's own motion, and restrain and enjoin Respondent from taking the judicial oath of office or assuming the office of judge, or take such other action as this Court deems just, for having engaged in conduct which threatens irreparable harm to the
public, the legal profession and to the orderly administration of justice."
I probably wasn't the only reader who didn't immediately understand that the petition that ARDC filed in the Supreme Court was different from the ARDC Complaint filed against Crawford on October 7. Thomas's linked Law Bulletin article mines the Supreme Court petition in some detail -- and, as damning as the ARDC Complaint may appear, the ARDC's Supreme Court petition is much, much worse. (Mr. Thomas was kind enough to share a copy of the Petition with me.)
And---although I didn't get a chance to post anything during the week---the drumbeat against Crawford continued to grow louder and louder as the week went on. I was able to keep up, more or less, on Twitter:
Debra Cassens Weiss has updated coverage on the ABA Journal website.
Last night on WGN-TV, I saw election attorney Burt Odelson (who is representing Crawford's write-in opponent, Judge Maryam Ahmad) stating that he has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to knock Crawford off the ballot.
For public consumption at least, despite her indictment, Crawford is insisting that she's not going anywhere. If she is not forced off the ballot (as she would be if the Supreme Court suspends her license), Crawford is almost certain to win election on November 8.
If I was advising Ms. Crawford---and, as you might expect, no one has asked---I'd be urging negotiation. I'd be looking for a soft landing. The price would undoubtedly be high---withdrawing her candidacy---but, at the moment Crawford's license and even her liberty is arguably at stake.
No one---no one outside Crawford's defense team, anyway---is defending what Rhonda Crawford seems to have done in Judge Valarie Turner's Markham courtroom this past August. Putting on a judge's robe and deciding even the most insignificant of cases was a special kind of stupid thing to do.
In a story posted last evening, the AP's Michael Tarm quotes Crawford's campaign as saying that Crawford is "'a pawn' in a behind-the-scenes play by 'Democratic Machine politics' to disenfranchise voters" in the 1st Judicial Subcircuit.
Please. There may be a great many sins of omission and commission to lay at the feet of local Democratic Party leaders, but if anyone has disenfranchised voters in the 1st Subcircuit, it is Crawford herself. It is her own conduct that may yet force her off the ballot; if she stays on the ballot, and is elected by default, she will be unable to serve, at least for the foreseeable future, and quite possibly ever. Either way, the community's judicial choice will be frustrated -- and neither Chairman Berrios, nor President Preckwinkle, nor Speaker Madigan will own a particle of blame.
So many FWIW readers would have traded one or more body parts to have been in Rhonda Crawford's shoes before this incident. I can't help but think that a lot of the anger, maybe even fury, directed at Ms. Crawford is attributable to this. How could she do this? How could anyone think this was OK? It is not just the politicians who have closed ranks against Ms. Crawford; it is the larger legal establishment. (And Ms. Crawford had already forfeited the opportunity to make friends with the legal-powers-that-be by refusing to participate in the evaluation process.)
But in determining the appropriate punishment, is our anger at Crawford's actions causing us to demand punishments that are disproportionate to the real harm caused? Of course, just as Ms. Crawford's ballot status is her negotiating chit, jail time is a pretty strong negotiating chit for those wishing Crawford would just go away.
I hope Ms. Crawford's lawyers are talking to anyone they can.
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