Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jean Prendergast appointed to Circuit Court

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Jean M. Prendergast to a Circuit Court vacancy that will open up with the forthcoming retirement of Judge Daniel E. Jordan.

Prendergast's appointment is effective December 3, 2010 and will terminate December 3, 2012.

Currently a shareholder with Schuyler, Roche & Chrisham, P.C., Prendergast is a 1994 graduate of the Loyola University School of Law. After graduation, Prendergast clerked for then-Appellate Court Justice (and now Supreme Court Justice) Mary Jane Theis and, later, for Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow.

Prendergast currently serves as President of the Appellate Lawyers Association. Her predecessor in that position was Gary Feinerman, now a United States District Judge in Chicago.

Before appointing Prendergast to a judicial post, the Illinois Supreme Court had asked Prendergast to serve on the Court's Committee on Character and Fitness, becoming Chairperson of the Committee in the First District this year.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ald. Thomas Allen appointed to Pucinski vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Chicago Alderman Thomas R. Allen (D-38) to the countywide vacancy that will be created next month by the elevation of Cook County Circuit Court Judge (and former Circuit Court Clerk) Aurelia Pucinski to the Illinois Appellate Court.

Allen's appointment is effective December 6 and will terminate December 3, 2012.

In addition to serving as Alderman of the Northwest Side 38th Ward, Allen has been a partner in the Chicago law firm of Chapekis, Marcus, Allen and Chapekis. An attorney since 1977, Allen, like newly-appointed jurist Tommy Brewer, was a candidate for Cook County State's attorney in 2008.

The Chicago Tribune reports on this appointment.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tommy H. Brewer appointed to 7th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Tommy H. Brewer to the vacancy in Cook County's Seventh Judicial Subcircuit created by the recent retirement of Judge Cheryl A. Starks.

Brewer's appointment was effective November 1 and will terminate on December 3, 2012.

Brewer had a law office in the Loop at the time of his appointment. Brewer ran for Cook County State's Attorney in 2008 and 2004; he also ran a number of times for the office of Cook County Sheriff.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Who's doing best in the retention races?

I mentioned earlier that all Cook County judges on the retention ballot appear to have kept their jobs this evening -- but, as I mentioned in a September post, no matter how highly regarded the judge, no matter how many endorsements or favorable bar association ratings, it is rare indeed for any sitting judge to receive more than an 80% favorable rate.

Put another way, it appears that two of every ten voters will "just say no" to each and every sitting judge.

The pattern appears to be holding tonight. Quickly scanning City and County returns, Judge Carol A. Kelly, who received favorable ratings from every bar association, has received just under an 80% "yes" vote (79.7%). Judge Sharon Marie Sullivan, who has also received favorable ratings from all the bar associations, has a 78.25% "yes" vote. These two jurists appear to be leading the pack among the retention candidates.

Bar ratings and endorsements do matter: Checking updated results, Judge Dorothy F. Jones has received 63.6% "yes" votes (and she has received "yes" votes from only 58.3% of the suburban voters). Another judge who was targeted by the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, Judge Jim Ryan has received "yes" votes from only 63.5% of the voters. (Judge Jones received unfavorable ratings from all the bar associations; Judge Ryan was not recommended by the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, although he did receive favorable ratings from the Asian American Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois, Puerto Rican Bar Association, and Women's Bar Association of Illinois.)

The question that will be posed by critics of our current system of electing and retaining judges is whether bar association ratings and newspaper endorsements make enough of a difference. (No Cook County Circuit Court judge has been defeated for retention since 1990.)

Cook County judges holding on in retention elections

The votes aren't all in, but it looks like all Cook County Circuit Court judges seeking retention will be retained in office. I've used the Dorothy F. Jones retention race as a bellwether because every single bar association urged that she not be retained, as did the Tribune, the Sun-Times and the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County.

If Judge Jones could hold on in the face of this united opposition, it follows (I believe) that all the retention judges will prevail.

As of this writing, Judge Jones is holding on with a 63.15% favorable vote, 381,744 "yes" votes to 222,788 "no" votes.

More to come as the evening goes on.