Wednesday, November 30, 2011
To illustrate of the evils of politics and money in judicial campaigns, the Tribune editorial cited allegations that the Illinois Civil Justice League was a conduit for money from the State Farm Insurance Companies helping to elect an Illinois Supreme Court justice in 2004 who would later making rulings favorable to State Farm in Avery v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., 216 Ill.2d 100, 835 N.E.2d 801 (2005).
The ICJL did not get defensive. In its daily newsletter on the 21st, the ICJL said it supported the Tribune’s call for merit selection (even as it asserted that the recently failed attempt to reopen Avery was based on an “error-filled sworn statement that refers to the ICJL.”). “In fact,” the newsletter stated, “ICJL’s proposal for a change in the way Illinois selects judges was included in an Op-Ed by the ICJL published in the Tribune in April, 2009.”
There are many things the Tribune’s editorial does not explain: how judicial “merit” is determined, or by whom; how judges picked by governors or legislators or even by “blue ribbon” committees (appointed by and responsible to governors or legislators) could choose judges free of the taint of politics; or, most importantly, how an any change in the way Illinois chooses judges is possible in the foreseeable future, given our toxic political climate.
But the Tribune is not alone in fearing that too much money in judicial campaigns will result in justice only for the ‘highest bidder.’ New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Justice at Stake Campaign recently issued a study, entitled The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2009-2010, which makes similar charges. Adam Cohen, a research scholar and lecturer at Yale Law School, recently posted an article on Time.com citing this study and stating that “as money floods into judicial elections, we are getting courts that are filled with judges whose first loyalty is not to justice — or to the general public — but to insurance companies, big business and other special interests.”
It would be naive to ignore the danger of creeping partisanship fueled by unthinking political spending. I understand that special interests would love to know that a given judge will always rule in their favor every time one of their cases goes to court. But there is no way to guarantee this without committing outright bribery. Short of the actual commission of a felony, even the most spineless, pliant jurist might get confused, in a given case, over which contributors should get preference. After all, successful political campaigns require the building of coalitions from sometimes conflicting interests. Inevitably these conflicts will burble up in court.
There is an alternative that does not involve the risk of prison: Campaign money should be directed to judicial candidates who are intelligent, knowledgeable, courteous, practical, fair and impartial. That won’t guarantee ‘victory’ for a special interest in any given case, but it will ensure an honest, respectful hearing, regardless of who is on the other side. The most special special interests should want nothing more.
The concerns of editorialists and academics notwithstanding, judicial races are significantly different from others up and down the ballot. Although passions can get aroused, in general, judicial races are generally more civil than other contests. I’ve been covering judicial elections in Cook County since 2007 here on For What It’s Worth. When I published all the bar association recommendations in one race shortly before the 2008 primary, I received an immediate and indignant response from one of the candidates. I had written, he told me, that one of his opponents had been rated Qualified by the Women’s Bar Association. This, he insisted, was not true. In fact, the candidate wrote, his opponent was rated Highly Qualified.
You don’t get that sort of thing in races for the legislature. Judicial elections are different. The role of money is – or should be different – in judicial campaigns as well. The best defense against special interest money corrupting the judicial election process is an attentive, informed electorate. The ICJL helps educate the electorate through its IllinoisJudges.net website. In 2010, the Tribune provided a real service to the public by publishing on line the responses judicial candidates provided to its questionnaire. I hope the Tribune will provide that service again this year.
(Only in the 12th Subcircuit and the 4th Subcircuit have judicial candidates filed in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. In the 13th Subcircuit only Republicans have filed so far. Everywhere else, including in all countywide judicial races, judicial hopefuls have filed only in the Democratic primary. The sole Republican candidate for the Rochford vacancy -- so far -- is James Paul Pieczonka, a lawyer who maintains an office in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood.)
Judge Schleifer has four opponents (so far) in the Democratic primary. One is Robert P. Babbitt who, like Pieczonka, maintains a law office in Edison Park. Licensed in Illinois since 1978, this will be Babbitt's fourth try for the bench. He ran in 1986 and 1988 and, in 1992, the first year of subcircuit elections in Cook County, when Babbitt sought a vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit.
Criminal defense attorney Jennifer Bae has also filed in this race. An Illinois attorney since 1997, Bae was in the news last year defending CBS2 reporter Jay Levine against charges of misdemeanor assault. Levine was accused of threatening to "deck" right-wing broadcaster William J. Kelly at the 2010 Columbus Day Parade(at the time Kelly was heard on Chicago's WIND-AM). Levine allegedly lost his temper when Kelly kept interrupting then-mayoral candidate Rahm Emmanuel. (Levine was cleared of all charges.)
The other two candidates filing in this race are Assistant Public Defender Michael John Halloran and Daniel P. Scott, who practices with the Chicago firm of Chepov & Scott LLC. Halloran made a run for the Devlin vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit in 2008. Scott has not previously sought judicial office, but he did make a run for the Illinois House in 2002. Halloran has been licensed in Illinois since 1987; Scott has been an Illinois attorney since 1992.
I have been unable to locate campaign websites for Babbitt, Bae, Halloran or Scott. Judge Schleifer's campaign website is linked in the sidebar.
Judge Stanley L. Hill, Sr. was appointed to this vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court and was slated by the Cook County Democratic party. Judge Hill's campaign website is electjudgestanleyhill.com. He so far faces two challengers, Karen Lynn O'Malley and Jo Anne Hopson Guillemette.
Karen O'Malley joined the Levin Riback Law Group in 2008 after serving as an Assistant State's Attorney for over 15 years. (That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the sidebar.) The Levin Riback website states that O'Malley's currently focuses on "complex personal injury litigation, construction litigation and automobile negligence." According to the Levin Riback site, O'Malley has "successfully tried more than 75 jury trials" and, hundreds of bench trials. It also notes O'Malley "spent her last five years as an assistant state's attorney supervising the Child Advocacy Division, a unit dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes against children." O'Malley's campaign website also stresses her extensive teaching experience, including nine years as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Law School teaching trial advocacy and coaching students for moot court competitions (she was also Assistant Director of the Moot Court Program at DePaul University Law School for a time, according to her campaign site).
Jo Anne Hopson Guillemette also stresses her child protection and teaching experience on her campaign website. (That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the sidebar.) Guillemette has been an Illinois attorney since 1987; she is currently employed in the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she works as Assistant Director and Administrator of the Expedited Child Support Program. Her campaign website states that her duties in this office include "maintaining a Minimal Continuing Legal Education Program (MCLE)." She has worked, according to her campaign biography, as an elementary school teacher and social worker. As an attorney she has worked for the Department of Children and Family Services as regional counsel, "advis[ing] employees and screen[ing] children for adoption." Guillemette also served as an Assistant State's Attorney, according to her campaign site, and as an Assistant City Attorney -- in Rockford, Illinois.
The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Erica L. Reddick to this vacancy in 2010. She was subsequently slated for this office by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Her sole challenger (so far) is Kevin Cunningham.
Both Reddick and Cunningham have campaign websites and these are linked in the sidebar.
Judge Diann Karen Marsalek was recently appointed to this vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court. Shortly thereafter, she was slated for this office by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Judge Marsalek faces three challengers (so far). These are Thomas W. Flannigan, Judge Kevin W. Horan and Nichole C. Patton.
Marsalek, Horan and Patton all have campaign websites up and running. Each is linked in the sidebar. Mr. Flannigan recently advised this blog that his website is not yet ready for rollout. It will be linked when it is completed.
Flannigan has also filed papers to run for the Illinois Supreme Court. Judge Horan (who was appointed to the Riley vacancy in the 4th Subcircuit) has also filed nominating papers in that race (see, linked 4th Subcircuit post, below).
Judge Thomas R. Allen holds this seat by Supreme Court appointment. He is, however, seeking election to the bench from the 10th Subcircuit.
The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Lorna Ellen Propes to the Terrell vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit, but the Cook County Democratic Party slated her for this vacancy.
Her sole challenger (so far) is Edward J. Maloney.
Both Propes and Maloney have campaign websites that are linked in the sidebar.
Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs holds this seat pursuant to Supreme Court appointment. She has not filed for election at this point.
Michael A. Forti currently serves as Deputy Corporation Counsel of the Constitutional and Commercial Litigation Division of the City of Chicago Law Department. (That's a link to Forti's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the sidebar.) An Illinois attorney since 1980, Forti has been slated for this vacancy by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Forti's sole challenger (so far) is Jessica A. O'Brien. A former President of the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, O'Brien is currently the Treasurer of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois. An Illinois attorney since 1998, O'Brien currently serves, according to the WBAI website, as "Special Assistant Attorney General with the Illinois Department of Revenue, litigating cases involving corporate, partnership, and individual income and sales taxation." The WBAI website also notes that O'Brien holds LLM degrees, in Tax Law and Employee Benefits. (Note to non-lawyers: Only in the law does the doctoral degree -- the J.D. -- come before a masters degree.) O'Brien filed for the countywide McCarthy vacancy in 2010, but withdrew her candidacy before the primary. If O'Brien has a campaign website, I have so far been unable to locate it.
Five file for Ward vacancy;
Five file for O'Brien vacancy;
No crowds in these races -- at least not yet;
Four file for countywide Stewart vacancy; and
Appointed judge vs. appointed judge in Subcircuit 4.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Judge Jean-Baptiste's sole opponent (so far) is also a sitting judge. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Michael Ian Bender to a 9th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008. He was unable to hold on to the seat in the 2010 primary but was recalled to judicial service by the Supreme Court later that same year. Judge Michael Ian Bender is the son of the late Judge Gerald C. Bender. I have so far been unable to find a current campaign website for Judge Bender.
Judge Trew has three challengers so far. Associate Judge Larry Axelrood is making a bid for this spot as is Abbey Fishman-Romanek. Romanek also made a strong bid for a 9th Subcircuit vacancy in 2010 and she appears to have significant backing from elected officials in the area, particularly in Evanston. Her backing is not unanimous, however: Judge Axelrood claims Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl among his supporters.
The fourth candidate (so far) for the Epstein vacancy is David C. Adams (pictured at right). Adams, an attorney since 1991) is a partner with the firm of Grund & Leavitt. According to the firm website, Adams' practice is in appellate law with an emphasis in civil litigation and matrimonial matters. He is also, according to the firm website, an adjunct professor teaching Advanced Pleadings and Motion Practice in Family Law at the IIT/Chicago Kent College of Law in its LLM program.
Trew, Axelrood and Romanek all have campaign websites linked in the sidebar; I have so far been unable to find a campaign website for Adams.
Four other Democrats filed for the Riley vacancy as well. Among these are Associate Judge William "Gomo" Gomolinski. Judge Gomolinski was appointed to a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in 2007 but was unable to hold that seat in the 2008 primary. The Illinois Supreme Court subsequently recalled Gomolinski to judicial service; he was selected as an associate judge in 2009. I have been so far unable to find a campaign website for Judge Gomolinski.
Northlake attorney Terry Gallagher (pictured at left) claims the endorsement of the Democratic Party on his campaign website. Yes, that's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the sidebar. A solo practitioner practicing in the areas of criminal defense, civil rights and personal injury, Gallagher's campaign website notes that the candidate also served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Navy. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1988.
Also filing for this vacancy was Joanne Marie Rogers. An Illinois attorney since 1989, Rogers was a candidate for the countywide Lott vacancy in the 2008 primary. According to ARDC, Rogers practices with the Chicago firm of Nielsen, Zehe & Antas P.C. Rounding out the field (so far) for this vacancy is Michael J. "Mike" Dickman, an attorney with the Legal Aid Bureau. He's been an Illinois attorney since 1990.
I've been so far unable to find campaign websites for either Rogers or Dickman (although I learned this morning that I must have missed Rogers' website in the 2008 campaign, an omission for which I belatedly apologize).
One Republican, Timothy Felix Winslow, has filed for the Riley vacancy as well. He has an office in Lyons and has been licensed in Illinois since 2006.
The "A" vacancy in the 4th Subcircuit has so far drawn only two Democratic candidates, Julie Line Bailey (pictured at left) and Karin Elizabeth Swanson. Bailey, an attorney in Illinois since 1990, practices with the Burr Ridge office of the Louisville-based firm of Gibson & Sharps. On information and belief, Bailey is married to Brian T. Bailey, also of Gibson & Sharps, and the daughter-in-law of retired Circuit Court Judge James M. Bailey.
I have so far been unable to find a campaign website for either Julie Line Bailey or Karin Elizabeth Swanson. Swanson is an Assistant State's Attorney and has been licensed in Illinois since 1995.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Deidre Baumann also filed for this vacancy.
The other two candidates filing for this vacancy today are Terrence M. Jordan, a Loop practitioner, and Assistant State's Attorney Mary Margaret Burke. I could not find a campaign website for either of these candidates. I have learned, however, that Burke hails from a family of lawyers: Her brother, Richard F. Burke, Jr. is a partner in the Clifford Law Offices. One sister, Nancy A. Burke, is a partner with Chapman & Cutler LLP; another, Kathleen Marie Burke, was elected to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2004.
Jordan has been licensed in Illinois since 1976; Burke has been an attorney in Illinois since 1989.
The appointment is effective December 16 and expires December 2, 2012. At the time of her appointment, Lyle maintained a law office on South Cottage Grove Avenue. She has also served as 6th Ward Democratic Committeeman.
According to an article by Hal Dardick posted November 29 on the Chicago Tribune website Lyle indicated she will not seek to hold this seat in the March primary, stating that she would be open to another appointment when this one expires.
That leaves two persons (so far) contesting for this seat in the March primary.
Carl B. Boyd filed nominating papers Monday for this vacancy. I can not find a dedicated campaign website for Mr. Boyd, although he has used Facebook pages in prior campaigns (Boyd sought the countywide Hayes vacancy in the 2010 primary and the "A" vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit in 2006). An Illinois attorney since 1991, Boyd currently practices with the Chicago firm of Starks & Boyd, P.C..
The other declared 2nd Subcircuit candidate is Assistant Public Defender Toya T. Harvey. I could not find a campaign website for Harvey either, but ARDC confirms that she has been an Illinois attorney since 1995.
Updated and corrected 12/1/11
We can now be reasonably certain that the first alternate 'pre-slated' by the Democratic Party was Michael Tully Mullen. Mullen was the only candidate filing today for the countywide Stralka vacancy. (Judge Paul Stralka passed away earlier this month -- after the party slate was announced.)
Mullen has been an Illinois attorney since 1981. According to ARDC, he's currently working for well-known PI attorney Paul B. Episcope. I heard from Mr. Episcope after this post first appeared; he writes that "Mike is one of the finest attorneys that I have worked with and once elected, he will soon be considered as one of the best judges in Cook County." He also pointed out that I inexplicably changed Mr. Mullen's last name to "Martin" when this was first posted. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Also drawing no opponent by the end of this first full day of filing are Judge Jean Prendergast Rooney (appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the countywide Jordan vacancy), Judge Russell W. Hartigan (appointed to the countywide Moran vacancy), Judge Thomas J. Carroll (appointed to the McSweeney Moore vacancy in the 3rd Subcircuit), Judge Laura Liu (appointed to the "A" vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, Judge Tommy Brewer (appointed to the Starks vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit), and Judge Arthur P. Wheatley. I've found a campaign website for Judge Wheatley this afternoon. Yes, that's a link in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the sidebar.
Judge Regina Ann Scannicchio, appointed earlier this year by the Illinois Supreme Court to the O'Gara vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit, did not file her nominating papers until November 29. She is so far unopposed. I have not been able to find a campaign website for Judge Scannicchio.
Four non-judges are also so far unopposed. One, Pamela Reaves-Harris, filed for the 7th Subcircuit Terrell vacancy as a Democrat. Yes, that is a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the sidebar. An Illinois attorney since 1992, Reaves-Harris cites her lengthy experience as a hearing officer for the City of Chicago (since 1995, according to her website) as one of her primary qualifications for judicial service.
The other three so-far unopposed judicial candidates filed as Republicans. Five candidates filed as Democrats for the Rochford vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit, but only James Paul Pieczonka has filed as a Republican. I could find no campaign website for Pieczonka yet, but ARDC advises that he has a law office at Touhy and Overhill in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood and has been an Illinois attorney since 1983. The second unopposed Republican is Martin C. Kelley. Martin C. Kelley. An Illinois attorney since 1992, Kelley was a candidate for a 13th Subcircuit vacancy in 2006. He practices with the Schaumburg firm of Kelley Kelley & Kelley.
The third unopposed Republican is Timothy Felix Winslow, pictured at left. Winslow filed yesterday for the Riley vacancy in the 4th Subcircuit. I've not been able to find a campaign website for this candidate; the picture is taken from an Avvo page Winslow maintains for his Lyons law office. According to ARDC, Winslow has been licensed in Illinois since 2006.
Cynthia Ramirez is the candidate slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for this vacancy. Yes, that is a link to her website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the sidebar. (Campaign websites will seem to be sprout like dandelions in the spring on this blog in the coming days.)
Pamela McLean Meyerson has also filed for this vacancy. Meyerson also filed today for the Urso vacancy in the 11th Subcircuit. FWIW readers will recall that election laws changed this year to eliminate the tradition of judicial candidates filing for multiple vacancies and then withdrawing from all but one (see, Running for judge in Cook County just got more difficult). However, at least some respected election law specialists have opined that the following new provision of §7-12(9) of the Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/7-12(9), does allow a judicial candidate, like Meyerson, to file for one full circuit (countywide) vacancy and one subcircuit vacancy:
A candidate in a judicial election may file petitions for nomination for only one vacancy in a subcircuit and only one vacancy in a circuit in any one filing period, and if petitions for nomination have been filed for the same person for 2 or more vacancies in the same circuit or subcircuit in the same filing period, his or her name shall be certified only for the first vacancy for which the petitions for nomination were filed. If he fails to withdraw as a candidate for all but one of such offices within such time his name shall not be certified, nor printed on the primary ballot, for any office.Interestingly, this provision does not appear to apply to candidates for the Illinois Appellate Court -- and a number of candidates for that court are testing this theory. This phenomenon will be addressed in future posts.
(I venture no opinion about the scope or application of §7-12(9).)
Gerald V. Cleary has also filed for the O'Brien vacancy. That's a link to his campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the sidebar.
An Illinois attorney since 1989, Cleary was formerly a partner with Smith Amundsen; he is presently a partner in the firm of Pappas, Cleary, O'Connor, Fildes, Secaras P.C. Cleary was a candidate for the Kowalski vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit in 2008; in that race, he ran as Gerald Patrick Cleary.
Frank James Ryan has also filed for the O'Brien vacancy. That's a link to his campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the sidebar.
Ryan was a candidate for the countywide Murphy vacancy in 2008. He also made a bid for the Lipinski vacancy in 2010.
Rounding out the field in this race is Peter Martin Kramer. I've so far been unable to locate a website for this candidate, but ARDC advises that he is an attorney in the Cook County Sheriff's Office and has been an Illinois attorney since 2002. Kramer sought the Carmody vacancy in the 3rd Subcircuit in 2010.
Updated and corrected 11/28/11
Judge Alfred M. Swanson, Jr. holds that seat pursuant to Supreme Court appointment and he was endorsed for this vacancy by the Cook County Democratic Party. However, Judge Peter J. Vilkelis has also filed for this vacancy. Judge Vilkelis was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the countywide O'Brien vacancy but was passed over by the Democratic Party at slating time in favor of Cynthia Ramirez, an Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Public Health. Vilkelis's campaign website, as of this writing, still claims Ald. Edward M. Burke as honorary chair of the campaign committee.
A third sitting judge, recalled Associate Judge Joan Marie Kubulanza, has also filed for this vacancy.
Rounding out the field are Denise Marie Nalley and Elizabeth Mary Hayes. I've been unable to locate any campaign website for her campaign so far but, according to ARDC, Ms. Hayes is an Assistant Public Defender and has been an Illinois attorney since 1986.
This is important because it means that the ISBE is now posting non-lottery candidates.
For those who came in late: Today is the first day on which candidates -- including judicial candidates -- may file for the March 20, 2012 primary. All the judicial candidates (or their surrogates, if they have them) must make the pilgrimage to Springfield to file their papers. All the candidates line up in the street outside the Board. The line was well advanced by the wee small hours of this morning. All who were in line as of 8:00, when the Board of Elections officially began accepting nominating petitions, was deemed to have filed at 8:00 sharp. Only those candidates who file right at 8:00am are eligible for the lottery to determine the initial ballot position.
There may be -- likely will be -- other candidates filing in Cook County judicial races after this morning. There is sometimes a boomlet in filings on the last day of filing (this year, December 5); these persons jockey to be listed last on the ballot in their particular race. But we now have a much clearer picture of who wants to run for what; I'll be talking about who the would-be candidates are in posts starting later today.
Please note: Filing is just the beginning of the process of getting on the ballot. A small army of petition checkers has descended on Springfield today. Supporters of Candidate A are looking to see if Candidates B and C have complied with all of the many, detailed requirements for ballot qualification. Are all the signatures valid? When questionable signatures are tossed out, will the candidate still have enough to remain on the ballot? There will be a number of objections to judicial nominating petitions filed; these, too, will be covered here on FWIW.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
An Illinois attorney since 1989, the candidate's website states that Maloney has represented the county in both criminal and civil matters. Currently, according to the website, Maloney serves in the State's Attorney's Consumer Fraud Division, prosecuting "identity theft cases in criminal court and... prosecuting violators of consumer fraud acts in civil court." Maloney's website also notes that he put himself through college and law school as a union plasterer and laborer.
A fundraiser supporting Maloney's candidacy has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 7, from 5:00 to 7:30pm, at Fado, 100 W. Grand Avenue. Tickets for the event cost $75. Premium sponsorships are available (Friend - $125, Sponsor - $250, Benefactor - $500). More information concerning the event may be found on Maloney's campaign website.
Ellen Flannigan was elected from the 12th Judicial Subcircuit in 2006. She was a candidate for the McNulty vacancy on the Appellate Court in 2010. Thomas Flannigan sought a 12th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008; he filed for the countywide Bronstein vacancy in 2010.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
FWIW carried an announcement of Ferrante's candidacy for the Delgado vacancy in the 6th Subcircuit on November 14.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Judge Kubalanza currently serves as a Cook County Associate Judge pursuant to a recall appointment from the Illinois Supreme Court that will expire November 30, 2012. She was one of eight candidates who ran for the Lipinski vacancy in the 15th Judicial Subcircuit in the 2010 Democratic Primary.
Tickets for the event are $125. Sponsorships are available (Bronze - $500, Silver - $1,000, Gold - $2,500, and Platinum - $5,000). To reserve tickets, or for more information, contact Ms. Semelbauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (312) 541-1600.
Judge Kaplan was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Cole vacancy in Cook County's 8th Judicial Subcircuit in late 2010.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Also circulating petitions for the Pietrucha vacancy in the northwest suburban subcircuit, according to the Schaumburg Township GOP website, are Nicholas G. Grapsas, the Cook County Public Administrator. An Illinois attorney since 1988, Graspas also maintains a law office in Chicago's Greektown neighborhood.
A third potential candidate for the Pietrucha vacancy is Assistant State's Attorney Paul S. Pavlus. Pavlus ran for the Ryan vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit in 2008, finishing second to Ann O'Donnell in a four-way race.
The only candidate identified on the Schaumburg Township GOP site for the "A" vacancy is Martin C. Kelley. An Illinois attorney since 1992, Kelley was a candidate for a 13th Subcircuit vacancy in 2006. He practices with the Schaumburg firm of Kelley Kelley & Kelley.
I have so far been unable to find a campaign website for Grampas, Pavlus or Kelley. I am not aware of any Democrats intending to file for either vacancy in 13. Persons with information about these or other candidates are encouraged to contact this blog by either leaving a comment or sending me an email.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Battaglia has been licensed as an Illinois attorney since 2000. He maintains a law office in south suburban Hickory Hills. Battaglia's office website states that he "concentrates his practice in all areas of criminal defense and family law."
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Berger currently serves as an Associate Judge. She is seeking election to the Cole vacancy in the 8th Judicial Subcircuit. For additional information concerning the November 29 fundraiser, contact Mark Parsky at KLG@Mcveyparsky-law.com. For an evite, click here.
The Illinois State Board of Elections has now posted the final list of judicial vacancies for the filing period that begins November 28. What follows is a list of the Cook County Circuit Court vacancies identified by the ISBE; where vacancies have been filled, I've provided the name of the current appointee. While most of these individuals will be running for the seats to which they've been appointed, others have announced plans to seek different vacancies. That will start to get sorted out after filing begins.
Vacancy of the Hon. Claudia Grace Conlon -- Stanley L. Hill
Vacancy of the Hon. Daniel E. Jordan -- Jean M. Prendergast
Vacancy of the Hon. Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird -- Erica L. Reddick
Vacancy of the Hon. John J. Moran -- Russell W. Hartigan
Vacancy of the Hon. Donald J. O'Brien, Jr. -- Peter J. Vilkelis
Vacancy of the Hon. Margaret O'Mara Frossard -- Diann K. Marsalek
Vacancy of the Hon. Aurelia Pucinski -- Thomas R. Allen
Vacancy of the Hon. Henry R. Simmons, Jr. -- Cynthia Y. Cobbs
Vacancy of the Hon. Victoria A. Stewart -- Caroline K. Moreland
Vacancy of the Hon. Paul Stralka
Vacancy of the Hon. John A. Ward -- Alfred M. Swanson, Jr.
2nd Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Michael W. Stuttley -- Freddrenna M. Lyle
3rd Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Patrick E. McGann -- Maureen Leahy Delehanty
Vacancy of the Hon. Colleen McSweeney-Moore -- Thomas J. Carroll
4th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Daniel A. Riley -- Kevin Horan
Additional Judgeship A -- Daniel L. Peters
6th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. David Delgado
7th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Dorothy F. Jones
Vacancy of the Hon. Cheryl A. Starks -- Tommy Brewer
Vacancy of the Hon. Lawrence W. Terrell -- Lorna Propes
Vacancy of the Hon. Amanda Toney -- Arthur P. Wheatley
8th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas R. Chiola -- Celia G. Gamrath
Vacancy of the Hon. Melvin J. Cole -- James L. Kaplan
Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen Durkin Roy -- Deborah J. Gubin
Additional Judgeship "A" -- Laura C. Liu
9th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Gerald C. Bender -- Lionel Jean-Baptiste
Vacancy of the Hon. James R. Epstein -- Mary S. Trew
10th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Daniel M. Locallo -- Anthony C. Kyriakopoulos
11th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward P. O'Brien -- Michael R. Clancy
Vacancy of the Hon. Joseph J. Urso
12th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Mary K. Rochford -- Andrea M. Schleifer
13th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward N. Pietrucha
Additional Judgeship "A" -- Ketki Shroff Steffen
14th Judicial Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Lawrence O'Gara -- Regina Ann Scannicchio
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The investigation into what happened and, perhaps even more important, why it was covered up for so long, will drag on for some time. There may be more criminal charges; the civil suits have not yet begun. The ABA Journal: Law News Now page reported last Friday that the school's board of trustees has asked one of their own, "Kenneth Frazier, a Harvard Law School graduate who is the chief executive officer of Merck & Co. and its former general counsel," to head up the investigation. Meanwhile, according to that same ABA article, ex-Coach Paterno has lawyered up, retaining J. Sedwick Sollers III, the managing partner of King & Spalding's Washington, D.C. office.
Inevitably, there will be calls for new, tougher disclosure laws to prevent this situation from ever happening again, and not just in Pennsylvania.
Disclosure laws are useful and necessary. But, despite the best of legislative intentions, adding new disclosure laws to those already on the books, or toughening up existing laws, will not be sufficient by themselves. Increasingly harsh laws may quickly reach a point of diminishing returns. And new disclosure laws run the risk of failure from the outset because of the inevitable operation of human nature -- instinct, if you will.
I do not say this as a lawyer, or as a parent (although I am the parent of five children, all of whom were altar servers in our parish Catholic church in their turn). I say this because, some years ago, I was recruited by my pastor, to take training provided by Praesidium, Inc., an organization that is advising religious orders on how to implement the charter for the protection of children adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 (the Dallas Charter). (Technically, I've been told, the Dallas Charter applies only to American Catholic dioceses, but the Conference of Major Superiors of Men resolved to implement the Dallas Charter in 2003.) Thereafter, two religious orders with provincial houses in the Chicago area asked me to join the Review Boards they set up in response to the Dallas Charter. In the years since, I've been forced to confront some terrible facts and I've thought a lot about what I've heard and seen.
Without violating any confidences, I can say this: Pedophiles are usually highly regarded, beloved, even charismatic. Parents would never entrust their child to a man who gave them the creeps -- but good ol' Fr. X is so nice -- and he's taken such a special interest in our son.
Too often this has turned out to be an interest similar to the interest a lion takes in a struggling calf in a wildebeest herd.
Just as the lion must separate the calf from the herd, the pedophile must isolate and groom the child -- and its guardians. Coach Y took Junior for ice cream on Friday and he's asked us to let him go fishing with him up at his lake house after the season. Isn't that nice?.
The pedophile is typically not a drooling monster that lunges out of a dark alley; rather, he is someone who insinuates himself into his victim's family over time. He carefully builds up trust before he cruelly abuses it.
The punchline to a thousand old jokes is, "Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?"
But the sad truth of it is that the pedophile, confronted with anything short of irrefutable evidence of misconduct, will ask something very much like that question -- and, all too often, people will choose to believe the pedophile.
This is a consequence of human nature: All normal people want to believe that their own judgment is sound. When confronted with a challenge to a carefully constructed opinion of "the nicest man I ever knew," a person tends to discount, to minimize -- to disregard entirely -- the evidence of wrongdoing that conflicts with that opinion. If a favorable opinion of a neighbor, friend, pastor, scout leader, or coach can be shown to be so completely wrong, the normal person would naturally ask what other aspects of his or her judgment are unsound. Rather than revisit every judgment he or she has ever formed, the normal person prefers to accept the pedophile's explanation. And the pedophile seems to always have an explanation. (Mr. Sandusky's explanations this week, in response to questions by NBC's Bob Costas, made many viewers ill -- but most viewers knew Sandusky only by the terrible allegations made against him; TV viewers were not evaluating what he had to say in light of years, or even decades, of personal acquaintance.)
In the furor surrounding the disclosures at Penn State, the media talking heads are screaming that responsible people at the school "looked the other way," enabling the pedophile's continued crimes. But these people did not necessarily look the other way; they may have looked at what was right there in front of them, and did not believe the evidence of their 'lying eyes.'
And there's another aspect of human nature that comes into these terrible cases: There is the instinct to hush up scandal. It's almost a pre-human instinct, the instinct to curl up into a ball like our tiniest mammalian ancestors and hope that the forest fire passes by without consuming us. Faced with a likely scandal, many people react like a small animal that senses a wolf in the bushes: If the animal holds completely still, the wolf may not see the animal and move on.
Yes, I realize that it makes no logical sense to think that an institution might somehow be "protected" by allowing a predator to continue locating and grooming victims -- but persons feeling the hot breath of scandal may not behave logically. And we know it happens all the time: Governments routinely stamp unhappy news "top secret" in hopes of keeping it from the public. Bishops would pluck a pedophile who'd been identified in one parish and slip him into another, unsuspecting parish (although, even then, in the bad old days, the Church would frequently send the molester to some place like St. Luke's Institute in Maryland -- there were a handful of such places -- in an effort to "cure" him). In Jane Doe-3 v. White, 409 Ill.App.3d 1087, 951 N.E.2d 216 (4th Dist. 2011), it is alleged that a downstate public school district gave a "neutral" reference to a child-molesting teacher -- allowing that teacher to find another teaching job, and continued access to children, in a different district (this case is now pending before the Illinois Supreme Court).
In other words, no matter how many present and former Penn State employees are sent to jail, no matter what draconian laws are enacted in response to this tragedy, human nature will continue to operate in ways that may allow pedophiles to find, groom and molest new victims.
Rather than fight human nature, what if we work with it instead?
We can't hope to identify every sexual predator in our midst, especially when they can be among the nicest, most charming people we may know. We could shun the company of all nice people, perhaps, but that would be impractical. And unpleasant.
But we can effectively deny pedophiles the access they need to groom and prepare their victims simply by realizing that a normal, truly nice person should not want to be alone with a child not his own. If the Rev. Z wants to take the church youth group camping, and he puts out a plea for other parents to assist, and they all go off together, that's probably fine. But if, when they get there, the Rev. Z wants to take Johnny Jones, just the two of them, out on the wilderness trail for a night or two, that's not fine. That's a flashing red light, sirens-blaring warning.
I've heard parents lament that we may have to destroy our children's innocence to protect them from the far more brutal loss of innocence that occurs to victims of pedophilia. While we can't protect our children from the news, I submit we may be able to educate them about how to protect themselves without getting unduly graphic. We should teach our children that they should be wary of ever being alone with a grown-up unless it's Mom or Dad. And we can teach our children that grown-ups shouldn't keep secrets from other grownups. If Coach Y tells Junior not to tell his mother that Coach has bought him ice cream after practice, just for him, not for the other boys, because Junior is so "special," that's something Junior should tell Mom right away. At least when it comes to protecting kids from pedophiles, we don't have to scare kids unduly with warnings about 'touching that makes you uncomfortable' because if the kid reports the first time Coach Y buys him ice cream, the parent can go into protection mode before anything is likely to happen. Grooming takes time. The pedophile won't typically try something the first time he gets a child alone. Deny the pedophile that time, and thereby prevent the crime.
If Coach Y meant nothing sinister by buying Junior ice cream, he won't bristle when the parent offers to join him, next time, and buy Coach ice cream in gratitude. But if Coach Y continues to look for ways to isolate Junior, the child's parent should become more and more suspicious, and more and more vigilant. If Coach Y gets pushy about it, the parent can always call the police or DCFS.
Disclosure laws may expose sexual predators -- but only after they've harmed a child. That's too late. Realizing that "nice" people shouldn't want to be, and should certainly never troll for opportunities to be, alone with a child not their own, and acting in accordance with that realization, may protect children in the first place. A fire can't burn without oxygen. A pedophile can't harm a child without long-term private access to that child.
Additional reading: Marci A. Hamilton, The Penn State Scandal: Contrasting the School’s Approach With the Catholic Church’s Approach to Its Own Child Sex Abuse Scandal (Justia.com 11/11/11);
Tom Roberts, Abuse and cover-up: Penn State's Catholic-like scandal (National Catholic Reporter 11/10/11);
Glenn E. Rice, Judy L. Thomas, and Mark Morris, Bishop Finn avoids indictment by entering diversion program (Kansas City Star, 11/15/11)
Monday, November 14, 2011
In an email to this blog, Ferrante advises that he is busy gathering signatures on his nomination petitions and has no campaign website yet (his office website can be accessed by clicking here). Ferrante writes that he has "significantly more legal experience" than either of the other two declared 6th Subcircuit candidates, Assistant Public Defender Beatriz Santiago or Assistant State's Attorney Gregory Emmett Ahern, Jr.
A lawyer since 1983, Ferrante has been a sole practitioner since 1991. Before that, Ferrante worked for the City of Chicago as an Assistant Corporation Counsel (1983-1987) and for a number of firms, including Corboy & Demetrio (1987-1988, as a contract attorney). Ferrante received an Award for Public Service in Pro Bono and and Public Interest Service in 2005 from the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Ferrante advises that he has been rated qualified or recommended by every bar association as part of the ongoing screening process for Associate Judge (he's an applicant). He provided a copy of a summary of his ratings from the Alliance Bar Associations showing a "Well Qualified" rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a "Highly Recommended" rating from the Decalogue Society, and "Highly Qualified" ratings from both the Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.
Ahern has been an Illinois attorney since 1995. According to his website, Ahern has tried "more than 50 felony jury trials, including more than 25 first degree murder cases and hundreds of felony bench trials."
Friday, November 11, 2011
Per email received today from Brendan Scanlan, a fundraiser for Judge Lorna Propes' campaign sponsored by the Women to Elect Lorna Propes has been set for December 7, from 5:30 to 7:30pm, at Susanin's Auctions, 900 S. Clinton.
Individual tickets for the event are $150. Sponsorships are available ($250 for Supporters, $500 for Friends). To reserve tickets or for more information about the fundraiser, email email@example.com or visit this page on Judge Propes' campaign website.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tickets for the event are $125. That's the "Friend" level of sponsorship. Additional sponsorship levels are also available (Patron - $250, Supporter - $500, and Sponsor - $1,000). Appetizers will be served and there will be a cash bar. For additional information about the event, or to reserve tickets, email Maritza_For_Judge@yahoo.com.
UPDATED November 11, 2011.
The Illinois Supreme Court's recent disclosure that it will not "recall" to the Illinois bench judges who ran unsuccessfully for election to the bench has prompted the Chicago Council of Lawyers to re-examine the court's practices in this area, with a view toward recommending a process best designed to result in the appointment of quality judges. The Council of Lawyers has not considered the court's exercise of its constitutional recall power since 1993 when, unlike today, there were no selection commissions and other checks on unfettered discretion. Upon re-examination, the council is making the following recommendations to the court and the public:
• The council supports the appointment of quality judges to the bench with appropriate safeguards against political influence.
• We have had our doubts on the court's authority to make recall appointments of anyone but judges who retire in a traditional sense, but, of course, in some sense the Illinois Supreme Court can be the final arbiter of its own authority, if that authority can be supported by the court's own constitutional analysis. If its own analysis reasonably leads it to conclude that it has this power, we believe it should still make improvements with respect to appointments generally to ensure it enhances judicial merit and independence:
— Whether or not the court recalls nonelected judges, the court should state publicly a new, more transparent process of both appointing judges and recalling them.
— The court should post publicly the judicial vacancies that are to be filled and invite lawyers to submit applications.
— All Supreme Court justices should employ selection commissions and should disclose publicly the criteria upon which the commissions would make their recommendations for appointment.
— The court and the commissions should also consult the bar associations for their evaluation of applicants for appointment.
• The council has long opposed the selection of judges by popular election for many reasons, including the influence of party politics and money in judicial campaigns as well as the difficulty in providing the voting public with enough information about a typically large number of relatively obscure candidates. The council has never viewed judicial elections as a reliable means of putting quality judges on the bench and, for the same reasons, the council does not view these elections as a reliable way of evaluating the abilities of judicial candidates who, for whatever reason, did not prevail in a judicial election. Some members of the public perceive a problem with the court recalling judges that were defeated by the voters. While the council is not certain that there should be such a public perception, the council's proposals for additional transparency in the court's recall of nonelected judges should help address that problem. Moreover, with more than one-third of elected judges beginning their judicial career through appointment, additional transparency in the appointment process is all the more important. The public deserves to know the process used to both appoint and recall judges.
The council encourages the court to consider and adopt the above recommendations with respect to any process or practice the court employs to appoint or recall judges to the Illinois bench.
Gabriel A. Fuentes
President, Chicago Council of Lawyers
and Malcolm C. Rich
Executive Director, Chicago Council of Lawyers
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
For additional information about Sunday's event, see this page the candidate's website.
Image obtained from this site.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Judge Reddick was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird and was recently slated by the Cook County Democratic Party.
NTNM airs on CAN TV, Chicago Cable Channel 19, on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons; on ECTV 6 on the Evanston cable system on Tuesday and Thursday evenings; and on select suburban cable systems on Mondays. Check your local listings.
Judge Axelrood is seeking election from Cook County's 9th Judicial Subcircuit.
NTNM airs on CAN TV, Chicago Cable Channel 19, on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons; on ECTV 6 on the Evanston cable system on Tuesday and Thursday evenings; and on select suburban cable systems on Mondays. Check your local listings.
Every two years lawyers in Cook County who want to be judges come before this gathering and ask to be “slated” as the party’s preferred choice for judge in Democratic primary election March 20. The November general election is irrelevant as no Republican has won in decades.Go read the rest at suntimes.com.
Voters are more independent these days and they sometimes opt to vote for judicial candidates with prettier names — women with Irish onesdo best.
But the official party imprimatur still works wonders. Slated candidates’ names go on the palm cards that the still-strong army of precinct captains across the county pass out to voters as they walk into the polling place. Five of the 10 slated candidates won last year.
Voters can make up their own minds on governor or senator — candidates they have heard something about. But chances are they will have heard nothing about the 100-plus names of lawyers running for 16-20 judgeships until they see the ballot on Election Day. They can make their choices based the gender or ethnicity of those names, or they can look at the palm card.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Judge Clancy was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the O'Brien vacancy in Cook County's 11th Judicial Subcircuit.
A reception for Judge Clancy has been scheduled for tomorrow, November 3, from 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Flower Firm, 170 N. Racine. Tickets are $50. Sponsorships are available ($100 - Kind Citizen, $250 - Unique Citizen, $500 - Remarkable Citizen, $1,000 - Upstanding Citizen, or $5,000 - Eminent Citizen). For additional information, email INFO@ELECTJUDGECLANCY.COM.
CORRECTED November 3.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Judge Propes was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Terrell vacancy in the 7th Judicial Subcircuit. She was recently slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for a countywide vacancy.
The Propes campaign also has a Facebook page.
Every Cook County voter will have the opportunity to elect judges in 10 countywide races. If past experience accurately predicts the near future, most, if not all, of these races will be effectively decided in the March 2012 Democratic primary election. Persons taking Republican or non-partisan primary ballots in March, or persons sitting the primary out, may find that they have no say in who becomes a judge in Cook County, Illinois.
For better maps and accurate descriptions of the boundaries of each subcircuit, visit this page of the Illinois State Board of Elections website.
In support of this serious charge, Cohen cites to this study (.pdf document) by New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Justice at Stake Campaign. Cohen writes that the study, entitled The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2009-2010, "found that a small group of super spenders plays the biggest role, using their money to buy the kind of judges they want hearing their cases. These super spenders are the usual suspects: mainly big business, corporate lobbyists, and trial lawyers." This matters, Cohen writes, because "as money floods into judicial elections, we are getting courts that are filled with judges whose first loyalty is not to justice — or to the general public — but to insurance companies, big business and other special interests."
The New Politics report focuses on high-profile, high court elections (the 2010 Illinois and Iowa Supreme Court retention contests feature prominently). Special interest money; attack ads; unfair, single-issue, partisan politics -- all of these have the potential to corrupt, and surely corrode, the judicial election process. Cohen writes, "The American ideal of justice requires neutral judges, whose only commitment is to the law." It's hard to argue with that. But how do we achieve this desired goal? Cohen notes that some suggest public financing of judicial elections but, he cautions, it is uncertain whether schemes along these lines would survive scrutiny by the United States Supreme Court. Cohen adds:
Many reformers think that the answer lies in ending the direct election of judges, and switching to a system (which some states already have) of appointing judges. That takes away the problem of elections, but special interests can shift their strategy to lobbying governors to appoint sympathetic judges.In other words, why spend money to elect four justices when all you need is a single governor?
I don't believe -- I can't believe -- our judicial system has been compromised to the extent claimed by critics such as Mr. Cohen or the authors of the New Politics study. I concede there is always a danger from creeping partisanship fueled by unthinking political spending. But I believe the best defense against special interest money corrupting the judicial election process is an attentive, informed electorate.
And there's something else that should give the big-spending special interests pause: I understand that special interests would love to know that a given judge will always rule in their favor every time one of their cases goes to court. There's no way to guarantee this, however, without committing outright bribery. Short of the actual commission of a felony, even the most spineless, pliant jurist might get confused, in a given case, over which contributors should get preference. After all, successful political campaigns require the building of coalitions from sometimes conflicting interests. Sometimes these conflicts will burble up in court.
As a practicing lawyer, however, I can suggest a fallback position -- and a legal one at that. I want the judges before whom I appear to be intelligent, knowledgeable, courteous, practical, fair and impartial. That won't guarantee me 'victory' in any given case, but it will ensure an honest, respectful hearing. I won't be happy about it, but I and my clients can more readily accept an adverse result in a case that we know was fully and fairly considered. The most special special interests should want nothing more. If the special interests really want to "buy" justice, they should invest in campaigns for judges that can't be bought.