Monday, May 28, 2012

Pictures from today's Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade

The annual Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade wound its way through the neighborhood earlier today. The Edison Park American Legion and the American Flag Coalition led the way.

You can't have a parade in Chicago without politicians. Groups for State Senator John Mulroe (D-10) Ald. Mary O'Connor (D-41) represented the Democrats at the front of the parade; groups for County Commissioner Peter Silvestri (17th) and State Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-20) represented the Republicans at the front of the parade.

Cook County Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Frank Avila was further back in the parade, but we'll keep all the politicians together in this post.

But it wouldn't be much of a parade without a grand marshal, motorcycles, marching bands....

Want more? Turn to page two.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Judge Thomas J. Carroll appointed to Felton vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Thomas J. Carroll to the countywide vacancy created by the recent death of Judge Donna Phelps Felton.

Judge Carroll's appointment became effective last Friday and will expire on December 1, 2014. At the time of this appointment, Judge Carroll was serving on the bench by appointment to the McSweeney Moore vacancy in Cook County's 3rd Subcircuit.

Judge Carroll was one of several candidates to file for the McSweeney Moore vacancy in the March primary, but Carroll and all the other hopefuls in that race withdrew in favor of Daniel R. Degnan, Executive Director of the Cook County Employee Pension Fund and the son of former state senator and one-time director of the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Timothy F. Degnan. Daniel R. Degnan was unopposed in March; he face no opposition in November.

Prior to his initial elevation to the bench, Judge Carroll was a criminal defense attorney. He has also worked as an Assistant Public Defender.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sixty Cook County Judges file for November retention ballot

Sixty Cook County Circuit Court Judges elected or retained in 2006 have filed to appear on the retention ballot in the November 2012 general election, according to information furnished by the Illinois Secretary of State.

The last day for a judge to provide a declaration of candidacy was May 6, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

If normal patterns hold, some of these jurists will withdraw their retention bids between now and the election. Three of the judges on this list are serving on the Appellate Court; two, Maureen Elizabeth Connors and P. Scott Neville, Jr., won their respective races in the March Democratic Primary and face no opposition in November. They are likely to withdraw their retention bids. On the other hand, Judge Stuart E. Palmer was assigned by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on the Appellate Court. He would have to be retained in office as a Circuit Court Judge in order to continue in his assignment on the Appellate Court.

Also on the list of judges currently seeking retention is Cynthia Brim. Currently, Judge Brim has been removed from all judicial duties by order of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The suspension came after Judge Brim was arrested at the Daley Center, charged with allegedly shoving a Cook County Sheriff's deputy and tossing a set of keys at a security checkpoint.

One Justice of the Appellate Court, James Fitzgerald Smith, has filed for retention in the First Appellate District (Cook County). Several downstate Appellate Court justices have also filed for retention, Tom M. Lytton and Daniel L. Schmidt (3rd District), John Turner (4th District), and Melissa Ann Chapman (5th District). No Supreme Court Justice will be on the retention ballot in Cook County; Justice Rita B. Garman has filed for retention in the downstate 4th District.

A complete list of Cook County Circuit Court Judges who have filed for retention in November follows:
  • Martin S. Agran
  • Patricia Banks
  • Ronald F. Bartkowicz
  • Carole Kamin Bellows
  • Maura Slattery Boyle
  • Daniel Patrick Brennan
  • Cynthia Brim
  • Rodney Hughes Brooks
  • Mary Margaret Brosnahan
  • Robert Lopez Cepero
  • Gloria Chevere
  • Matthew E. Coghlan
  • Maureen Elizabeth Connors
  • Grace G. Dickler
  • Christopher Donnelly
  • Loretta Eadie-Daniels
  • James D. Egan
  • Kathy M. Flanagan
  • Ellen L. Flannigan
  • Peter Flynn
  • Raymond Funderburk
  • Joyce Marie Murphy Gorman
  • Catherine Marie Haberkorn
  • Orville E. Hambright
  • Pamela E. Hill Veal
  • Carol M. Howard
  • Garritt E. Howard
  • Michael J. Howlett, Jr.
  • Anthony A. Iosco
  • Moshe Jacobius
  • Edward R. Jordan
  • Paul A. Karkula
  • Joseph G. Kazmierski, Jr.
  • Stuart F. Lubin
  • Marvin P. Luckman
  • Marcia Maras
  • Jill C. Marisie
  • James Michael McGing
  • Mike McHale
  • James Patrick Murphy
  • Thomas W. Murphy
  • Lisa Ruble Murphy
  • Marya Nega
  • P. Scott Neville, Jr.
  • Patrick W. "Pat" O'Brien
  • Joan Margaret O'Brien
  • Ramon Ocasio III
  • Stuart E. Palmer
  • Lee Preston
  • Mary Colleen Roberts
  • Thomas David Roti
  • Drella C. Savage
  • Colleen F. Sheehan
  • Diane M. Shelley
  • Bill Taylor
  • James M. Varga
  • Carl Anthony Walker
  • Richard F. Walsh
  • Camille E. Willis
  • E. Kenneth Wright, Jr.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

FWIW among this year's Kogan Award winners

The Chicago Bar Association's 23rd Annual Herman Kogan Media Awards were handed out Wednesday, May 9 at a luncheon at Petterinos in Chicago's Loop. WLS-TV anchor Ron Magers served as the keynote speaker.

Tribune reporters David Jackson and Gary Marx were honored in the print category for their series "Fugitives from Justice," about criminals who have fled overseas to avoid prosecution. In addition to the Kogan award, "Fugitives from Justice" has received the Watchdog Award for Excellence in Public Interest Reporting from the Chicago Headline Club and a Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. "Fugitives from Justice" was also a finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize in the investigative reporting category.

Mark Suppelsa and Marsha Bartel of WGN-TV received a Kogan Award for their broadcast series "Pension Games," a multimedia series (in conjunction with the Chicago Tribune) that exposed waste and fraud in the state pension system. The "Pension Games" series has also won two Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Investigative Reporting from the Better Government Association.

The third Kogan Award winner, in the online category, was yours truly. Photographic evidence is supplied above for the understandably skeptical. The particular post singled out was "In defense of the Supreme Court's recent practice of recalling appointed judges who've lost in a primary election."

In addition to the three Kogan Awards, the CBA gave out three Meritorious Achievement Awards on Wednesday.

John Marshall Law School Professor and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin columnist Timothy P. O'Neill was given a Meritorious Achievement Award for his anti-death penalty column, "Some Advice: Let's Leave Well Enough Alone."

Angela Caputo of the Chicago Reporter received a Meritorious Achievement Award for "Out at First," about the Chicago Housing Authority's "one strike policy" of seeking the eviction of families when any person residing with that family is accused of any crime. "Out at First" won a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the category of Public Service in Magazine Journalism (Regional/Local Circulation) and a Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club in the category of general-interest publication, circulation less than 20,000.

The third Meritorious Achievement Award went to Cate Cahan and Robert Wildeboer of WBEZ Radio for the series, "Whatever Happened to Marcus?" This series also received a Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club in the radio category.

The Herman Kogan Media Awards are named for the late Chicago newsman Herman Kogan. A reporter, feature writer, columnist and editor at various times with the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, and the old Daily News, Kogan also won three Emmys during a mid-1960's stint as assistant general manager of news at WFLD. Along the way, Kogan also hosted two programs on WFMT radio, "Critics Choice" and "Writing and Writers."

Kogan was the author of several books on Chicago themes including Big Bill of Chicago, a biography of William Hale Thompson (with Lloyd Wendt); Lords of the Levee: the Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink (also with Wendt -- also released under the title Bosses in Lusty Chicago: the Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink) and The Great Fire, Chicago, 1871 (with Robert Cromie).

The First Century, the story of the Chicago Bar Association's first 100 years, was a solo effort.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Forgetfulness may not be a sign of aging, just the result of a change of venue

A colleague told me recently that while driving to work he'd thought of a long list of things to accomplish but -- just as soon as he set foot in his office -- he couldn't remember anything on his list. "I must be getting old," he complained.

A note by Marc Silver in the "Next" section of this month's National Geographic provides a happier explanation. He writes of research published by Notre Dame's Gabe Radvansky that suggests that people simply don't remember things as well when they cross through a doorway. Silver summarizes Professor Radvansky's conclusion: "Change of venue makes the brain 'push old stuff out and focus on what's going on now,' a good strategy for cavemen heading from forest to field."

Radvansky's paper, which was published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, may be accessed here. Another summary of Radvansky's work, by Susan Guibert, can be found on the Notre Dame website.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Is pulling down an opponent's campaign signs a crime?

The answer to this question (and all lawyers out there are invited to say it along with me) is: It depends. Let me explain.

The possible pilfering of campaign signs is in the news today because of an article by Jeremy Gorner in today's Chicago Tribune, about the arrest of Carl Boyd on the night before the March 20 primary.

Boyd was the winner of the Democratic Primary for Circuit Court Judge in Cook County's 2nd Judicial Subcircuit. He faces no opposition on the ballot in November.

Quoting from the linked Tribune article:
According to a police report, a Chicago police sergeant spotted Boyd removing [Chester] Slaughter campaign signs and placing them in the trunk of his 2000 BMW near 119th and Halsted streets early on March 19. [Slaughter was one of Boyd's three primary opponents.]

Police reported recovering 12 of Slaughter's campaign signs from Boyd's car.

Boyd was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge, booked at the Calumet District police lockup and released later in the morning after posting $200 in cash for bail.
What's missing from this account is an essential element that might make Mr. Boyd's alleged conduct into a crime.

I have no opinion as to whether Mr. Boyd did or did not do something in violation of the law.

However, in 1984, in Members of the City Council of the City of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 104 S.Ct. 2118, 80 L.Ed.2d 772, the United States Supreme Court upheld a city ordinance that prohibited the erection of campaign signs on public property. Most cities and villages in Cook County also have some sign ordinance prohibiting campaign signs on public property; some even have provisions that purportedly allow municipalities to bill campaigns whose signs are removed from streetlights or public parkways by public employees. In this sense, signs on lampposts or posted at intersections may be considered abandoned and might be removed by anyone.

On the other hand, uprooting and removing a campaign sign planted by a homeowner in his or her own front lawn might very well constitute misdemeanor theft.

In other words, if Candidate A is pulled over by the police and is found to have a whole bunch of Candidate B's signs in the back seat, it may look a tad unseemly -- but where those signs came from is the key factor in determining whether Candidate A has committed a crime.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Judge's daughter in the running for Miss USA

Beauty contests are beyond the usual scope of this blog, but a Facebook message this evening got me looking into the upcoming Miss USA Pageant.

The next Miss USA will be crowned June 3 in a live NBC television broadcast. To boost interest in the contest, the pageant organizers are running an online election: Anyone can vote for their favorite Miss USA contestant; the winner is guaranteed a place among the pageant semifinalists.

The Illinois representative in the Miss USA contest (shown above) is Ashley Hooks; her proud father is Cook County Circuit Court Judge William H. Hooks. It was Judge Hooks who sent me the Facebook message this evening, looking to spread the word about his daughter's Miss USA bid. "People can vote on line up to 10 times per day, per email account," Judge Hooks wrote. Voting is underway now, and continues through June 2 at noon ET. Votes can be taken at this link or on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Too much enthusiasm over Osama's anniversary?

There were an awful lot of Westerns on TV when I was a kid (and I watched nearly as much television as the Bill Murray character in Scrooged) -- Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Bonanza.... There were a lot of old Western movies on TV, too -- with John Wayne, of course, but also Alan Ladd or Randolph Scott; Gene Autry and Roy Rogers were always singing on one channel or another.

So I imbibed a heady draught of what I'll call the Western Ethos. Among these principles is that, sometimes, a man is so evil or so corrupt, and the law is so weak or unavailable, the bad guy simply can't be arrested and brought to justice. The hero is forced to take the law into his own hands, and he does what needs doin'.

The important thing is that the hero is not happy about it. It's the grizzled prospector or the comely schoolmarm who tries to offer comfort, if not absolution, just before the end credits roll: "If ever a man needed killin', that one did."

Maybe the hero can stay on as Sheriff, or become Sheriff -- but not to start his own reign of terror, but rather to bring law and order and schools and churches and marriageable ladies into town, to bring the blessings of civilization and the Rule of Law to the hitherto untamed frontier. Maybe, like Gary Cooper in High Noon, he's so disgusted, not just by what his alleged friends and neighbors didn't do, but by what he himself had to do, that he takes off the badge forever and goes off to start a ranch someplace.

Everyone thinks that Jimmy Stewart's character, in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, is the man who rid Shinbone of its most feared outlaw. The naive lawyer rises rapidly in politics after the showdown, eventually becoming senator from the new state that he helped to hew from the wilderness.

Only he's not the man everyone thinks he is. He knew what really happened, and so did his wife (played by Vera Miles), and so (of course) did John Wayne. Towards the end of Stewart's career, the Stewart and Miles characters come back to Shinbone for Wayne's funeral, and Stewart tries to set the record straight. But, as the newspaperman tells him at the end, "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The point is that Stewart neither wanted nor deserved the accolades heaped on him as a result of the death of Liberty Valance; he took no satisfaction from it.

This brings us to Osama bin Laden. It is an article of faith for me, as an American lawyer, that "justice" can not be meted out with helicopters and Navy SEALs and firefights. Yet, as an American realist, steeped in the cultural values I absorbed through a small-screen black and white TV, I can't help but agree that, "If ever a man needed killin', that one did."

It's just not a cause for celebration. And the man who did what needed doin' should never, ever be perceived as gloating about it. For that reason, surely, President Obama is ill-served by some supporters who recently 'questioned' whether Gov. Romney would have given the order to 'take out' Osama.

In one clip I heard, Gov. Romney was 'accused' of expressing concern (back in 2007) about violating Pakistani sovereignty in pursuit of bin Laden, and that he should be made to 'explain' himself. Well, no explanation is required.

In 2007 most of us thought bin Laden might be hiding in caves on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border; we had no idea that he had built himself a compound for himself in the shadow of a Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad, a city of about 500,000 just 60 miles or so away from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Jane Perlez, in an article posted on the New York Times website one year ago today, reported that, "In an ironic twist, the academy [next door to the bin Laden compound] was visited just last month by the Pakistani military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, where he proclaimed that Pakistan had 'cracked' the forces of terrorism, an assessment that was greeted with skepticism in Washington."

Until we knew that the Pakistani government was either deliberately covering up bin Laden's presence or so incompetent that it could not find him in plain sight, everyone was right to be concerned about possibly violating an ally's sovereign territory. Once we knew bin Laden's whereabouts, however, we also knew that we could not inform our gallant Pakistani ally in advance of any raid. Prior notice would almost guarantee bin Laden's successful escape. Nevertheless, sending troops across a national border without permission is called an invasion; it is an act of war. There was, accordingly, even at that late stage, extremely good reason to be concerned about sending in SEAL Team Six. Fortunately, it was in the best interests of both the United States and Pakistan to make nice with each other after the fact -- President Obama, according to an AP account by Kimberly Dozier and David Espo, was careful to stress that he called Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari after the raid to brief him on what had already happened. Pakistan accepted the President's explanation, at least to the extent that we are not now in a state of war with that nation.

In the western movies, the good guy who is forced to take out the bad guy is scarred by his act, not enthused. He knows he's done something to prevent greater wrongs in the future, but only by committing a wrong himself. The townspeople may be grateful, but the hero can not fully accept their cheers. He must live with what he has done. So too must President Obama. I am certain that the President must have agonized about authorizing the mission. He did what he did with resolve, yes, but also with regret -- and any man or woman worthy of the title of President of the United States would have been similarly stressed in those same circumstances. The President's more bloodthirsty supporters need to be reined in; their misguided enthusiasm diminishes all of us.