Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Judge suspended for letting judicial candidate decide cases

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced this afternoon that, pursuant to action taken today by the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Judge Valarie E. Turner has been temporarily reassigned to duties other than judicial duties in the office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. The assignment is effective until further notice.

According to the Chief Judge's press release, Judge Turner allegedly allowed attorney Rhonda Crawford, a law clerk/staff attorney employed with the Office of the Chief Judge, "to adjudicate at least two cases from the bench while wearing a judicial robe in Judge Turner’s courtroom." Crawford has likewise been suspended without pay from her current job, according to the Chief Judge's press release.

Rhonda Crawford's name should be familiar to FWIW readers: This past March, Crawford defeated two other candidates, including a judge sitting pursuant to Supreme Court appointment, for the Hopkins vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit. Crawford faced no Republican opponent in November. She was on track to assume judicial office for real on the first Monday in December.

And now...?

Crawford did not participate in either the CBA or Alliance candidate screenings and was unanimously rated not qualified or not recommended as a result.

An image of the Order entered by the Circuit Court today on this matter follows below (click to enlarge or clarify):

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG Jack. You can have gaps in your blog but you get on the case when breaking news occurs. Kudos. I just read your post and my naturally curly hair is straight. Might need to buy a wig tonight. Black Lady Who Reads.

Anonymous said...

No harm, no foul. Since the moratorium on capital punishment, what could really go wrong?

So someone is adopted by less than stellar parents. Who among us who were raised by our biological parents didn't question their parenting skills from time to time. My mother smoked a pack of Camels and had 3 martinis at lunch when she was carrying me, and I graduated in the top 85% of my law class at the Abe Fortas School of Law and Interior Design (ABA accreditation, pending).

And what is the big deal really with being wrongly convicted? I don't know about you, but I am tired of the daily grind and would love a few months rest at ole 26th & Cal. Sure they filled in the swimming pool years ago, but since Preckwinkle Pressed Meats won the no-bid baloney contract, I understand the fellas have never been happier. Scabies, schmabies, I could use a rest and three squares on the taxpayers for a couple of months.

And let's be honest, when great-grandma put Johnny in her will she did not think that he'd still be living in his parent's basement at age 37 playing video games. So will anyone really be hurt when someone poses as a judge, puts on a robe and tells you that your legal theory is made up because she can't find "per herpes" in Black's Law Dictionary.

Truth be told, everyone a judge rules (whether they are real or just a make believe lawyer posing as a judge), on average statistically the worst you can do by guessing at rulings is 50% success rate, and batting 500 is pretty dang good in baseball. Circuit judges work with a safety net anyway. If they make the wrong decision and, for example, deny the people of the state to put referenda on the ballot, you still have the appellate court and the supremes to clean up your mess.

In fact, the more I think about this story, I really think that letting non-judges take over the bench for a few hours while the real judge is on Zappos.com, might not be a bad idea. If I had a dollar for every time I sat in a courtroom and disagreed with a judge's ruling, I'd have enough to pay the forty grand to get slated and have a few thousand bucks left over to toss a bone to a worthless consultant.

Cook County needs to stop being a national laughing stock. Why shouldn't diversity on the bench include non-judges? I mean, I always heard you don't even need to be a priest to be made Pope.

Anonymous said...

720 ILCS 5/17-2 (b)(2)
(b) False personation; public officials and employees. A person commits a false personation if he or she knowingly and falsely represents himself or herself to be any of the following:

(2) A public officer or a public employee ….

(b-5) The trier of fact may infer that a person falsely represents himself or herself to be a public officer or a public employee or an official or employee of the federal government if the person:
(1) wears or displays without authority any uniform, badge, insignia, or facsimile thereof by which a public officer or public employee or official or employee of the federal government is lawfully distinguished; or
(2) falsely expresses by word or action that he or she is a public officer or public employee or official or employee of the federal government and is acting with approval or authority of a public agency or department.

(f) Sentence.
(3) A violation of paragraph … (b)(2), … is a Class A misdemeanor.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will happen to anybody.

Anonymous said...

A Cook County judge asking a non-judge to put on a robe and do their call for them -- this sounds so familiar. Oh yeah, that's right, Judge Ray Sodini used to do that too, at least until he was indicted as part of OPERATION GREYLORD. You’re in great company there Judge Turner.

Anonymous said...

In the old days judges sitting in the bum courts would let the court sergeants put on the robes and hear cases - at least according to legend. But now, how stupid can you be? What an idiot. Just a disgrace to the bench. Staying anonymous for now, but at 23:59 4 December 2016 might have a few more comments.

Anonymous said...

The lack of common sense, disregard of ethics, and poor judgement demonstrated by Judge Turner and judicial candidate Valarie Turner is mind numbing.

Whenever a Judge does something incredibly stupid or demonstrates profoundly bad judgment I am curious to know how the all-wise and all-knowing bar associations evaluated that judge. I was able to locate all of Judge Turner's CBA evaluations: In 2002, when she first ran for office, she did not participate in the CBA evaluation process. In both 2008 and 2014, the CBA found her Qualified for retention. I was able to locate one CCL evaluation from 2014, in which she was also found Qualified. I was unable to locate any archived Alliance bar member evaluations, however, I would bet she was found qualified by the majority (if not all) of the members. How could this judge be found Qualified and yet demonstrate such incredibly poor judgement? What does that say about the CBA and CCL?

Bar associations do not employ a fundamentally sound process in determining whether or not a judicial candidate or sitting judge is actually "Qualified" or "Recommended" for the bench. It is a disservice to the voters to imply otherwise.

And now...?

I believe that impersonating a judge is a felony. Turner should be charged, and if convicted, should lose her law license and not be allowed to take the bench. Judge Turner needs to respond to a JIB complaint, and if convicted before the Illinois Courts Commission, lose her judgeship. Finally, the Bar Associations need to stop deceiving voters by promoting their evaluations as a reliable guide in determining suitability and competency for the bench.

Jack Leyhane said...

@Anon 8-17 9:39:

I wasn't covering this beat in 2002 so I can't speak to Judge Turner's ratings that year (when she was elected from the 2nd Subcircut).

But my archives show that in 2008, Judge Turner was found Qualified or Recommended for retention by the CBA and by every Alliance bar association except the Chicago Council of Lawyers. (2008 Retention election Alliance post; 2008 Retention election CBA post)

In 2014, Judge Turner was found Recommended or Qualified for retention by the CBA and every Alliance bar group. (2014 Retention election CBA post; 2014 Retention election Alliance post)

Anonymous said...


I agree with earlier post. Nothing will happen, or minor admonishment.

This was a double "what were you thinking? moment. How they both agreed this was a good idea is beyond me. Even as a lawyer who defends criminals, I don't know how I'd spin this one to the jury. Dementia? Carbon monoxide leak? Threw too many back at lunch? Ah, got it! Fearing Trump would be elected and the ensuing apocalypse would prevent Crawford from ever sitting on the bench, a benelovent Turner allowed Crawford to briefly take the helm. It's like the Make A Wish kids who get to wear the police badge or sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. Make this in response to Trump, and no democratic prosecutor or JIB panel will do a thing, lest they look pro-Trump.

Sam Adams, Jr., or Ed Genson, you have my permission to use this one ... Just hope you're not assigned to Zagel.

Anonymous said...

What happened here absolutely defies explanation, so why try. What comes to my mind however, is the Cook County Bar Association. Why you might ask?

Immediately after Gloria "I don't want to see your underwear" Chevere was pulled from the Bench for locking up African Americans for not pulling up their droopy pants; the Cook County Bar Association issued a press release condemning her actions. Oh, they were livid at Chevere. So, when an African American Judge and an African American law clerk engage in unfathomably stupid and unethical conduct in a Courtroom that overwhelmingly serves the African American community the Cook County Bar Association is silent. How hypocritical they are.

Maybe it would get their attention if an appointed African American Judge allegedly tried to bite the finger off of his ex-fiancee to get his ring back and not disclose the following civil and criminal matters it would get their attention? Probably not. Total hypocrites through and through.

Anonymous said...

Top 10 most likely explanations for the Markham Shuffle:

10. Didn’t think a Cook County judge showing up to work would be national news.

9. Legal opinion e-mailed by Patrick Murphy that strongly discouraged the switch went straight to spam folder.

8. Saw it done once on episode of “Night Court.”

7. Wanted Crawford to experience job dissatisfaction while she still had time to back out.

6. Un-retained campaign consultant said it was a tradition in the 1st Judicial Subcircuit and promised that no one would notice.

5. Tom Allen admits that he may have mistakenly called the script from the 1958 film “The Switch” starring Lana Turner and Joan Crawford a “Supreme Court Order,” and apologizes if this incident caused Tim Evans any adverse publicity.

4. “Law clerk” and $55,000 salary did not sound good on mortgage application.

3. One day promotion allows Crawford to now retire five years early under obscure pension rule never before used by someone living outside the 13th ward.

2. Crawford believed ex-Congressman Mel Reynolds when he said he could get her a recess appointment if she let him sleep in her garage.

1. Pethers sent memo on Evans’ letterhead saying it was ok.

Anonymous said...

Judge Turner may well plead precedent for her behavior.

Justice David Davis (March 9, 1815 – June 26, 1886) was a United States Senator from Illinois and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. He also served as Abraham Lincoln's campaign manager at the 1860 Republican National Convention, along with Ward Hill Lamon, one of Lincoln's former law partners who served as the President's primary bodyguard during the American Civil War. Davis and Lamon, along with another Lincoln associate, Leonard Swett, helped engineer Lincoln's nomination.

Educated at Kenyon College and Yale University, Davis settled in Bloomington, Illinois in the 1830s, where he practiced law. He served in the Illinois legislature and as a delegate to the state constitutional convention before becoming a state Judge in 1848. Lincoln practiced law in his court. They rode the same circuit together. It has been documented that Judge Davis for whatever reason would at times recuse himself and put Lincoln in his place as judge. Lincoln was never a member of the judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Is somebody spiking judges Kool Aid? Judge Santiago got censured trying to be slick. Judge Turner gets brain freeze. Judge Pethers has a bad attitude. Judge Murphy sends crazy emails. I demand a psych test for all judges. Black Lady Who Reads.

Anonymous said...

Note to Anon 12:46: Black Lady Who Reads is calling you out for your "peak pettiness". So go buy an urban dictionary because I'm doing "clap", "whelp" and "word" on you. Jack says keep it civil on his blog. Everybody's invited to Jack's "party" including you but you cannot bring the potato salad (it's a black thang). I don't want to get into a 'p' match with you because everyone has a right to their opinion and I have a right to tell you that I have a problem with yours. I am "side-eyeing" and "Mollywhopping" you. But you need to keep your 'what black people should do' attitude at your house. Keep your mouth shut. You don't get the privilege to tell black people or black organizations what they can and cannot say or what they can or cannot write. That plantation is closed. We don't need to call out everything somebody black does because people like you can't wait to do it for us. Or to us. Is it possible you or yours got dinged by that bar association? It's possible they saw through your "perpetrations". You're the hypocrite. I had to go buy Eco-style, olive oil, shea butter and argan oil, just to get in formation in order to hopefully stop you from singing your loony tunes. You don't get the 'privilege' (code black) of telling black people when to talk, how to write, who to support. Nothing. "We the black people", are free to pick our topics. Nothing was said regarding Judge Turner's or the lawyer's race. But you--only you had to point it out. So put on your Lochte speedos and go swim in some hot water to cleanse yourself. All I can do now is pray my "Petty Jesus" prayer because you need to stop: "Oh, heavenly Petty Jesus, may all of Anon 12:46 traffic lights always be red".

Anonymous said...

Speaking of bar associations - I believe Ms. Crawford is a past Board Member of the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, and prior to running for judge herself, sat on their Judicial Evaluation Committee. She had a hand in determining whether or not other judicial candidates were qualified or recommended for the bench. How ironic is that?

On another note - I just read Judge Santiago gets to keep her job and face no real discipline after committing acts that would cause the Attorney General to prosecute any one of us for mortgage fraud. Yep, as others have stated, NOTHING will happen to Turner and Crawford. And the bar associations will continue with their worthless judicial evaluations. And the Supreme Court will continue to appoint political hacks under smoke and mirror fake (Theis) processes. AND every honest hard working attorney that follows the rules can come to this Blog and let off a little steam from time to time. AND then, after we read this post, we can read the next post where elite judges get together and give each other awards and pat each other on the back and all agree how great they all are.

Lobo Y Olla said...

Anonymous said...

What happened here absolutely defies explanation, so why try. What comes to my mind however, is the Cook County Bar Association. Why you might ask?

I think a better example (rather than the Judge Bates finger bite)for the CCBA "double standard" is withdrawing Alvarez's chief of staff's "recommended" rating after they lost the election. This is, by my internal scale, several orders of magnitude worse.

Anonymous said...

There is some precedent for this, albeit in dicta and from another jurisdiction. In a 1963 episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" entitled "The Pickle," Sheriff Taylor, who was also Justice of the Peace, was supposed to judge the "best pickle" contest at the Mayberry Founding Fathers weekend. Lo and behold, Aunt Bea and her best friend, Clara Edwards were tied for first place, and Andy needed to break the tie. Because of his conflict of interest, Andy appointed Otis Campbell, the town drunk (referred to in today's vernacular as "a person living with substance dependency")to serve as Justice of the Peace for one day. Otis chose Clara as the winner, but an astute Aunt Bea moved to nullify the decision because Otis was never duly sworn. Thelma Lou's cousin was a Justice of the Peace in Mount Pilot and he came to Mayberry to settle the dispute. He ruled that given Andy's conflict, it was the right thing to do to recuse himself, and that since Andy and Otis had the best intentions, that the real issue was not whether Otis had been sworn, but whether he believed he that the authority and whether Andy believed he could appoint him for one day.

Now I know that not of this means squat, but the outcome of that particular episode made everyone happy -- Aunt Bea and Clara even hugged at the end and Bea conceded Clara's pickles were better. In other words, life is too complex these days. Maybe Evans should tell them never to do it again and we can all pretend like enabling parents that it never happened.

By the way, I couldn't find any real story where such buffoonery as the Markham Shuffle was condoned, so I made up the above Mayberry episode similar to the way Parillo cites non-existent case law to new judges. When the law and facts aren't in your favor, make s*** up.

Anonymous said...

No matter if an organization is comprised of predominantly black, white, or members of any ethnic group; they should not employ double standards. It is in no way racist, discriminatory, or bigoted for observers to scrutinize their actions.

Fair and non-politically biased judicial evaluations are extremely important - not only to the public at large but to the individuals who submit themselves to the evaluation process. These individuals are entitled to fairness. Professional careers and life paths are affected. Furthermore, the same can be said for scathing press releases critical of a judge's performance.

I for one honestly believe that the CCBA has shown themselves to be biased in their actions. Although they are the subject of several posts herein, they by no means the only biased bar association. Scrutinizing the CCBA in relation to the Turner/Crawford issue is a dialogue and discussion that has merit and hopefully something beneficial will result. If nothing more, at least awareness is raised. I often think the same thing after Supreme Court (usually Justice Theis) judicial appointments. I ponder when will the light
go on in her head and she finally gets it. Maybe the light has, and she does get it, but just does not care.

I understand and enjoy most of the humor found on this blog. It is all mostly in good fun. But it should be put to the side sometimes. This is an incredibly serious happening. Ignorant black ethnic street lingo from the Lady who Reads or silly Sheriff Taylor stories are not appropriate. As an attorney for almost 30 years who makes my living in and out of the Cook County courtrooms I am truly distressed with the Turner/Crawford issue. I do not like seeing my Judges or law clerks from the Office of the Chief Judge/judicial candidates as subjects of negative newspaper stories and editorials. It brings every one of us that has an ARDC card down.

Anonymous said...

Note to Lobo, aka road running friend of Anon 12:46 : Black Lady Who Reads calling you and your buddy out for the last time. Jack's blog is sacred and it gives me plenty of laughs and information. But as far as you two are concerned, I've been hearing these 'Whistling Dixie' rants all my life. We get it--you can't get over the hump. So many tears that I'm drowning. So the most I can do is continue to pray to Petty Jesus. This time for both of you. See, Petty Jesus isn't like the Real Jesus who could easily place boils on your butts or have locusts fly in your faces. Petty Jesus doesn't want anything bad to happen to either of you. Petty Jesus told me to just make you a pot of greens, bake some sweet potatoes and corn bread, introduce both of you to rap with Rachel Dolezal (since neither of you can tell the difference anyway), play James Brown and have my Harriet Tubman spiritual side ignore your nonsense about the Cook County Bar and Black Women Lawyers. Then Petty Jesus wants me to ride the train of freedom far away from both of you. Therefore, "Thank you Petty Jesus for freeing me from Anon 12:46 and his teary eyed Lobo friend and let me ride the train of freedom far away from those two whiners. In the name of the Petty Father, the Petty Son and the Sweet Holy Petty Spirit Amen, Amen". (Note to Black Lady Who Reads,
this is Petty Jesus answering your prayer to let you know I heard you girl, I will take care of Anon 12:46 and Lobo, I got this. Because in the words of Miss Celie, "til you do right by me, everything you think gonna crumble").

Lobo Y Olla said...

@Black Lady Who Reads

It's always helpful to us commenters when people comment on our posts as written. They're my words; I chose them. My comment made no mention of race, and race has no part in supporting the gravamen of my argument.
Go ahead, read it again.

My point is (and has been), if you (CCBA)can remove a "qualified" rating for a reason not worth making public (a la Alvarez's Chief of Staff, AND fail to act when a reason is very much public (a la Turner/Crawford)haven't you lost all credibility as a reviewing association? Would you expect this kind of behavior from Angie's list? CCBA dues cost more than Angie's list BTW.

Now, care to comment?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely CCBA loses credibility! The organization also has a history of handing out "negative" ratings simply to help one of their own politically. So much for objective and ethical review of potential candidates. Let's face it, the Alliance is "rigged" to help friends and bury perceived threats.