Friday, September 30, 2022

Puerto Rican Bar Association seeks Spanish-speaking volunteers to help newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers

The Puerto Rican Bar Association is asking that this information be shared:
The National Immigrant Justice Center is in need of immediate help from volunteer attorneys in helping newly arrived immigrants and asylum seekers who continue to arrive from Texas.

NIJC is looking for Spanish Speaking pro-bono attorneys for in-person shifts at the reception center on the north side of Chicago starting immediately. Volunteer spots are open for the first two weeks of October. The NJIC is asking potential volunteers to begin by completing this jotform.

The PRBA stresses that potential volunteers should realize that "this is a rapid response, this is an evolving project and volunteers with patience and flexibility are appreciated."

The PRBA's alert advises, "Due to space constraints at this time, Spanish fluency is required. It is also important to know that given the circumstances social distancing has not been possible. More logistical details will be provided at training sessions."

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Judge Ann Finley Collins comes forward

In connection with ratings issued by the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening and various members thereof, FWIW has reported that two Circuit Court candidates were not recommended for retention on account of their failure to participate in the Alliance's screening process.

One of these two judges has recently advised the Illinois State Board of Elections that he is withdrawing his candidacy as a retention candidate; he has in fact submitted his resignation.

The other is Judge Ann Finley Collins.

Judge Collins contacted FWIW recently to advise that she, too, was seriously considering retirement as the current retention cycle got underway. When contacted about participation in the Alliance screening process, Collins advised that she would not participate since she was planning to retire.

But, Collins explained in a telephone interview Monday, as the deadline for filing for retention drew near, she realized that personal financial considerations made retirement in 2022 inadvisable. So, at the last moment, on May 5, 2022, Collins changed her mind and filed for retention.

The records of the Illinois Secretary of State (with whom declarations of intent to seek retention must be filed) confirm that Collins was one of the last Cook County judges to file for retention.

In this unusual election cycle, the Alliance made a decision early on to evaluate retention candidates first, before conducting evaluations of candidates running in the June primary. The Alliance acknowledged that it would be under unusual time pressures because of the late primary; the subsequent announcement of a new associate judge selection process only heightened those time pressures.

Sources in the Alliance have confirmed that screening questionnaires went out to retention judges in November 2021 and candidate interviews began in January.

Collins told FWIW that, by the time she decided to seek retention, she had missed the Alliance deadline for screening. She subsequently reached out to the Alliance, she said, asking if she could be screened late, but the Alliance declined.

Sources within the Alliance confirm that Collins did reach out in August and that the Alliance did reject Collins' request for a late screening. Other judges who were wavering on the question of retirement, including some who did retire, participated in the early screening process anyway, an Alliance spokesperson said.

Collins was elected to an 11th Subcircuit vacancy in 2010. For what it's worth, Collins had very favorable bar ratings at that time, including a Highly Qualified rating from the Chicago Bar Association and a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers. Collins was retained by the voters in 2016. She participated in both the CBA and Alliance screening processes in 2016 and received no negative evaluations.

Collins also told FWIW that she did not participate in the CBA screening process for the forthcoming retention election. She expects to be found Not Recommended by the CBA as a result.

The CBA ratings for retention candidates have not yet been released and FWIW has so far been unable to obtain any statement from the CBA JEC about Collins' situation.

Upcoming political fundraisers that may be of interest to Cook County Judicial hopefuls

Getting to be a regular feature here....

FWIW readers with disposable income and judicial ambitions may be interested in one or more of the following House Democratic fundraisers.

Not, of course, because attendance will give you some sort of clear, inside track to Democratic Party political support for your eventual judicial campaign -- no matter how much disposable income you may have, you almost certainly don't have enough for that -- but your appearance at various functions may, over time, give you a sort of familiarity that might serve you well when slating rolls around. If you make a favorable impression.

Just knowing about these events, and showing up, may confer some benefit. Some little benefit.

FWIW readers are all too familiar with the politicans' mantra, we don't want nobody nobody sent. That made sense in the long-ago days of Daley I, and for decades prior thereto, when precinct captains with patronage jobs could turn out sufficient votes to elect almost anyone that the Party chose for greater things. Why mess up the system with strangers?

But -- in case you haven't noticed -- Daley I has been gone since 1976. There is no viable "Machine." There are 80 warlords vying for influence in a continual Game of Thrones, with the throne being of less and less value every day. But you -- the judicial wannabe -- don't need a Boss. You need a temporary coalition of local committeepersons, particularly in this dawning era of smaller subcircuits and few, if any, countywide opportunities.

And just as well, too: Even the Shakman case is (apparently) running out of steam, after a half-century of attacking the patronage system in favor of... something else... less predictable, more opaque... that must be inherently political anyway, since human beings are inherently political.

While reformers and political scientists may fret that that our one-party monopoly is a rotten system, and doomed and due to fall, it hasn't yet. For now, for the would-be Cook County judge, winning the Democratic Primary is the only thing that matters. So it may help to meet some Democrats on their turf. Or not. No warranties of any kind are intended, nor should they be inferred by you, in the dissemination of this list.

So, with these caveats firmly in mind, herewith some local Democratic Party fundraisers:
Democratic Party of Illinois Reception with Gov. Pritzker, Senate President Harmon, Speaker Welch, and Rep. Hernandez
Wednesday, September 28 | 5:00 p.m.
Fulton Market Kitchen | 311 N. Sangamon St, Chicago
VIP Reception: 5:00 p.m.
Write/raise individual: $22,000 | Couple $44,000
Write/raise corp/assn/union: $24,000
Write/raise pac: $59,900
RSVP for VIP & General Reception to ildems.com/vip_reception
General Reception: 5:30 p.m.
Individual ticket: $1,000
Pac/organization: $5,000 per ticket
RSVP for General Reception to ildems.com/general_reception
For questions contact Shannon Rice at srice@ildems.com

Fundraiser Supporting Democratic Nominee Abdelnasser Rashid
Thursday, October 6 | 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Home of Kalman Resnick & Benetta Mansfield | contact event sponsor for event address
Individual Ticket: $250
Sponsorship: $2,500 | $1,000 | $500
Contribute online: bit.ly/RashidOct6
Make checks payable to:
Rashid for Illinois
8907 W. 83rd St Unit D
Justice, IL 60458
RSVP to events@rashidforillinois.com

Rep. Jon Carroll Fundraiser
Thursday, October 20 | 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
The Landmark Inn | 1352 Shermer Rd, Northbrook
Individual Ticket: $100
Sponsorship: $5,000 | $1,00 | $500 | $200
Online contributions: actblue.com/donate/carrolllandmark102222
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Jonathan Carroll PO Box 712
Northbrook, IL 60065

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth
Wednesday, October 26 | 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
The Gage | 24 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Individual Ticket: $250
Sponsorship: $10,00 | $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,000 | $500
Online contributions: actblue.com/donate/jgbchi2022
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Jehan Gordon
P.O. Box 6591
Peoria, IL 61601
RSVP to Kate@kjdstrategies.com
Yeah, I know that last one is a bit of a stretch -- Ms. Gordon's district is in the Peoria area. On the other hand, she's fundraising here, presumably because she thinks she can get local money. As long as the local money she gets isn't only from Cook County judicial wannabes, there may be some theoretical benefit in this event for the ambitious potential candidate.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Judge Grace Dickler retires; Regina Scannicchio named Acting Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division

Press release issued late this afternoon from the Office of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans:
The Hon. Regina Scannicchio has been named Acting Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

Judge Scannicchio was first appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2011, after 23 years as a private domestic relations attorney. She was elected in 2012 and retained in 2018. After a year in traffic court, she became a judge in the Domestic Relations Division in 2012.

Judge Scannicchio replaces the Hon. Grace Dickler, who retired Friday after 11 years as Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division and a total of 34 years on the Circuit Court of Cook County bench.

“I am humbled and honored to be named the Acting Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division,” said Judge Scannicchio. “I am grateful to Chief Judge Timothy Evans for this opportunity and his faith in me. I am most fortunate to have worked with and known our retiring Presiding Judge Grace Dickler for several years. It is my desire to continue with Judge Dickler’s compassion and commitment to the judges of our division and the families and children we serve.”

“I have great faith that Judge Regina Scannicchio’s years of service in the domestic relations field, both as a private attorney and as a judge, will serve her well in her new role,” Judge Evans said. “I am confident that the Domestic Relations Division will benefit under her leadership.

Judge Scannicchio is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School and DePaul University. She has served as President of the Justinian Society of Lawyers and currently serves on the Society’s Executive Committee. She also sits on the boards of the Illinois Judges Association and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago. She is the 2022 recipient of the Judge Samuel S. Berger Award, given by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

“Chief Judge Evans has chosen an extremely qualified, intelligent, compassionate and considerate judge to lead the Domestic Relations Division,” said Judge Dickler. “I know that I leave this Division in extremely good hands and I look forward to seeing what positive programs are implemented going forward.”

Judge Evans thanked Judge Dickler for her many years of service and wished her happiness in her retirement.

“The depth and range of her experience and perspective, in addition to her practical wisdom, compassion and administrative skills, has made Grace Dickler a great judge and a great public servant,” Judge Evans said. “She will be missed.”

Recently, Judge Dickler chaired the Circuit Court of Cook County Committee on Domestic Violence Court to develop a plan to improve court access to help domestic violence victims, which includes an after-hours pilot program that started earlier this month.

Before becoming a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1988, Judge Dickler had served as an immigration judge for the U.S. Immigration Court in Chicago from 1986 to 1988 and an administrative law judge for the Illinois Human Rights Commission from 1982 to 1985. From 1981 to 1982, she was a supervising attorney for the Travelers and Immigrants Aid Society of Chicago.

Grace Dickler graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1978 and began her legal career at the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation.
Judge Dickler was originally elected from the north suburban 12th Subcircuit. Her retirement will create a vacancy in the newly redrawn 12th Subcircuit, the exact boundaries of which are not yet available on a map, but which I believe will run along the very northern edge of Cook County, from Northbrook to the east half of Barrington.

Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening retention judges "grids" published

The lengthy retention ballot is straightforward enough. For each of the many jurists listed, voters are asked to answer a simple "yes" or "no" question: Shall Judge X be retained in office as a judge?

Judges receiving "yes" votes from more than 60% of the voters answering the question (60% + 1) are retained; any judges falling below that mark would have to look for work elsewhere.

What follows are the "grids" published by the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, showing side-by-side comparisons of ratings issued by each of the 12 Alliance members for each of the many retention candidates.

As readers will note, when looking at these grids, nearly all the Alliance bar groups agree that nearly all the judges on the ballot deserve to remain in office. (Click on the images below to enlarge or clarify.)

As we know from the CCL and ISBA narratives, the two obvious exceptions, Ann Finley Collins and Daniel James Pierce, received negative ratings because they did not participate in the Alliance screening process.

FWIW is aware of a number of judges who were up for retention but who declined to be screened because they were planning to retire. Pierce has retired, but apparently his announcement did not come soon enough to prevent the publication of the negative ratings. (Pierce has also withdrawn from the ballot.)

Insofar as FWIW can determine, Collins remains on the November retention ballot.

Only three other judges received negative ratings from any Alliance members at all. Judge William H. Hooks received "Yes" recommendations from every bar group except the ISBA. Judge Leonard Murray received "Yes" recommendations from every Alliance member except Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association (LAGBAC). Judge Rossana Patricia Fernandez received "Yes" recommendations from eight of the 12 Alliance groups, but the not the ISBA, Decalogue Society, Hellenic Bar Association, or LAGBAC.

The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening consists of the Arab American Bar Association (AABAR), the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area (AABA), the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago (BWLA), the Chicago Council of Lawyers (CCL), the Cook County Bar Association (CCBA), the Decalogue Society of Lawyers (DSL), the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois (HBA), the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI), the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association (LAGBAC), the Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA), and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI), all working collaboratively to improve the process of screening judicial candidates in Cook County, Illinois.

The Chicago Bar Association conducts a separate evaluation process for retention candidates. FWIW will have those ratings, too, when they are available.

Illinois State Bar Association recommends "No" vote on four Cook County judges seeking retention

The Illinois State Bar Association has published narrative explanations of Cook County jurists seeking retention this November. The complete narratives may be found at the link in the preceding sentence.

Unlike the Chicago Council of Lawyers, which distinguishes some retention candidates as "Highly Qualified" or "Well Qualified," the ISBA's ratings for retention candidates are simply "Yes" or "No."

For the November election the ISBA recommends a "Yes" vote for Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis and each of the six elected Appellate Court justices seeking retention. It also recommends a "Yes" vote for every Circuit Court judge, with four exceptions.

The ISBA recommends a "No" vote on the retention bids of Judges Ann Finley Collins, Daniel James Pierce, William H. Hooks, and Rossana P. Fernandez.

Collins and Pierce declined to participate in the Alliance screening process and were automatically found not recommended on that basis. (The ISBA, like the Chicago Council of Lawyers, is a member of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening.)

But Pierce, who was serving on the Illinois Appellate Court pursuant to Supreme Court Order, has announced his retirement, effective one week from today. The Supreme Court has already appointed his replacement. Pierce's withdrawal from the retention ballot was not online when I checked on September 14; the Illinois State Board of Elections confirms his withdrawal as of September 15.

Insofar as I have been able to determine, Collins remains on the November retention ballot.

This is the ISBA's explanation of its negative rating on Judge Fernandez:
Hon. Rosanna Fernandez has been licensed since 1997. She was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2015 and elected in 2016. She has been assigned to Domestic Relations in the Third District (Rolling Meadows) since August 2018; her prior assignments include Domestic Violence and Traffic Court. She is the president of the Illinois Latino Judges Association and has been a Board member of the Hispanic Lawyers Association and the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Lawyers, and a committee member with the Illinois State Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association. She has spoken on legal topics and served on Supreme Court committees. While attorneys agreed that she knows the law, writes well thought out opinions and is hard-working, substantial concerns were raised about her judicial temperament and demeanor. It was reported that at times she could be condescending and disrespectful to both attorneys and litigants, and that there are times she speaks Spanish directly to litigants without properly employing the official court interpreter.

The ISBA finds Judge Rossana P. Fernandez not recommended for retention to the Cook County Circuit Court.
As to Judge Hooks, the ISBA provided this explanation of its negative rating:
Hon. William Hooks has been licensed since 1981. He was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2008, elected in 2010, and retained in 2016. He has been assigned to the Criminal Division at the Leighton Courthouse since 2009, and to the Veterans Treatment Court since 2018. From October 2018 until January 2019, he was temporarily assigned to administrative duties in the Sixth District (Markham) by the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court. In January 2019 he returned to the Criminal Division. He is a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, a past Section chair with the Illinois State Bar Association, a committee member with the Illinois Judges Association, and has served on Illinois Supreme Court committees and the Illinois Courts Commission. He is also a United States Marine Corps veteran and received the Hon. Mary Ann McMorrow Service to the Profession Award in 2012 from the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. He is a board member of the Illinois Judicial Council.

Many attorneys praised his legal knowledge and ability, stating that he understands the issues in complex matters and has a good sense of justice. A few felt he was unimpressive and did not always follow the rules. He was praised for his work in Veterans Court and his diligence and impartiality. Concerns were raised, by some attorneys, about his demeanor and temperament, and some instances of insensitivity towards women. As noted, and as was reported in the press at the time, Judge Hooks was referred to anger management counseling by the Executive Committee when he was reassigned temporarily to administrative duties in 2018 upon being accused by another judge of creating a hostile work environment outside of the courtroom. Attorneys were split in their assessment of his courtroom demeanor - some stated that he runs his courtroom well, while others referenced his brusque manner, and felt that he could be disrespectful and arrogant at times, especially towards women attorneys.

The ISBA finds Judge William H. Hooks not recommended for retention to the Cook County Circuit Court.

Chicago Council of Lawyers recommends "Yes" votes for all but two Cook County Circuit Court judges seeking retention, finds Evans "Highly Qualified"

The Chicago Council of Lawyers has released its evaluation report for Cook County judicial candidates seeking retention this November. The link in the preceding sentence will take the reader to the complete CCL report, which also explains the methodology used by the Council in formulating its evaluations.

Only two Circuit Court judges were singled out for "No" votes by the CCL, Daniel James Pierce and Ann Finley Collins. Neither participated in the Alliance evaluation process (the CCL is a member of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening) and were Not Recommended on this basis.

But Pierce, who was serving on the Illinois Appellate Court pursuant to Supreme Court Order, has announced his retirement, effective one week from today. The Supreme Court has already appointed his replacement. Pierce's withdrawal from the retention ballot was not online when I checked on September 14; the Illinois State Board of Elections confirms his withdrawal as of September 15.

Insofar as I have been able to determine, Collins remains on the November retention ballot.

While the Council recommends "Yes" votes for each of the other Circuit Court judges seeking retention, one, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, was singled out by the CCL as "Highly Qualified," the highest rating the Council bestows.

Of Evans, the Council states:
The Hon. Timothy C. Evans was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1969. He currently serves as the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and has previously served as the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division. He was first elected to the bench in 1992 and was elected to the position of Chief Judge in 2001. Before taking the bench, he was a sole practitioner. Judge Evans was also an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago and had served as a floor leader for Mayor Harold Washington and as an Alderman for the 4th Ward.

As Chief Judge, he does not hear cases, but sees to the administration of the courts. Chief Judge Evans created a domestic violence division of the Cook County Circuit Court, and recently convened a Task Force to identify needed reforms for that division. He re-instituted a pretrial services program and changed procedures so that bond hearings since 2008 are conducted in person, rather than via teleconferencing. This resulted in better due process protections. He has overseen the creation of several community courts which employ principals of restorative justice. In 2017 he issued an administrative order restricting the amount of money bond which could be imposed – resulting in a significant reduction in the Cook County jail population while 2017-2019 statistics showed no significant increase in Cook County crime.

Advocates say he is cooperating fully in preparing the Court for the end of money bond which is mandated by Illinois legislation to begin in January 2023, He has also issued an administrative order stopping Cook County judges from denying a public defender to a defendant without first conducting an indigence hearing.

Chief Judge Evans has also overseen the implementation of a court recording system in eviction courts and worked to ensure that judges recorded their eviction proceedings conducted by Zoom. Some say that he was too slow in moving the Circuit Court to a virtual operation during the pandemic, but others say that after delays at the outset, the Cook County Circuit Court made the necessary changes. The Council finds him Highly Qualified for retention.
The Council also rated five Circuit Court judges as "Well Qualified" for retention. These are Judges Jerry A. Esrig, John P. Kirby, Geary W. Kull, Freddrenna M. Lyle, and (as mentioned earlier) Mary Lane Mikva.

Of Esrig, the Council stated:
The Hon. Jerry A. Esrig was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1978. He was first appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2013. He lost a Primary election in 2014. He was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court for another interim term in 2014 and was elected to the bench in 2016. He is currently assigned to the Law Division, Calendar S, Commercial Calendar Section. Prior to becoming a judge, he was a Partner with a small firm, focusing on sophisticated personal injury and commercial litigation matters.

Respondents spoke exceptionally highly of Judge Esrig’s legal knowledge and ability. He is praised for his preparation and willingness to do the research necessary to acquire the necessary knowledge of the issues being litigated before him. He is also praised for his integrity and his judicial temperament was generally described as very good. He is considered punctual and diligent on the bench and respondents generally stated that Judge Esrig’s orders were thorough, well-done, and issues in a timely manner. The Council finds him Well Qualified for retention to the Circuit Court.
The CCL had this to say about Kirby:
The Hon. John P. Kirby was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1983. He was elected to the bench in 1998. He has served in the Criminal Division and is currently assigned to the Law Division. Prior to becoming a judge, he was an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. Judge Kirby is a lecturer at DePaul University in Trial Advocacy I as well as a substitute lecturer in other courses.

Judge Kirby is considered to be knowledgeable and to have good legal ability. He has done well presiding over both criminal and civil cases. He is praised for his temperament and for his courtroom management skills. He is also praised for his punctuality and for his diligence. He is generally considered to be an excellent judge. In his past criminal division assignments, he received praise for his dedication to using alternative sentencing and for helping develop a cyber high school as an alternative sentence for youthful offenders. The Council finds him Well Qualified for retention to the Circuit Court.
As to Kull, the CCL's narrative report states:
The Hon. Geary W. Kull was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1974. He was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2009 and was elected in 2010. Before becoming a judge he served as an Assistant Cook County Public Defender and was in private practice focusing on criminal defense work. He is currently assigned to the Fourth Municipal District, where he hears felony cases.

Judge Kull is considered to have very good legal ability. He is reported to be exceptionally knowledgeable and is respectful to all parties. He has a very good judicial temperament – patient but controls his courtroom. He is well-respected as a jurist. The Council finds him Well Qualified for retention to the Circuit Court.
The Council stated this about Lyle:
The Hon. Freddrenna M. Lyle was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1980. She was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2012 .She unsuccessfully ran for election to the Illinois First District Appellate Court in 2014; later that year, her Circuit Court term expired. She was elected to the bench in 2016 and is currently assigned to the Mortgage Foreclosure Mechanics Lien Section in the Chancery Division. Before becoming a judge, she worked in small firms and as a solo practitioner, where she had substantial experience handling complex litigation matters. She also served for 13 years in the Chicago City Council.

Judge Lyle is praised for her knowledge of the law and for her courtroom management. She has a high volume call and is adept at getting through the cases while giving each of the parties the ability to make their case. She is praised for being “one of the judges who doesn’t automatically assume the bank is right.” Her rulings are well reasoned and are issued in a timely fashion. She is considered to have good legal ability. She is reported to have good legal ability. She is courteous and respectful to all litigants, including self-represented litigants. The Council finds her Well Qualified for retention to the Circuit Court.
These were the Council's comments about Mikva:
The Hon. Mary Lane Mikva was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1980. She currently serves as a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, where she was appointed in 2016. She was elected to the bench in 2004 and had been assigned to the Chancery Division and the Child Protection Division. Previously she had served as a clerk to Judge Prentice H. Marshall and later to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Judge Mikva also was an appellate attorney for the City of Chicago Law Department, as well as in private practice.

Justice Mikva is a highly respected jurist who is considered to have very good legal ability. She is praised for her ability to analyze and understand complex legal issues. She is respectful to those appearing before her and her written opinions are considered thoughtful and well- reasoned. The Council finds her Well Qualified for retention.

Chicago Council of Lawyers recommends retention of Theis and all six elected Appellate Court justices on the November ballot

The Chicago Council of Lawyers has released its evaluation report for Cook County judicial candidates seeking retention this November. The link in the preceding sentence will take the reader to the complete CCL report, which also explains the methodology used by the Council in formulating its evaluations.

This year there is one Illinois Supreme Court justice from Cook County on the retention ballot; there are also six elected Appellate Court justices seeking retention. The Council recommends "yes" votes for all of these candidates.

The Council rated Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis "Highly Qualified" for retention. This is what the Council said of Justice Theis:
The Hon. Mary Jane Theis was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1974. Since 2010, she has served as an Illinois Supreme Court Justice. Previously, she served as a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court (appointed, 1993; elected, 1994), as a Circuit Court Judge (elected, 1988), and as an Associate Judge (appointed, 1983). Before joining the bench she served as an Assistant Cook County Public Defender. Justice Theis has taught at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, and John Marshall Law School. She was the author of “Recent amendment to Supreme Court Rule 304(b) and its impact on family law cases,” and Editor in Chief of “The Benchbook Project.”

Justice Theis is often described as an outstanding jurist. She reportedly always knows the cases she is hearing, and participates actively in oral arguments. Her questions are often described as thoughtful. She is knowledgeable about both criminal and civil law. She often participates in Access to Justice initiatives. She treats fairly all those who appear before her, and she is praised for issuing timely and thorough decisions. She is also praised for her integrity. The Council finds her Highly Qualified for retention.
While recommending each of the six elected Appellate Court justices on the November ballot for retention, the CCL singled out two of these jurists as "Well Qualified." The two singled out for this rating by the Council are Justices Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr. and Mathias William Delort.

Here is the Council's explanation of its rating of Justice Delort:
The Hon. Mathias William Delort was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1985. He currently serves as a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, where he was elected in 2012. He has served both as presiding justice of several divisions of that court and as chair of the court’s Mediation Committee. In 2007, he was appointed an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and served almost exclusively in the Chancery Division of that court. From 1998 to 2007, Justice Delort was an Associate and Shareholder practicing Local Government, Education and Election Law at Robbins Schwartz et al. From 1988 to 1998 he was an Associate and Partner at Odelson & Sterk Ltd., and from 1985 to 1988 he worked as a sole practitioner with a general practice. He is a primary author of the benchbook for judges in the foreclosure call. He is also the author of several IICLE chapters for lawyers.

Justice Delort is a highly respected Jurist who is considered to have excellent legal ability. He is reported to be well prepared during oral arguments. His opinions are praised as being thorough and well-reasoned, The Council finds him Well Qualified for retention to the Appellate Court.
Of Justice Howse, the Council stated:
The Hon. Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr. was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1976. Since 2009, he has served as a Justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District. He was elected to the Appellate Court in 2012. Prior to that, he served as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge, where he was assigned to the County Division (2001-2009), where he presided over Tax Deed, Real Estate Tax, Civil Forfeiture, and Adoption cases; and the First Municipal District, where he heard supplemental proceedings to enforce judgments as well as extraordinary remedies (2000-2001); served as floater judge on general assignment (1999-2000); and presided over traffic cases (1998-1999).

Judge Howse is considered to have excellent legal ability and is reported to demonstrate a good grasp of complex issues. His written opinions are praised as being well-written, well-reasoned, and thorough. Respondents say he is always well prepared for oral argument. His integrity is highly respected and his temperament is reported to be even-tempered. The Council finds him Well Qualified for retention to the Appellate Court.
The Council also rated Appellate Court Justice Mary Lane Mikva as Well Qualified for retention, but Justice Mikva is a Cook County Circuit Court judge assigned to the Appellate Court pursuant to an Order of the Illinois Supreme Court. At any given time, a quarter of the Appellate Court justices assigned to the First Judicial District (Cook County) are Circuit Court judges serving in this way. The Council's ratings of Circuit Court judges seeking retention will be the subject of a future post here on FWIW.

Judge arrested on domestic battery charge, dispatched to judge's jail

By now all FWIW readers will have heard about the arrest of Judge Carl Boyd on a domestic battery charge. For those needing a refresher, here is a link to the CBS2 story about the incident. (The accompanying photograph was also taken from CBS2.)

Most FWIW readers will have also have seen, or have had the opportunity to see, the statement issued yesterday by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans concerning Judge Boyd. Here is that statement:
On September 21, 2022, the Chicago Police Department filed a complaint against Circuit Judge Carl B. Boyd, alleging that, on September 20, Judge Boyd committed the offense of domestic battery, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3.2(a)(l), a Class A misdemeanor.

Following a September 21 meeting of the Circuit Court of Cook County Executive Committee, I issued an order assigning Judge Boyd to restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties in the office of the First Municipal District Presiding Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., subject to further order of the court. Wednesday’s order was issued to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and is effective immediately. Also, as a result of the Executive Committee meeting, this matter has been referred to the Judicial Inquiry Board.

The Executive Committee is composed of the Circuit Court’s presiding judges.

Also, I have asked the Illinois Supreme Court to assign a judge from outside of Cook County to hear Judge Boyd’s criminal case, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Up until the date of his arrest, Judge Boyd had been fulfilling his assignment in the Sixth Municipal District in Markham, Illinois.
"[R]estricted duties or duties other than judicial duties in the office of the First Municipal District Presiding Judge" is the long way of saying "judge's jail."

Because this is retention season, and because actual voters are landing here looking for information, let us get this clearly stated: Judge Boyd is not on this year's retention ballot.

Boyd was elected to a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in 2012; he was an unsuccessful countywide candidate in 2010. He was retained in 2018 and is not scheduled to appear before the voters on a retention ballot until 2024.

Boyd was arrested before, in 2012, on the eve of his ultimately successful primary election: He was pulled over by police who discovered 12 campaign signs for one of Boyd's 2012 primary opponents in the back seat of his car. Although charged with misdameanor theft at the time, FWIW coverage considered whether removal of an opponent's campaign signs from places where those signs might be prohibited in the first place, could possibly constitute an offense.

As with so many cases, including so many cases involving public figures other than judges, the charges were widely reported, but the disposition was not. In any event, the incident involving signs did not prove an impediment to Judge Boyd's career.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Advocates Society Judges Night set for October 20; early bird pricing available until October 11

The Advocates Society has announced that its Annual Judges Night will take place on Thursday, October 20, starting at 5:30 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Early bird pricing for this event is available until October 11. Until then, members' tickets will cost $40 each, while non-members' tickets will go for $75 each. After October 11, the price will be $65 for members and $100 for non-members. Retired judges can buy tickets for $40 apiece ($65 after October 11). Current judges will be admitted free of charge.

Silver Table Sponsorships are available for $250 each. Silver Table sponsors will get their logo on signage at the first-level entrance and the elevator entrance to the hall, a logo on table signage and "materials on the resource table," a logo on the Advocates Society website and event registration landing page, and verbal recognition at the event.

One Gold Sweets Table Sponsorship is available for $500. It carriers all the benefits of the Silver Table sponsorships plus (as perhaps the name suggests) exclusive sponsorship of the dessert table, with the sponsor's logo and any materials there. Also available will be one Platinum Bar Sponsorship, for $1,000. This also carries with it all the benefits of Silver Table sponsorships, two event tickets, and exclusive sponsorship of the bar, with the sponsor's logo and materials exclusively placed there.

To buy tickets for this event, click here. Questions about the event may be directed to Ann Melchior at annmelichar@hotmail.com,

Friday, September 16, 2022

Reminder: Reception Judges Reception next Tuesday

I generally don't do reruns on FWIW but, if you're keeping score at home, or in the office, you will have noticed that I am doing a second post about this event. Just this once:

The Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County will be hold its reception for this year's retention class this coming Tuesday, September 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle Street.

Individual tickets are $250 and, of course, sponsorships are available (Friend - $500, Host- $1,000, Sponsor - $2,500, or Chair - $5,000). Tickets may be ordered at this link.

For questions about the event, or to sign yourself up for the Lawyers Committee, email Katie Craig at katie@p2consultinginc.com.

Neil H. Cohen appointed to Mitchell vacancy

In my defense, there's been a lot else going on, and I didn't get to this one as soon as I might have otherwise....

In an Order entered September 1, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Associate Judge Neil H. Cohen to the vacacny created by the early elevation of Judge Raymond W. Mitchell to the Appellate Court. Cohen's appointment was effective September 8; it will terminate December 2, 2024.

Cohen became an Associate Judge in 2009. At the time of his selection, Cohen was a criminal-defense attorney. Before that, Cohen was chief of the of the narcotics unit in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Cohen is presently assigned to the Chancery Division.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Hispanic groups object to being passed over for Supreme Court vacancy -- again

The truth is that vacancies on the Illinois Supreme Court are rare; we are in the midst of a turnover on that body now that is unprecedented, at least in recent decades: Assuming no further resignations or other surprises, four of the seven seats on the Court will be filled by either the forthcoming election, or in 2024. Two of the remaining three seats were filled in 2020. But even in this moment of institutional change, when a vacancy occurs it is a big deal.

And a Supreme Court vacancy is also a big opportunity -- for the Court, certainly, but also for the various constituencies and components of the body politic.

The Puerto Rican Bar Association and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Y. Martinez have already registered strong disappointment with the Court's prompt announcement that Appellate Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham will succeed Chief Justice Anne M. Burke when Burke steps down on November 30.

Because of this prompt appointment, Cunningham will be able to run in the 2024 primary as an incumbent; this proved to be of great benefit to Justice Burke when she ran for her first full term in 2008 (Burke was filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow when she ran for a full term). Her Cook County colleagues, incoming-Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis and Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr., were also serving pursuant to interim appointments when they were first elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Receiving an interim appointment is no guarantee of victory -- a good lawyer never guarantees anything -- but recent history does suggest incumbency confers a significant advantage.

Without further preface, then, here is the statement issued yesterday by the Puerto Rican Bar Associaiton:
Just in time for the commencement of Hispanic Heritage month:

The Illinois Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to diversity in the judiciary and a judicial system free of bias. So much so that in 2020, the Supreme Court hired a Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer to foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership and staffing. According to Merriam-Webster, the word diversity means “the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.” Inclusion is not just Black and White.

Opportunities to increase diversity in the Illinois Supreme Court are few and far in between. Once elected, justices serve 10-year terms, at the end of which they stand for retention votes. On September 12, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke announced her intention to step down from the bench at the end of November. The justices finally had an opportunity to further diversify the Supreme Court by appointing a Latino to fill her vacancy, but failed to do so. This is despite the fact that between 2010 and 2021, the share of the population that identifies as Latino in Cook County grew the most, increasing 2 percentage points to 26%, now making it Chicago’s second largest racial or ethnic group. Yet only 7.5 percent of Cook County judges identify as Latino. Of the 54 justices on the Illinois Appellate Court only one is Latino. And there are zero Latino justices at the Illinois Supreme Court. This missed opportunity shocks the conscience.

It’s important to have Latino judges because perception matters and Latinos are disproportionally represented in the criminal justice system. Studies have shown that diversity leads to fairer results in civil cases as well. As Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund previously stated regarding the appointment of Latino judges on the federal court, “We don’t just need diversity — we need equity, a concept that recognizes the relative size and importance of our population.”

The fact that the Illinois Supreme Court failed to appoint a Latino to fill the Supreme Court vacancy is indicative of the low priority of Latinos to them and that is unacceptable. It is time for the Illinois Supreme Court justices to stop paying lip service to the principles of diversity/inclusion and actually practice what they preach.
The statement from Clerk Martinez sounds many of the same themes:
Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke announced her retirement on Monday, September 12, 2022. The Supreme Court them immediately filled her vacancy.

The composition of the Illinois Supreme Court will now be 4 White and 3 African American Justices. Is my sincere belief that the Illinois Supreme Court missed an excellent opportunity to diversify its ranks. It should be noted that Latinos represent 26% of Cook County’s population and 33% of the population of the City of Chicago. Therefore, the Illinois Supreme Court should have considered one of the many highly qualified Latino judges that currently serve in our judiciary and should have chosen one of them to be elevated to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • Hispanics have only 1 of the 54 seats on the Illinois Appellate Courts.
  • Hispanic represent only 7.5% of the Judges in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
  • Hispanics make up over 26% of the Cook County’s population.
  • Hispanics make up 33% of the population in the City of Chicago.
  • The Supreme Court had highly qualified Hispanic Judges to choose from in order to give us representation on the Illinois Supreme Court.
The Illinois Supreme Court just recently hired Deanie Brown to serve as the court’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer in order to sustain and adhere to equitable decisions in terms of the diversifying the Illinois courts and its staff. Hispanics are now left to question the purpose of such a hire when the obvious choice to diversify the court would have been one of those above-mentioned Hispanic judges.

Once again, our community was excluded and marginalized.

The 2024 election cycle can’t come soon enough for all of us. We will march to the polls and vote our way into that exclusive club that is the Supreme Court of Illinois.

Nominations sought for Chicago Lawyer's Person of the Year

The Chicago Lawyer is seeking nominations for its 2022 Person of the Year, highlighting a practicing lawyer, judge, or other member of Chicago’s legal community who has made a difference this past year. The person selected will be the subject of the magazine's cover story in the December issue.

Nominations are due by end of business Thursday, September 22, and should be sent to Chicago Lawyer Managing Editor John McNally at jmcnally@lawbulletinmedia.com with the subject line "Person of the Year." Nominations should be no more than 250 words but may contain links to résumés, bios, recent cases, news stories, pro bono work, or other information that distinguish the nominee.

The Chicago Lawyer specifies that a "nominee’s influence should have come within 2022 — this is not a lifetime achievement award, but a recognition of a current newsmaker, trendsetter or legal leader. People who retired or have died during the year will be considered, but current practitioners are preferred." Previous winners include Romanucci & Blandin founding partner Antonio Romanucci, Taft Stettinius & Hollister partner J. Timothy Eaton, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

88th Annual Votive Red Mass of the Holy Spirit set for October 4

The 88th Annual Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, traditionally known as the Red Mass, will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 4 (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi), at 5:15 p.m. at Holy Name Cathedral. This year's Red Mass will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Kevin Michael Birmingham, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago is inviting "lawyers, judges, and law professionals" of all faiths to participate. Persons are invited to attend in person or via livestream.

Judges are invited to participate in the traditional procession of judges. Jurists wishing to participate in the procession need to arrive at Holy Name, with their robes, by 5:00 p.m.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild will confer three awards at this year's event. Outgoing Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild and James J. Faught, the Associate Dean for Administration at Loyola University Chicago, will receive a Special Service Award. The Guild will also confer a Catholic Lawyer of the Year Award, but it has not yet announced the recipient of that honor.

There is no cost to attend the Mass. But there is a reception following the Mass. Tickets for the reception are $75 apiece and there are several donation opportunities ($100, $150, or $250, each of which includes registartion for the Mass and subsequent reception). Sponsorships start at $500, and there are $1,000 and $2,500 sponsorship levels as well. All are available here. Questions about the event should be addressed to admin@clgchicago.org.

CBA to confer 2022 Justice John Paul Stevens Awards at Sept. 29 luncheon

The Chicago Bar Association will confer its 2022 Justice John Paul Stevens Awards on five honorees at a luncheon on Thursday, September 29, at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson. The noon luncheon follows an 11:30 a.m. reception.

This year's honorees are:
  • Hon. Arnette R. Hubbard, Circuit Court of Cook County,
  • Hon. Thomas R. Mulroy (Ret.), now with Resolute Systems,
  • Steven F. Pflaum, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP,
  • Lowell Sachnoff, Reed Smith LLP, and
  • Sandra S. Yamate, The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.
The Chicago Bar Association and The Chicago Bar Foundation utilize the annual Stevens Awards as a means to celebrate Illinois attorneys who have demonstrated extraordinary integrity and service to the community throughout their careers.

Tickets for the event are $75 apiece; tables of 10 are available for $750. To purchase tickets, click here. Questions about the event should be directed to Michele Spodarek at mspodarek@chicagobar.org.

Three more withdrawals from the November retention ballot

Whilst performing my due diligence in connection with the last post (i.e., checking to see if Justice Pierce's withdrawal from the retention election has yet been posted by the Illinois State Board of Elections -- it has not, not yet) I came across three other withdrawals.

One will come as no suprise: Justice Raymond M. Mitchell, newly appointed to the Appellate Court, and unopposed on the November ballot for election to the seat to which he has already been appointed, withdrew his bid for retention to the Cook County Circuit Court.

The other two withdrawals were filed by Judges Arnette R. Hubbard and Edward Harmening.

Mitchell and Hubbard were elected countywide so -- I think -- their vacancies will be among those randomly assigned to one of the new subcircuits, 16 through 20. When a random assignment is made. Which to my knowledge it has not.

But Harmening was initially elected from the 3rd Subcircuit, so his vacancy should be assigned to the new 3rd Subcircuit wherever it may be (generally north and east of its predecessor, I think).

-------------------------------------------------------
UPDATED to add this link to press release announcing Judge Harmening's new affiliation with ADR Systems.

Sanjay T. Tailor receives Appellate Court assignment

Judge Sanjay T. Tailor remains a candidate for a 9th Subcircuit vacancy. Like nearly all other Cook County Democratic judicial nominees, Tailor is unopposed on the November ballot.

Which is nice, because, pursuant to an Order entered today by the Illinois Supreme Court, Judge Tailor will be busy with his new job on the Illinois Appellate Court: Today's Order reassigns Judge Tailor to the Appellate Court on October 3, where he will pick up the caseload of another Circuit Court Judge serving by assignment on the Appellate Court, namely, Justice Daniel J. Pierce, who is resigning from judicial service on September 30.

Justice Pierce had previously indicated he would seek retention this November as a Circuit Court judge.

Pierce was initially elected from the 14th Subcircuit so -- as I understand it -- his retirement creates a vacancy in the new 14th Subcircuit... wherever that is (it may include portions of the Back of the Yards, Humboldt Park, and into Belmont Cragin on the Northwest Side).

Yes, I know, the precise boundaries of the new 14th Subcircuit (and, indeed, of all the new Subcircuits 1-20) are of extreme import to a great many FWIW readers. Unfortunately, official maps have not yet been promulgated and -- I am guessing here and will inquire in an effort to confirm -- the creation and distribution of official subcircuit maps for 2024 will likely not be a burning priority for our election authorities until after the November election. And it may take longer than that.

The one thing I can tell you with great assurance and certainty is that, at this point, Judge Tailor's promotion does not create any Circuit Court vacancy. At any given time, fully a quarter of the personnel serving on the 1st District Appellate Court are Circuit Court judges serving pursuant to Supreme Court appointment. Justice Pierce has been one of these; Judge Tailor will soon be.

Three judicial stories; which one is the most important?

The first, and I believe the most widely-reported of these three big stories, concerns the resignation of Chief Justice Anne M. Burke. (Read her very gracious letter of resignation.)

Burke has decided to retire, effective November 30.

Burke was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2006, when Justice Mary Ann McMorrow retired. She won election to that seat in 2008 and was retained in 2018. Before going to law school, Burke taught physical education at the Chicago Park District. There she took part in a new program that offered children and young adults with mental and physical differences the opportunity to learn the skills to participate in sports. Having recognized the positive impact that sports competition had on her students, she championed the idea of a city-wide competition. This ultimately led to the creation of the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968, which grew to become the International Special Olympics, reaching tens of millions in 192 nations across the globe. Chief Justice Burke later served as a Director of the International Special Olympics and remains involved with the Chicago Special Olympics organization to this day.

Later, while serving as a Justice of Illinois Appellate Court, Burke served on a lay National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That Board pushed the American bishops to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward child abusers. Burke became interim chair of that Board in 2003. (For more than you may have ever wanted to know about the history of the National Review Board, see, Michael R. Merz, "A History of the National Review Board.") Merz writes that "Justice Burke had a leadership role from the beginning of the Board’s work. Her papers from that work reflect her diplomatic skills, attention to detail, and passionate commitment to the Board’s work."

The Supreme Court has chosen Appellate Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham to fill the vacancy created by Burke's resignation, until Burke's successor is elected in 2024.

Cunningham's interim appointment makes her the automatic frontrunner for the Burke vacancy in 2024. But, if history is any guide, she will face several opponents and a tough primary contest if she chooses to seek to hold her place on the Court. For example, in 2012, when Justice Mary Jane Theis was seeking to hold the Supreme Court seat to which she had been appointed, Justice Cunningham also sought that vacancy.

Cunningham was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court in 2006. At the time of her election to that court, Cunningham was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. She served as an associate judge from 1997-2000, when she left the bench for Northwestern. She served as Associate General Counsel for Loyola University from 1986 to 1996. Early in her legal career she served as a judicial law clerk to Glen Johnson of the Illinois Appellate Court. She is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association.

Burke's resignation and Cunningham's appointment is big story, surely. But this was not even the only big story to emerge from the beginning of the Supreme Court's September term: On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that Justice Mary Jane Theis will become the new Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court when Chief Justice Burke's term ends on October 25.

Justice Theis will be the fourth woman to serve as Chief Justice following the late Justice McMorrow, Justice Rita B. Garman, and Justice Burke. She will be the 122nd Chief Justice in Illinois history. (For the Court's press release marking her selection, click here.)

Theis will become Chief of a Supreme Court that has been almost entirely reconstituted in just a few short years.

By the end of the year, no matter the outcome of the November elections, Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr. will be the second longest-tenured member of the Court. Although elected in 2020, Neville has served since June 15, 2018, when he was appointed to the vacancy of the late Justice Charles Freeman.

If he wins election from the newly redrawn Third Judicial District, Justice Michael J. Burke would be the next longest serving member of the Court. He joined the Supreme Court on March 1, 2020 -- just before Covid interrupted all our lives and livelihoods -- replacing Justice Robert R. Thomas. (Burke's opponent on the November ballot is Third District Appellate Court Justice Mary Kay O'Brien.)

Justice David K. Overstreet would be either the third- or fourth-longest serving Justice of the Supreme Court depending on how Justice Michael Burke fares in November. Overstreet was elected in 2020, along with Justice Neville, but Overstreet did not serve on the Court prior to his election.

Justice Lisa Holder White joined the Court only this past July 8, upon the resignation of Justice Garman. Justice Cunningham will join the court on December 1, mere days before the winner of the contested election in the Second Judicial District (Elizabeth Rochford or Mark Curran) is sworn into office.

In many times and places, this near-complete institutional turnover would be a major news story... but that is apparently not the case here.

In any event, it is not the third story I promised at the outset:

That third story comes from the Circuit Court of Cook County where, yesterday, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans won his eighth term as chief.

Without apparent formal opposition. Unopposed.

Evans was first elected Chief Judge in 2001 -- and re-elected in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and, now, yesterday.

Evans was first elected to the Circuit Court in 1992. He became Presiding Judge of the Law Division in 2000, where he served until his first election as chief.

This third story has garnered probably the least outside attention -- but many FWIW readers may think this last one the most important....

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Retention judges reception set for September 20

Inflation really is everywhere these days.

The last time the Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County held an in-person event was in 2018 (the 2020 affair, like everything else in that Covid year, was 'virtual') and the price of an individual ticket was $125.

Well, Covid is over... sorta kinda over, anyway... and thus the Committee has opted to have an actual IRL reception this year. But, as the above flyer documents, the individual ticket price is now $250.

In 2018 we were heedless of crowds -- the more the merrier -- and all manner of well-wishers and wannabes and hangers-on crammed into the enormous Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, cheek by jowl with the great, the near-great, and, even, sometimes, the retention candidates themselves. In 2022, the event will be held at River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle Street. I would be deeply suspicious of any claim that this new venue has a capacity equal to Preston Bradley Hall.

Of course, however, even though Covid is totally over... even if everybody knows somebody who just came down with it... not everybody is yet eager to participate in large super-spreader, er, social events just yet. So perhaps the largest of halls is not required. And that may also explain why the length of the reception has been trimmed -- from three hours, in 2018, to 90 minutes this year.

Moreover -- and I suppose I am projecting here a bit -- I believe the Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County would say that donation checks do not carry any virus. And it is your check, and not necessarily your physical presence, that the Committee truly desires to see.

Although I'm sure they could have put that better.

Anyway, you can go to the 2022 Reception for Cook County retention judges on Tuesday, September 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the aforementioned River Roast restaurant, 315 N. LaSalle Street. Individual tickets are $250 and, naturally, sponsorships are available (Friend - $500, Host- $1,000, Sponsor - $2,500, or Chair - $5,000). Tickets may be ordered at this link.

For questions about the event, or to sign yourself up for the Lawyers Committee, email Katie Craig at katie@p2consultinginc.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Polish Supreme Court justice to give probate lecture next Wednesday

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law will welcome Justice Mariusz Zalucki of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland to the Supreme Court Courtroom, 160 N. LaSalle St., 18th Floor, on Wednesday September 7, from noon to 1:30 p.m., for a lecture on "the challenges of present will formalities," addressing the handling of probate matters in the EU and providing observations about U.S. cases with, of course, an emphasis on Illinois law. A panel discussion will follow.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke will provide a welcome for Justice Zalucki. Justyna H. Regan of Miller Canfield will provide an introduction. The subsequent panel discussion will be moderated by McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Chmiel. The other panelists are Kerry Peck, the Chair of the Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law; Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, 1st Municipal District; Judge Daniel B. Malone, the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division; and Agnes Ptasnik of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

There is no charge to attend the lecture and discussion, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Registrants can also choose to attend via Zoom; a link will be provided upon registration. MCLE credit will be available for this program.

To register, email smithkaa@millercanfield.com. In your email, specify whether you wish to attend in person or via Zoom. Persons seeking MCLE credit will need to provide their ARDC numbers.

Miller Canfield, Peck Ritchey, and Chuhak & Tecson are underwriting this event. Co-sponsoring the event, along with the Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law, are the Advocates Society, the International Network of Boutique and Independent Law Firms, the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Upcoming Illinois House Democratic fundraisers that may be of interest to prospective Cook County judicial candidates

As I mentioned earlier today, there never will be a shortage of politicians ready, willing, and eager to separate the wannabe judge from any discretionary income he or she may have. What follows in this post is by no means an exhaustive list of the opportunities for the hopeful candidate to diminish his or her estate.

For the most part, I have tried to edit out most non-Cook County representatives and all non-Cook County venues. Not that a Downstate representative would not also be grateful for your support -- but his or her clout among the local judicial slatemakers would presumably be minimal, at best. Attendance at any or all of these events will not accord you a heavier political presence; the only thing guaranteed is a lighter wallet. But if you, by dint of your magnetic personality, can charm indifferent, if not hostile, strangers with snappy patter or sparkling small talk, here are some of the upcoming opportunities helpfully provided by politicians eager to hold elected office:
Rooftop Fundraiser with Rep. Nick Smith
Tuesday, September 13 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Joy District Rooftop | 112 W Hubbard St, Chicago
Sponsorships: $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,000 | $500
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Nicholas Smith
P.O. Box 286152
Chicago, IL 60628

Rep. Jones and Rep. Mayfield's Baseball Fundraiser
Saturday, September 17 | 6:10 p.m.
Wrigley Field | 1060 W. Addison, Chicago (Left Field Porch Area)
Sponsorship: $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,500 | $1,000 | $500 | $250
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Rita Mayfield, PO Box 344, Waukegan, IL 60079
Jones for State Representative, 289 Paxton Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409
RSVP before September 10 by calling (847) 975-3491

Rep. Bob Morgan Fall Brewery Social
Tuesday, September 20 | 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
District Brew Yards | 417 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
Young Professional Ticket: $100
Sponsorship: $2,500 | $1,000 | $500 | $250
Online contributions: actblue.com/donate/220920dby
For more information or to RSVP directly, please contact Erin Schuler at mailto:eschuler@newchicagollc.com or (312) 448-8014

Rep. Fred Crespo Re-Election Fundraiser Tuesday, September 20 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Chop House | 60 West Ontario, Chicago (valet parking provided)
Individual Ticket: $150
Sponsorship: $1,500 | $500
Make checks payable to:
Citizens for Fred Crespo
313 Ronnie Drive
Buffalo Grove, Illinois, 60089-1149.
To RSVP contact Corryn Bradley at corryn@danshomon.com or call 708-490-9964

Speaker Welch Fall Fundraiser Wednesday, September 21 | The Old Post Office | 433 W. Van Buren St., Chicago
VIP Reception: 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Event: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Individual Ticket: $250
Sponsorship: $20,000 | $12,000 | $6,000 | $3,000 | $1,000
You may also make checks payable to:
People for Emanuel "Chris" Welch
10055 W. Roosevelt Rd, Suite D
Westchester, IL 60154
Online contributions: actblue.com/donate/speakersept21
RSVP to Katy@kjdstrategies.com

Courts of Appeals and District Courts in Seventh and Eighth Circuits host 3rd Annual Bill of Rights Day Contest for students in grades 5-12

Admittedly, this runs a little far afield for FWIW fare, but the court sponsorships are the hook that makes this post relevant to FWIW readers.

We probably don't have too many students in grades 5-12 stopping by here on a regular basis, although surely some teachers do, and a number of FWIW readers have teachers in their lives with whom this post might be shared.

The idea is to get kids thinking about, and creating art and essays about, the importance of the Bill of Rights. That is a good and useful thing to do.

One grand prize winner from each of two age groups, grades 5-8 and grades 9-12, will recieve a $500 cash prize and the opportunity to take part in a vitrual event on Wednesday, December 7 with Federal judges and other experts, and have their name and submission shared on the websites of the participating United States District Courts. Semi-finalists from each District Court will receive a $50 prize.

The deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m. Sunday, October 30.

Semi-finalists from each district will be notified before Thanksgiving and grand prize winners will be announced at the December 7 virtual event.

Teachers have an additional incentive to encourage their charges to enter this contest: When a teacher's name is included on the student's submission, the teacher will be entered into a gift card raffle. Teachers get additional chances in the raffle for each submission made by one of their students.

Of course there are a host of rules and regulations that contestants will have to navigate in order to make their submissions. But this page will provide that information for interested students and teachers.

LIC volunteers sought; September training sessions announced

The Chicago Bar Association's Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program has placed attorney voluneers in grammar school classrooms for over 30 years now, helping students "to better understand the U.S. Constitution, our legal system, and law-related careers," according to the program webpage.

To prepare for the academic year just underway, the LIC is requesting all interested attorneys (and returning volunteers) to sign up for one of two Attorney Information and Training Sessions. Both will be conducted online, one on September 9, and the other on September 16. The links in the preceding sentence will take interested persons to registration forms for the specific date.

According to the LIC, these sessions are intended "to prepare attorneys for their classroom assignments, [and] will focus on classroom standards, curriculum, collaboration with teacher partners, useful teaching strategies and how the program will be administered this school year."

For questions about the program, contact LIC Director Tiffani Watson at twatson@chicagobar.org.

Illinois Bar Foundation Chicago-area presidential reception set for September 21

The Illinois Bar Foundation is planning a Chicago-area presidential reception on Wednesday, September 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Rolling Green Country Club, 2525 East Rand Road, Arlington Heights.

The IBF will honor Anna P. Krolikowska (ISBA President 2021-22) and Lisa M. Nyuli (IBF President 2020-2022) at this event.

Tickets for the event are $50 apiece and include "heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar."

Sponsorships are also available:
  • Friend - $250
    Includes 2 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage;

  • Patron - $500
    Includes 5 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage;

  • Benefactor - $1,000
    Includes 10 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage.
Proceeds from the event benefit the IBF. The IBF's mission, according to its website, "is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who have fallen on hard times."

To obtain tickets, or register as a sponsor, click here.

The IBF will also have a Downstate reception, honoring Dennis J. Orsey and the late Jack C. Carey, on Wednesday, September 28, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Collinsville. Click on the link in this sentence for more information about the Downstate event.

Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk set for September 17 at Montrose Harbor

Oh, sure, there are political events upcoming, and I'll have a post up about some of these soon, if time permits. There will never be a shortage of politicians willing to take your discretionary income.

But if you, Mr. or Ms. Judicial Wannabe, are looking for a different way to increase your 'brand awareness' or whatever we're calling these things currently, you may wish to consider participating in the Out of Darkness Chicagoland Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on Saturday, September 17, at Montrose Harbor.

There are -- just as there are in political fundraisers -- sponsorship opportunities:
  • Hope - $1,000
    Your logo on event materials, including official t-shirt, website, and e-newsletters;

  • Support - $2,500
    All Hope benefits plus metnions in social media and in event announcements and Talk Saves LivesTM Suicide Prevention for Workplace Settings for your workplace;

  • Prevention - $5,000
    All Support benefits plus featured placement of logo/sign on walk route, featured social media posting and email outreach;

  • Change Maker - $10,000
    All Prevention benefits plus onsite walk tent with permission to distribute materials.
And, if you've really got some spare cash laying around, ask whether the Lifesaver sponsorship opportunity is still available. Persons working for big firms or companies may find that there are matching donation opportunities -- or you could set one up. All sponsorship information is available at this link. For more information about the September 17 Chicago walk, visit this page or email Diana Cazares at chicago@afsp.org.