Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is there any value in "face time" for a candidate?

This is Lamour Holloway.

Until Tuesday, at least, Holloway was employed by the Public Defender's office. It was on Tuesday that she allegedly took delivery of a 38 pound package of pot -- at the office. A police officer dressed as a UPS delivery person brought it in. Holloway buzzed two kids into the office -- the police wouldn't say if these were her own kids, although the story this morning in the Chicago Sun-Times noted that she apparently has two kids who about the ages of these kids -- and then left with the two kids and the package. When Holloway tried to hand the package to her husband, waiting outside in a car, the police moved in.

To this point, this is a standard-issue dumb criminal story. What caught my eye, though, was that 15th Subcircuit judicial candidate Anna Helen Demacopoulos was the spokesman for the prosecutor's office when this story was reported. I saw her on one of the TV newscasts last night (Channel 9, I think) and, this morning, I saw she was quoted extensively in the Sun Times story.

(From the Sun-Times story this morning: "'As a public employee, there's a sense of trust," Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Anna Demacopoulos said after court. 'And then to use children as a shield to disguise your criminal conduct in that public building is really disgusting.'")

Obviously, Ms. Demacopoulos' status as a judicial candidate was not mentioned, nor should it have been.

But the question is: Do stories like this -- favorable press mentions -- help a judicial candidate? Or do they come and go like soap bubbles, usually fading from the public consciousness without leaving any lasting impression?

Leave your theory in the comments if you like.
Suspect photo obtained from the NBC5 website.

Cell phone goes off -- then New York judge goes off, too

This is Robert Restaino, until recently a judge in upstate New York. The above photo, by Dan Cappellazzo, first appeared in the Niagara Gazette on a happier occasion in Restaino's life, when he was elected a Niagara Falls city judge.

Restaino's lost that job, at least for now, because of a March 2005 incident in his courtroom. There was a sign in the courtroom cautioning all present to turn off their cell phones. According to the AP story that ran in the November 28 issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, "Restaino was hearing the cases of domestic violence offenders who had been ordered to appear weekly to update the judge on the progress of their counseling" when, despite the cautionary sign, someone's cell phone went off.

That set the judge off. And when no one produced the offending phone, Restaino announced, "Everyone is going to jail.... Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now. If anybody believes I'm kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going."

And then, according to the story, they all did go to jail -- all 46 people in the room. Fourteen of those, those that couldn't make bail, "were shackled and bused to another jail." Restaino ordered them all released that afternoon -- but it was too late to save his job. The AP reported that Raoul Felder, chairman of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, wrote (in an opinion issued November 13 and just made public Tuesday afternoon) that Restaino "'snapped' and 'engaged in what can only be described as two hours of inexplicable madness.'"

The story's already been picked up around the world. (See, for example, these articles in the Times of India or the Guardian.) The tone of coverage has been uniformly critical.

But Restaino has received a more sympathetic press in his own hometown. Mark Scheer's news story in the Niagara Gazette, said the court commission was "was unrelenting in its criticism." The article quoted Restaino's lawyer extensively, stressing the lawyer's hope that the New York Court of Appeals (to which an appeal of the court commission's decision will be made) "will measure those few hours against a decade of [Restaino's] exemplary conduct on the bench and years of extraordinary service to the Niagara Falls community."

The Gazette also ran a column by Ken Hamilton. Hamilton lamented that the court commission couldn't see "what our Judge Bobby did, day in and day out." Hamilton said the commission needed to "understand how frustrating it is to see the same groups of people, over and over and over again."

Besides, Hamilton wrote, "There have been very few community-based boards or trusteeships to which the judge has not given his quality time in helping to improve the lives of those who too often parade themselves in front of him. He has poured his heart and soul into this little dysfunctional community that we call home and he has loved it as though he gave birth to it. He has given and given and given and given and all that he has ever asked for in return was a little respect. Apparently, when the respect gave out just one time too often, so did his patience and judicial temperament and for one moment in time, his human side exposed itself."

In another case, one might call that a ringing endorsement of Judge Restaino's character. That would probably not be a felicitous choice of words in this case, however.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

James E. Babcock, Jr.: In his own words

James E. Babcock, Jr. is a Republican candidate for the Ryan vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit.

I am the grandson of the late Marty "Abe" Jackson, Will County Magistrate, and Judge who served 18 years during the 50's and 60's and was later elected as Will County Sheriff. My father is the late James E. Babcock, Sr. a Joliet attorney. Whether sitting next to my grandfather on the bench at the old limestone Will County Court House as a child or walking to downtown Joliet as a teen to watch my father's closing arguments, I knew that I wanted to be an attorney and someday, a judge.

During past 22 years, I have attempted to maintain a clear understanding of both procedural and substantive law, changes to the same as they occur, and the experience learned in law school remain true today. Every case from the drafting of pleadings through jury instructions begins with a clear understanding of the law to be applied to a case. I am a busy litigator, with a diverse practice and often deal with complex litigation. Despite this and what is often a hectic schedule, I attempt to remain on time and do not engage in personal attacks no matter how much unrestraint an opponent may have. I stay in contact with my opponents to minimize wasting the Court's time and I speak with candor. My opponents, the courtroom staff, clerks and deputies are treated with dignity and respect.

The two critical elements in evaluating judicial candidates and their ability to do justice are experience and fairness.

As to experience, not only is the length of experience important, but the success, complexity and diversity of that experience. That experience is not only gained in the files and matters in which I represent a party, but those times wherein I am in a courtroom waiting for my matters to be called and observing, listening and experiencing how others may practice and how judges may arrive at their rulings.

As a jurist in non jury matters or pretrial motion practice, it is the Judge who must weight the credibility of the evidence presented. Experience matters.

The second element, fairness, must be seated in a conviction that the respect earned must be equal to or greater than the respect received together with a strong commitment to not only knowing right, but doing right.

How have these two elements of experience and fairness translated into my practice of law?

My practice is built not upon advertisement, but by my reputation of experience and fairness. Those that retain me are often times family, friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors of existing clients. A large portion of my practice has been built upon referrals not only from the plaintiff's bar but also from defense attorneys against whom I have tried cases over the last 22 years.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a greater focus and success in the implementation of procedures to alleviate the delays previously experienced in our courts, especially in the Law Division. Every job change requires a learning curve. Our system is making strides to be efficient and effective, can we really afford to elect someone who has less experience, knowledge and who is not "trial ready"? I have the experience, the knowledge, and the commitment to make litigation, fair, less expensive, and more efficient.

Although the changes made in the last ten years have facilitated a move toward a more efficient civil judicial system, the time and resources required to be spent on procedural matters sometimes prevents matters from being resolved by pretrial conference An effective pretrial Judge must have the respect of the litigants in his knowledge of the subject matter, a proven record of experience in evaluating both the strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of complex litigation and a proven reputation for fairness from both sides of the bench. I have proven to possess those qualifications from both sides of the bar.

In addition, I believe a Judge should be an administrative advocate. If something is right, it ought to be done. The following are areas for change involving our youth and the elderly. The first area would be Minor's Estates. $10,000 is far too much money to allow in even the best intentioned parents' control. The second area would be a task force to try to come to some compromise in what is now a four to six month process in obtaining Medicare lien information and settlement authority for our seniors who are injured in accidents.

A friend, former judge and referring attorney with whom I consulted said, "Jimmy you can’t recreate the wheel." My response is and always will be if it’s right it ought to be done, keep trying to put the square peg in the round hole and eventually that peg may wear down.

Housekeeping: Announcements and requests

Tonight I put up a fourth installment of the "In Their Own Words" series; several other candidates have already expressed interest and I look forward to putting up many more in the weeks to come.

I want every Cook County judicial candidate to have a chance to present himself or herself as he or she thinks best. I invite every judicial candidate in Cook County to send me an email. In 500 words or thereabouts (I initially said 500 words or less and this stressed some people out), I would ask each candidate to say why he or she should be elected. I'm not asking anyone to compare themselves to any opponent. Recall the adage 'you don't make your own candle shine brighter by blowing on someone else's.' I'm asking each candidate to say why he or she is the best choice for the voters to make. I'll run what they write.

A couple of weeks before the primary I'll set up wrap up posts -- I'll arrange "sample ballot" posts. Each candidate who participates will have their name shown as a link -- a link to that candidate's "In Their Own Words" post. That way, voters will be able to 'comparison shop' -- reading each candidate's post and making a truly informed decision about their vote.

I continue to seek candidate website links. If you know of a candidate with a website, send me the link. I will put it in the Sidebar here.


I'm still looking for candidate questionnaires. I think it might be very interesting to examine the questions posed by interest groups on both ends of the political spectrum... especially if we can run them side by side.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Michael B. Hyman: In his own words

Judge Michael B. Hyman is a candidate for the countywide Nowicki vacancy.

As a judge, I hold fast to the ideals of justice -- to do what I can to make the legal system a true instrument of justice and thereby elevate the public's confidence in the courts. Justice, through its servants, judges, requires that each litigant be treated equally and fairly and with dignity – the immigrant the same as the aristocrat; the powerless the same as the powerful; white or nonwhite, straight or gay, men or women, equally; otherwise, justice dries up, rots, and ultimately goes dormant. "If we do not maintain justice," said Francis Bacon some 400 years ago, "justice will not maintain us."

I believe that judges need more than legal ability to properly dispense justice. Judges also must appreciate the inherent powers and wide discretion that go hand-in-hand with such a privileged position and value the complexities of contemporary life in terms of its social, political, economic and historical aspects. During my professional career, now in its 30th year, I not only honed the legal skills and procedural know-how necessary to preside over hearings and trials, but I also honed my sense of everyday life which well prepared me to make decisions that affect peoples' lives.

Bar associations in town have issued extremely favorable evaluations of me. The Chicago Council of Lawyers, for example, rated me "Well Qualified," stating: "Mr. Hyman is considered to have very good legal ability and temperament. He has substantial trial experience and he is of the highest integrity and his work with the organized bar has been outstanding." The Chicago Bar Association rated me "Highly Qualified," stating: "Mr. Hyman is highly regarded for his knowledge of the law, legal experience, integrity, and fairness and fine temperament. Throughout his career, Mr. Hyman has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service and to improving the legal profession through his work with numerous bar associations."

My legal practice predominately involved prosecuting complex fraud cases with the best legal talent in the country on the other side. I was a recognized national authority in the class action arena and selected annually as among the cream of Illinois lawyers by Leading Lawyer and Illinois Super Lawyer, including selection as one of the Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers of 2005. I served as president of the Chicago Bar Association and as president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. In addition, I have held numerous leadership positions in the ABA, the ISBA, CBA and the American Society of Legal Writers.

As a sitting judge, I am extremely careful never to become an advocate for either side. Fairness is my mantra, impartiality my mandate. I must ensure that the litigants in each case receive their "day in court," which includes a full and fair hearing in a timely fashion. And that every litigant leave the court feeling that, win or lose, I was open-minded, impartial, respectful, rational, and diligent. Because that is required if we are to maintain justice.

Full disclosure department

When I embarked on this project of covering the judicial primary in Cook County I made it a point to state expressly that I would not be filing for the primary -- and, of course, I didn't.

However, a number of vacancies were recently posted for the office of Cook County Associate Judge. I have applied for Associate Judge on several prior occasions and I applied this time as well.

Associate judges are elected by the full circuit judges (the judges elected by the people). In Cook County, a screening committee composed of judges will sort through all the applications (last time out there were 242 applicants for what turned out to be 31 vacancies). Two finalists will be chosen by this screening committee for each vacancy and the circuit judges will select their new colleagues from those finalists. It may be a year or more before the next class of associate judges is chosen.

Chicago Federation of Labor announces judicial endorsements

Actually, as Rich Miller in The Capitol Fax Blog points out, the CFL made endorsements in a number of races, judicial and otherwise, but Mr. Miller chose not to include the judicial endorsements in his post today. So I'll put the judicial endorsements here.

Click here for the full list of CFL-endorsed candidates in handy .pdf format. This link should take you to the CFL's press release and another version of the endorsement list.

Chicago Federation of Labor
Endorsed Cook County Circuit Court Candidates
February 5, 2008 Primary Election

Countywide Endorsements

Debra B. Walker – Montelione Vacancy

Terry MacCarthy – Glowacki Vacancy

Thomas J. Byrne – Lott Vacancy

Maureen Ward Kirby – Healy Vacancy

Michael B. Hyman – Nowicki Vacancy

Paula M. Lingo – Murphy Vacancy

Lauretta Higgins Wolfson – Disko Vacancy

Marilyn F. Johnson – Keehan Vacancy

Joan Powell – Thomas Vacancy

Subcircuit Endorsements

LaGuina Clay-Clark - 1st Subcircuit – Turkington Vacancy

Patrick J. Sherlock - 3rd Subcircuit – Donnersberger Vacancy

Pat Rogers - 4th Subcircuit – Shultz Vacancy

Stephen Stern - 5th Subcircuit – Judgeship A

Laura Bertucci Smith - 6th Subcircuit – Figueroa Vacancy

Anita Rivkin-Carothers - 7th Subcircuit – Young Vacancy

James A. Shapiro - 8th Subcircuit – Sheehan Vacancy

John G. Mulroe - 10th Subcircuit – Morrissey Vacancy

Gerald Patrick Cleary - 10th Subcircuit – Kowalski Vacancy

Kenneth Fletcher - 10th Subcircuit – Pucincki Vacancy

Michael John Halloran - 12th Subcircuit – Devlin Vacancy

Joe Gump - 13th Subcircuit – Ryan Vacancy

Gary Stanton - 13th Subcircuit – Tobin Vacancy

James N. O'Hara - 14th Subcircuit – Henry Vacancy

Anna Helen Demacopoulos - 15th Subcircuit – Judgeship A

Unless this list is amended -- and it may be, of course -- it appears that the CFL did not make an endorsement in at least one contested primary, the race for the Bush vacancy in the 5th Subcircuit. Also, James N. O'Hara is unopposed in his bid to replace Judge James F. Henry -- but then, the CFL also decided to endorse Justice Anne M. Burke in her uncontested race.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thomas Francis Biesty website link

Courtesy of an email from Mary Biesty, the candidate's wife and campaign manager, I have this link to the campaign website of Thomas Francis Biesty, candidate for the Pucinski vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit. I've added this link to the list of candidate websites in the Sidebar. If you know of a candidate website that is not listed in the Sidebar, please send me an email.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

James E. Babcock, Jr. website link

Found: Campaign website of 13th Subcircuit Republican hopeful James E. Babcock, Jr. I've also added this link to the list of candidate websites in the Sidebar. If you know of a candidate website that is not listed in the Sidebar, please send me an email.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Debra Kramer Marcus: In her own words

Debra Kramer Marcus is a candidate for judge in the 8th Subcircuit.

Over my 27 years practicing law, I have had the opportunity to gain a wealth of experience in a variety of civil litigation matters, concentrating all of my efforts in courtroom related work.

I began my career working primarily on defense files for a wide spectrum of clients, including defending doctors in medical malpractice cases, manufacturers in product liability cases, and the insureds of various insurance companies.

I then became a founding partner of a boutique-style law firm, where I practiced for the next 20 or so years, and which by its unique nature presented an even broader range of civil litigation matters with which I was personally involved, including the defense of large manufacturing concerns such as Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Suzuki, Toyota, and Kawasaki. In this area I have been a featured speaker for IICLE and for client sponsored corporate seminars on issues of motor vehicle litigation and discovery.

Additionally, I have had, and continue to have at my current law firm, the opportunity to represent hundreds of injured plaintiffs. These cases run the gamut from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents, to slip and falls, to individuals suing transit companies, doctors, hospitals and major manufacturing concerns. Many of these cases have involved catastrophic injuries and complex liability issues, and have resulted in multimillion dollar settlements and/or verdicts.

Finally, I have had an extensive appellate practice, having briefed and argued numerous appeals in various Illinois Appellate Courts, the Illinois Supreme Court, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in over 20 reported decisions, either changing or supporting Illinois law.

I have recently been selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer, 2007 through a multi-step evaluation process that incorporates peer recognition and professional achievement to select the top 5% of Illinois lawyers for outstanding achievement in their practice of law.

Because of the large number and types of cases that I have been associated with over the years, I have acquired extensive experience in every stage of the civil litigation process. Further, because my experience has included work on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, I believe that I have a unique and beneficial perspective on handling all of the hotly contested issues that arise in the courtroom arena.

Moreover, I have always endeavored to conduct myself with professional and personal integrity and have consistently maintained cordial relationships with my opponents, as well as the judges before whom I have appeared, continuing these relationships long past the pendency of the case which formed our initial introduction.

I feel that obtaining a judicial appointment would be the pinnacle of my legal career as well as an opportunity for me to give back to the legal community which has enriched and rewarded me over the past 27 years.

Cook County judicial candidates are invited to submit their own personal essays. For more information about the "In Their Own Words" challenge, click here.

Thomas R. Mulroy: In his own words

Thomas R. Mulroy is a Democratic candidate for the Devlin vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit.

I am a Circuit Court Judge from the 12th Judicial Sub Circuit, having been appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme court in February 2007. I practiced law for thirty-four years and have a depth of varied courtroom experience representing clients in their most important legal matters. Temperament, decisiveness, politeness are essential qualities in a judge, but experience in the system and in representing clients cannot be learned and is invaluable to a judge. I am pleased to detail my experience below.

Upon graduation from Loyola Law School, I was appointed an Assistant United States Attorney and began my career as a courtroom lawyer. As a federal prosecutor I tried many jury cases in federal court and argued numerous matters before the Seventh Circuit.

I joined Jenner & Block in 1976 and remained with the firm for twenty-five years. I tried criminal and commercial jury cases throughout the country in the state and federal courts. I was very active in the representation of indigent clients through Catholic Charities, Legal Assistance Foundation and the Federal Defender Program.

While at Jenner, I was a member of the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission and was appointed Special Council to the Commission and prosecuted two members of the Commission for misconduct. I was an instructor of trial practice at Northwestern, Loyola and DePaul law schools and published numerous articles on trial practice and procedure. I established “The Mulroy Award for Excellence in Evidence” at Loyola Law School. I have given many presentations on trial issues and on lawyers’ ethics to practicing attorneys throughout the country.

In 2000, I left Jenner to begin my own firm. I represented the retired partners of Arthur Andersen in the wake of the Enron scandal and Andersen’s bankruptcy in order to recover some of their life savings lost as the result of Andersen’s scandal.

In 2003, I was recruited by Mcguirewoods to be chairman of its litigation department prior to its merger with Ross Hardies. I could not resist the opportunity of joining a national firm of almost 1000 lawyers in fifteen cities.

I was found highly qualified to be a judge by the Chicago Bar, Women’s Bar, Decalogue Society and Chicago Council of Lawyers. I am the endorsed Democratic candidate for the 12th Judicial Sub Circuit.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote that “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” Above all, we need judges who are experienced.

Cook County judicial candidates are invited to submit their own personal essays. For more information about the "In Their Own Words" challenge, click here.

Debra Kramer Marcus website link

8th Subcircuit candidate Debra Kramer Marcus has sent me an email providing a link to her campagin website. I've also added it to the list of candidate websites in the Sidebar. If you know of a candidate website that is not listed in the Sidebar, please send me an email.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A challenge that a candidate may welcome: In Their Own Words

A lot of petition challenges have been filed, so for many judicial candidates "challenge" right now is a loaded term.

But I propose a different kind of challenge here.

My belief is that judicial primaries provide a rare opportunity -- too rare these days -- to actually vote for a candidate. In fact, I suspect that many readers will come to the conclusion that, in many races, there are many good choices.

The bar associations have begun to scrutinize the candidates' credentials. I hope that all serious candidates are participating in this process. But, in the final analysis, bar association recommendations can only show how the candidates are measured by their peers.

The special interest groups will now also begin to measure the candidates according to their own agendas. I mentioned recently the questionnaire put out by the Illinois Civil Justice League. I mentioned that one specifically because I have a link to it; I know there are others from all sides of the political spectrum. I'd be pleased to post links if anyone will share.

But my point is that it would be a shame if candidates allowed themselves to be framed by these questionnaires: It would be better if each candidate could present himself or herself as he or she thinks best.

And that is my challenge. I invite every judicial candidate in Cook County to send me an email. In 500 words or less, I would ask each candidate to say why he or she should be elected. I'm not asking anyone to compare themselves to any opponent. Recall the adage 'you don't make your own candle shine brighter by blowing on someone else's.' I'm asking each candidate to say why he or she is the best choice for the voters to make. I'll run what they write.

And a couple of weeks before the primary I'll set up wrap up posts -- I'll arrange "sample ballot" posts. Each candidate who participates will have their name shown as a link -- a link to that candidate's "In Their Own Words" post. That way, voters will be able to 'comparison shop' -- reading each candidate's post and making a truly informed decision about their vote.

I'll start putting up posts now -- as soon as they come in. Sure, the first ones that come in will be "buried" in the blog -- but the links on the "sample ballot" posts will take voters to each one. As a practical matter, I'll probably have to cut off these posts by early January so that I can get the "sample ballot" posts up and available in plenty of time for the primary.

This is a chance to make the stump speech most of us who've run for judge will never have a chance to make.

I know writing such an essay won't be an easy task: As lawyers, we're used to advocating for a client -- for someone else. It's not as easy to talk about ourselves.

But I am tired of hearing about how no one knows who to vote for on the judicial ballot. I know candidates want to be heard; I know that there are limited outlets.

I offer this as one. If it's presumptuous of me to do make this offer -- well, it probably is.

Any takers?

Candidates: Just so you can gauge what your post will look like on this page, the post above to the dotted line is 543 words.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Check out the Sidebar -- List of Candidate Websites is taking shape

I've put together a list of all the candidate websites I've found (or that have been sent to me) so far.

(The website for Judge Thaddeus Wilson that was up at one time and then was "under construction" now seems to be off line.)

Please: If you know of a live site, send me an email or leave a comment. I'll add it in.

UPDATE -- November 20, 2007: The website for Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson is back on line again and has been added to the Sidebar accordingly.

A mystery solved in the 5th Subcircuit

Granted, it was no mystery to the persons involved, but when I looked at the list of candidates filing in the 5th Subcircuit, I couldn't find out anything about Helen Paxton. I concluded my post with a plea for information.

Well, ask and ye shall receive: An email arrived a few days back from Kulmeet S. Galhotra advising that Helen Paxton is Helen Paxton Arnold, an Assistant Public Defender at 555 W. Harrison. Paxton has been working in domestic violence courtrooms, he advised, since the courthouse was at 13th and Michigan. And "Bob" Galhotra should know; he's President of the Cook County Public Defenders' Association (he was also kind enough to send along the link to the union's website).

Herewith the races so far in the 5th Subcircuit:

Bush Vacancy

Jackie Marie Portman holds down the top ballot spot in the race for the Bush vacancy. Portman has been a lawyer since 1999, and is making her second run for the bench. She finished fourth in the 2004 primary contest for the Cox vacancy, about 18,000 votes behind the winner, Edward Washington, II. Portman is employed by the City of Chicago Office of Professional Standards. An objection has been filed to her candidacy.

Next on the ballot will be Judge Furmin D. Sessions, recently appointed to that vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court. An objection has also been filed to his candidacy.

Nkrumah Lumumba Hopkins holds the third and final ballot position for this vacancy. An attorney since 1998, she is a solo practitioner with an office on East 53rd Street.

Additional Judgeship A

Stephen Stern won the top spot for this race. Stern is a former president of the Cook County Bar Association. He too has a solo law office; his is in the Loop.

Dominique C. Ross has been a lawyer since 1995. She maintains a solo office at 26th and Michigan.

Helen Paxton will have the last spot on the ballot in this race; she did not file her papers until later in the morning of October 29th and so was not eligible for the ballot lottery. Objections are pending to her candidacy and to Stephen Stern's.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Five battle for Pucinski vacancy in 10th Subcircuit

Assistant State's Attorney John Garrett Maher will be first on the ballot for the Pucinski vacancy. An attorney since 1993, Maher was recently in the news as the prosecutor in the Phillip Radmer case. According to an article by Ray Gibson and Robert Becker in the September 25 Chicago Tribune, Radmer was the ex-Berwyn attorney who "was the central figure in a scheme, uncovered last year by the Tribune, to steal more than 60 vacant lots using phony corporations and fictitious buyers. Radmer netted at least $655,000 from the sale of just four properties owned by the First Presbyterian Church of Chicago."

Eileen O'Neill Burke is not a State's Attorney, although she was for 10 years. An attorney since 1990, O'Neill-Burke (her name is hyphenated in Sullivan's) maintains a solo office on Northwest Highway on the Northwest Side of Chicago.

O'Neill-Burke made the news a little over a year ago for her representation of Mardin Azad Amin, a young man who was trying to go home to Iraq for a family reunion when a female airport security guard discovered something in his carry-on luggage that she could not identify. She asked Amin what it was and he said it was a "pump" -- but the security guard thought he said "bomb." O'Neill Burke was ultimately able to make the felony charges go away; the news stories printed world-wide are still lurking on the Internet.

Joan Ellen Smuda is now an Assistant Attorney General, but she was appointed to the Circuit Court in 1995. She lost her 1996 primary bid to keep her seat when she was unable to secure the Democratic Party endorsement. Smuda has also served as general counsel for the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America.

Kenneth L. Fletcher is the slated candidate for the Pucinski vacancy. He was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill this vacancy. Before going on the bench, Fletcher was an Assistant Public Defender.

Thomas Francis Biesty is an Assistant State's Attorney who's been associated with the Cook County State's Attorney's cold case unit. He recently prosecuted Juan Luna for his part in the 1993 Palatine Brown's Chicken massacre. He drew the last spot on the ballot in this race.

Three vie for Morrissey vacancy in 10th Subcircuit

Diana L. Kenworthy will be first on the ballot for the Morrissey vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit. A lawyer since 1995, Kenworthy started her legal career in the Public Defender's office, she is a partner in her own firm, Jester, Kenworthy & Eagle LLC. Kenworthy is the slated candidate of the Democratic Party in this race.

John G. Mulroe is also in this race. A C.P.A. as well as an attorney, Mulroe serves as a hearing officer for the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. He also has served as an arbitrator in the Cook County court-annexed mandatory arbitration program.

Mulroe is a past president of the St. Juliana Parish School Board, according to his site, and as President of the Edison Park Community Council. He and his wife, Margaret, have four children.

The last candidate in this race is Assistant State's Attorney Rosaire Marie Hall. A colleague, Assistant State's Attorney Matthew W. Jannusch sent me an email today advising that a fundraiser will be held for Hall on Monday, November 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse, 1028 North Rush Street, Chicago. Jannusch writes, "Donations can be taken in advance or at the door. Suggested donation levels are Friend $50.00, Supporter $100.00, Patron $150.00, Benefactor $250.00 and Champion $500.00 or above." For more information or to make a reservation, email

According to Jannusch, Hall and her husband have lived in the 10th Subcircuit for 34 years. They have four children. Hall came to the law after working as a chemist for the City of Chicago for six years; she also served as Executive Director of the non-profit Edgewater Development Corporation. Writing about her legal experience, Jannusch reports Hall has "worked tirelessly for victims of domestic violence in Skokie, Rolling Meadows and at the Domestic Violence Courthouse at 13th and Michigan and at 555 West Harrison. She has also prosecuted deadbeat non-custodial parents at the Daley Center, 32 West Randolph, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview and Markham."

Illinois Civil Justice League has Cook County Judicial website

It's up but the links are inactive so far, at least the ones I've checked out.

But ICJL has a very neutral-sounding site, called which lists each and every candidate for judge in Cook County, including all subcircuits.

There is also a candidate questionnaire on the site... but I would suggest that some of the questions there are not particularly neutral.

Perhaps this is a topic we can come back to. If you've read the ICJL questionnaire and have opinions about it, leave a comment.

Have you seen other interest group questionnaires yet? Send me the links.

No challenges yet, but plenty of challengers in 10th Subcircuit

Challenges are coming in thick and fast in many of the judicial races, both countywide and subcircuit, but in the 10th Subcircuit, the candidates seem to have aligned themselves, selecting their races, with nary a challenge among them.

Merely writing that sentence will probably jinx it, but -- herewith the candidates for the Kowalski vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit. (I'll get to the Morrissey and Pucinski vacancies later.)

Gerald Patrick Cleary is a partner with Smith Amundsen -- not a lawyer for the Northern Trust Bank, as I'd speculated here in an early September post. To that other Gerald P. Cleary, Jr., I apologize; I was led astray by the fact that Candidate Cleary is using Patrick as his middle name professionally these days -- but a different middle name is listed on the ARDC website. (This is not a problem, as this post shows.) Candidate Cleary has been a lawyer since 1989.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed James Edward Snyder to fill the Kowalski vacancy in March 2007. He ran in the 10th Subcircuit once before, in 2004. Before going on the bench, Snyder was general counsel to the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Ursula Walowski filed for the Gardner vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit in the 2004 primary, according to an article in the December 23, 2003 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin but did not appear on the ballot. An Assistant State's Attorney, Walowski has been an attorney since 1993. Walowski recently made the news as the prosecutor at the trial of Edward Leak, a former Chicago police officer, who was accused of arranging the murder of a friend and business partner in order to collect on a half million dollars in life insurance. (The Leak trial was also notable in that, according to Sneed's October 23 column in the Chicago Sun-Times, the trial was Patrick Tuite's "swan song." Tuite has moved to New York, according to Sneed.)

Stephen F. Sidlowski works for the Chief Judge's office. He's been a lawyer since 1989. I believe Sidlowski started his legal career in the Public Guardian's office. He was then named, in 1993, fitness review administrator for the Chicago Archdiocese by Cardinal Bernadin, evaluating charges of clerical misconduct. In that capacity Sidlowski was soon required to evaluate the fitness of his boss when Steven Cook made charges of misconduct (ultimately recanted) against Cardinal Bernadin. Sidlowski moved to the Circuit Court in 1995, becoming a hearing officer in the Child Protection Division. The most recent edition of Sullivan's shows his title as Staff Attorney in the Legal Research Division of the Chief Judge's Office.

Update 11/14/07 6:30 pm

Judge Snyder won the ballot lottery today for the top spot for the Kowalski vacancy. He will be followed on the ballot by (in order) Ursula Walowski, Gerald Patrick Cleary, and Stephen F. Sidlowski.

Friday, November 09, 2007

MacCarthy chooses Glowacki vacancy -- and other candidates' choices

Terry MacCarthy filed for four countywide vacancies initially, but withdrew from two the very next day. Now he's dropped his bid for the Nowicki vacancy: MacCarthy has decided to run for the Glowacki vacancy.

Assistant Public Defendant Gary G. Stanton, a lawyer since 1975, has dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination for the Ryan vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit. He will seek the Tobin Vacancy.

Solo practitioner Dominique C. Ross has chosen to run for the Additional Judgeship available in the 5th Subcircuit, today dropping her bid for the Bush vacancy.

Palatine solo Pamela Elizabeth Loza will focus on the race for the Democratic nomination to the Devlin vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit, dropping her bid today for the countywide Healy vacancy. Assistant State's Attorney Mary Beth Duffy has taken a different path, dropping her bid for the 'A' vacancy in the 15th Subcircuit and her bid for the Healy vacancy. That leaves her in the countywide race for the Keehan vacancy.

Sharon Finegan Patterson has narrowed her choices today, dropping from the races for the Montelione and Keehan vacancies. For now, however, she remains in the running for the Murphy and Glowacki vacancies countywide and in the 8th Subcircuit.

Found: Campaign website of Judge Dennis J. Burke

Judge Burke's new website is here.

If you are a candidate with a website, or know of a candidate with a website, send an email or leave a comment here with the URL. I'll try and put together a directory of those I have so far in the very near future.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Two withdrawals in the 13th: The race begins to take shape

An email this afternoon from Jim Babcock, Republican candidate in the 13th Subcircuit advised he'd withdrawn from the race for the Tobin vacancy. That leaves him in the race for the Ryan vacancy. His comment: "First or last to withdraw, it doesn't matter. Take the line, make the shot and let the others choose which court they want to play on. I won't say 'airball.'"

Within an hour and a half, Ann Catherine Brady stepped up to the stripe: She withdrew from the Democratic primary contest for the Tobin vacancy.

What's in a name?

Questions have been raised about candidates' names -- whether it's appropriate to use a nickname, whether one must use the exact name on the candidate's own voter registration card, etc.

Here may be the answer: § 10-5.1 of the Illinois Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/10-5.1.
§ 10-5.1. In the designation of the name of a candidate on a certificate of nomination or nomination papers the candidate's given name or names, initial or initials, a nickname by which the candidate is commonly known, or a combination thereof, may be used in addition to the candidate's surname. If a candidate has changed his or her name, whether by a statutory or common law procedure in Illinois or any other jurisdiction, within 3 years before the last day for filing the certificate of nomination or nomination papers for that office, whichever is applicable, then (i) the candidate's name on the certificate or papers must be followed by "formerly known as (list all prior names during the 3-year period) until name changed on (list date of each such name change)" and (ii) the certificate or paper must be accompanied by the candidate's affidavit stating the candidate's previous names during the period specified in (i) and the date or dates each of those names was changed; failure to meet these requirements shall be grounds for denying certification of the candidate's name for the ballot or removing the candidate's name from the ballot, as appropriate, but these requirements do not apply to name changes resulting from adoption to assume an adoptive parent's or parents' surname, marriage to assume a spouse's surname, or dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage to assume a former surname. No other designation such as a political slogan, title, or degree, or nickname suggesting or implying possession of a title, degree or professional status, or similar information may be used in connection with the candidate's surname.
Election law specialists are invited to supplement, contradict or just simply point out where this answer goes off the tracks.

Fundraiser announced for Judge Hyman

A cocktail reception will be held Tuesday, November 20, 2007 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Flatwater Restaurant, 321 North Clark Street (River Level), for Judge Michael B. Hyman, candidate for the Nowicki vacancy.

Organizers, including Steve Blonder, one of Judge Hyman's ex-partners at Much, Shelist, Freed, Denenberg, Ament & Rubenstein, P.C., have announced three levels of tickets: Regular admission tickets are $200 each, Sponsor Level tickets are $500 each, and Patron Level tickets are $1,000 each. Checks should be made payable to Citizens for Judge Michael B. Hyman.

For more information about the reception, call Tressa Pankovits at (312) 952-6001 or email

Judge Hyman's campaign website may be found here.
The photograph with this post was obtained from the Flatwater website.

Candidate websites -- and a candidate comment

Found on-line:

Website of Laura J. Morask, Republican candidate in the 12th Subcircuit.

Website of Gerald Patrick Cleary, Democratic candidate in the 10th Subcircuit.

And, ironically enough, while putting this post up, I received a comment on this post from Ms. Morask. Follow the link and read the comment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ten run in 8th Subcircuit

Thanks to Susana Darwin, readers of this blog will find that most of the candidates for the Sheehan vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit are familiar....

Two sitting judges filed for the one vacancy.

Associate Judge Daniel T. Gillespie is a former Chicago police officer. Gillespie attended The John Marshall Law School at night while still on the force. After graduation Gillespie joined the Public Defender's office. After six years as a PD, Gillespie became an Assistant State's attorney in the narcotics division. He later went to the Attorney General's office, serving in the nursing home division. Gillespie became an Associate Judge in 1988. In 2004, the Illinois Judges Association bestowed the President's Service Award on Gillespie.

Judge James A. Shapiro was appointed to the Sheehan vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court on August 31. Shapiro is the President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. He has served as a treasurer of the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization and as chair of the IVI-IPO's Judicial Review Committee.

It was in that latter capacity that Shapiro made the news during the 2006 primary season. Shapiro drafted a controversial questionairre for the IVI-IPO for that election which was the subject of Jerry Crimmins' article for the January 3, 2006 issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Crimmins' article quoted Robert P. Cummins, a former chairman of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, as strongly objecting to "five hot-button questions" on the questionnaire and advising judicial candidates to refuse to answer them.

Crimmins' article said the "first two questions ask candidates whether they are 'for or against the death penalty' and for or against 'the right of a woman to have an abortion.'" Another question was, "Are you in favor of gay marriage? If not, are you in favor of civil unions?" The gay marriage question instructed candidates to "answer by 'putting aside whether it is an issue for the legislature instead of for the judiciary since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court seems to have done so.'" The other questions were "whether the candidates are for or against 'minimum sentencing' and why, and whether they are for or against treating 'juveniles as adults" in the justice system and why.'"

Shapiro was quoted in the article as defending the questionnaire as "within the strict letter of the law," citing Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765 (2003), and Buckley v. Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, 997 F.2d 224, 229 (7th Cir. 1993). In the January 2006 article, Crimmins wrote that Shapiro and the IVI-IPO believed that answers to these questions would "indicate whether the candidates are likely to rule as judges on other issues in a politically 'progressive' or politically 'conservative' manner."

Cummins, an adviser to the American Bar Association's Joint Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, was quoted in Crimmins' article as stating, "For an organization that touts itself as supporting merit selection, the shrill and coercive nature of the threatening questionnaire tells me and should tell the voting public that these folks know little about 'merit' and have little respect for an independent judiciary." But Shapiro countered that it was "'intellectually dishonest' to say that the questionnaire threatens an independent judiciary when candidates run with political party affiliation and some with party backing."

A follow up article, also by Jerry Crimmins, appeared in the January 6, 2006 Law Bulletin advising that the IVI-IPO had agreed to change the preamble to the questionnaire. Shapiro said the IVI-IPO "agreed to at least attempt to tone down what we did not intend to be, but what apparently turned out to be, the intimidating tone of the questionnaire." The follow up article indicated that the changes were not enough to satisfy the questionnaire's critics. The Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, a joint committee of the Illinois Judges Association, the ISBA and the CBA, issued a letter which said, in part, "As a general matter, the most that can be said is that candidates who answer the questions would risk violating [Supreme Court] Rule 67A(3)(d)."

Ann Collins Dole, Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Torts Division, also filed in the 8th Subcircuit. Collins Dole ran for a countywide vacancy in 2006, winning high marks from every bar association and the endorsements of the Tribune and Sun-Times, but lost to Aurelia Pucinski. The Tribune endorsement noted Collins Dole was "described as 'a model practitioner' in one bar association's evaluation."

Anne Marie Belanger, a partner in the Chicago office of Querry & Harrow, Ltd., also filed. A lawyer since 1993, she's been a partner at Querry & Harrow since 2003; the link in the preceding sentence will take you to her firm biography, which says, inter alia, that Belanger "has tried over 20 Municipal and Law Division jury trials, including 2 death cases and a third party criminal attack case."

Also filing as expected were Aaron J. Weiss, an Assistant Public Guardian in the Juvenile Division, and a lawyer since 1993; Gideon Abraham Baum, an Assistant State's attorney, and a lawyer since 1992; and James Byrne, also an Assistant State's Attorney, and a lawyer since 1989.

Three others also filed petitions in the 8th: Catherine Ann O'Connell, Debra Kramer Marcus, and Sharon Finegan Patterson.

Patterson also filed for the countywide Murphy, Montelione, Keehan, and Glowacki vacancies. Patterson ran for the Schiller vacancy in 2006, coming in third behind Pamela E. Hill Veal and second-place finisher Thomas J. Byrne (now slated for the Lott vacancy). Patterson has a solo office in the Loop; she's been a lawyer since 1980 and, according to her Sullivan's entry, practices in the areas of commercial litigation, employment disputes and personal injury.

Debra Kramer Marcus has been a lawyer since 1981. She is currently of counsel to Cogan & McNabola PC. According to a February 13, 2006 article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Marcus and John P. Jacoby won a $3.3 million verdict in a products case against the manufacturer of a dough-breaker machine. The case was tried before Judge Daniel J. Kelley, Martinez v. NBS Parts & Service, Inc., 03 L 8404.

Catherine Ann O'Connell is a partner with Morse & Bolduc, PC. A lawyer since 1997, the firm website says O'Connell's practice is in insurance defense and litigation.

Two uncontested... and two uncontested no longer

James N. O'Hara and Eward A. Arce are unopposed for the two vacancies in the 14th Subcircuit. No Democrats have filed against them in the primary; no Republicans filed at all. They will be sworn in as Circuit Court judges next December.

Currently, Arce is a solo practitioner with offices on W. 26th Street in Chicago. He's been a lawyer since 1985.

O'Hara is also a solo practitioner, with offices in the Loop. A lawyer since 1981, O'Hara won a $16 million medical malpractice verdict in 2002, representing the estate of a woman who died "of complications from medicine shortly after giving birth to her third child," according to Julia Brunts' article in the June 27, 2002 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. According to Brunts' article, that verdict was among the largest ever awarded to that time. O'Hara tried that case, Estate of Dorothy Oldanie v. Dr. Mani Akkineni, et al., No. 98 L 13238, with John Seastrom. Before entering private practice, O'Hara was an Assistant Attorney General.

Patrick J. Sherlock is already a judge, having been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the 3rd Subcircuit seat he now seeks to hold. He, too, was unopposed during most of the filing period -- but on the afternoon of the last day, Maureen Leahy Delehanty filed to oppose him. Delehanty is an Assistant State's Attorney; she's been a lawyer since 1992.

Michaela Nolan Ryan filed as a Republican late Monday afternoon, providing a primary opponent for Laura J. Morask. Here's a link to Ryan's biography at Kerns, Frost & Pearlman, where she is presently employed. (The accompanying picture of Ms. Ryan is also taken from the firm website.) According to that bio, after graduating from IIT Chicago Kent College of Law in 1991, Ryan worked for a time as an Assistant Attorney General. Since joining Kerns, Frost & Pearlman, also according to the firm biography, Ryan "monitors lawsuits involving professional liability insurance policies and commercial general liability policies nationwide. In addition, she attends mediations on behalf of clients and participates in litigation. [Ms. Ryan] also provides pro bono legal services."

Dona Nobis Pacem

A momentary respite from coverage of the 2008 Cook County Judicial Primary; this post comes from this blog's participation, however limited, in the wider Blogosphere.

Besides, a lawyer never passes up a good opportunity to use Latin. And there's never a bad time to pray for peace -- or for the safety of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in harm's way.

For more on today's "Blogblast for Peace," ask Mimi.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Four Democrats, seven Republicans file in 13th

There are two vacancies in the 13th Subcircuit; ten candidates have filed for both seats. Carol L. Barnes has filed as a Democrat for the Tobin vacancy only.

No Democrat even ran in 2006, when Jill Cerone Marisie was elected. Nor were there Democrats on the ballot in 2004 or 2000 when Thomas J. Kelley and Anthony A. Iosco were elected. The last Democrat to run in the 13th was Deight C. Adams. Adams lost to Thomas P. Fecarotta, Jr. in the 1998 election.

Republican hopefuls

Margarita Kulys Hoffman was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Ryan vacancy in July 2006; like all the other Republican candidates, she has filed for both the Ryan and Tobin vacancies. Before going on the bench, Kulys Hoffman was associated with the firm of Grund & Leavitt PC.

James E. Babcock Jr. filed as a Republican. Babcock, a lawyer since 1985, is a partner with Spinak & Babcock PC in downtown Chicago. Babcock and his partner made the Law Bulletin in 2006 when they won a $5.4 million verdict on behalf of a client after a two week trial in the Federal Court (Caletz and Evans v. Transport Carriers Inc., et al., No. 99 C 8146).

Cary J. Collins, a solo practitioner with offices in Hoffman Estates, and a lawyer since 1979, also filed. Collins' Sullivan's entry says that he practices in municipal, criminal and traffic law. Collins is also a Hoffman Estates Village Trustee.

Annie O'Donnell also has a solo practice in Arlington Heights. According to her Sullivan's entry, O'Donnell has a criminal law practice. O'Donnell has a been a lawyer since 1987.

George Straton has been a lawyer since 1990. His office is in far Northwest Chicago, near O'Hare Airport where, according to his Sullivan's entry, Straton specializes in criminal and traffic law and civil litigation. He was at one time an Assistant State's Attorney.

Paul S. Pavlus is an Assistant State's Attorney right now. He has been a lawyer since 1993.

Rounding out the field of Republican hopefuls is Guy M. Karm. Karm is also a solo practitioner, with an office in Arlington Heights. In 2004, Karm was President of the School Board at St. Mary's School in Buffalo Grove. He is a stepson of the late Judge William A. Kelly. A lawyer since 1982, Karm's listing in Sullivan's says his practice is in real estate, probate, criminal and traffic law.

Democratic hopefuls

Ann Catherine Brady practices family law with The Minton Firm in Schaumburg. (She should talk to Mr. Minton about getting listed on the firm website.) Brady has been a lawyer since 1987.

Joe Gump is an Assistant Public Defender. A lawyer since 1987, Gump is based at the Third Municipal District Courthouse in Rolling Meadows.

Gary G. Stanton, a lawyer since 1975, is also an Assistant Public Defender. He has served as Chair of the Hoffman Estates Planning Commission.

Like each of the Republicans, Democrats Brady, Gump and Stanton filed for both of the 13th Subcircuit vacancies.

Carol L. Barnes, as mentioned at the outset of this discussion, filed only for the Tobin vacancy.

I had an email from Robert Barnes regarding Carol Barnes' candidacy. She's only been a lawyer since 1999, according to the ARDC, but Robert Barnes' email adds that, after taking an engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Carol Barnes "began her professional career with a major military aircraft company. A computer scientist by day, she completed both her MBA and Master of Information Management degrees from Washington University in St. Louis at night." Then she went to law school, at IIT Chicago-Kent, later still taking an LL.M. degree in Intellectual Property from the John Marshall Law School.

Barnes' Sullivan's entry says she practices in corporate and intellectual property law. Robert Barnes' email says that Carol is "a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her practice in the Loop and in Palatine focuses on business law matters." Carol Barnes is also President of the Palatine Public Library District Board of Trustees.


Somewhere around 20 new candidates filed for Circuit and Subcircuit vacancies in Cook County yesterday, November 5, the last day for filing for the February 2008 primary. Some of these latecomers filed in races already profiled here; we'll get back to these in due course.

None of the latecomers will be first on the ballot in their races -- but nearly all those folks who waited outside the Board of Elections in the early morning hours of October 29 won't be first on the ballot either: They only qualified for a lottery to determine ballot position.

Being first on the ballot is supposed to confer an advantage. There are those who believe that, if you can't be first, it is better by far to be last than somewhere in the middle.

Of the latecomers, perhaps the most noteworthy is Judge Dennis J. Burke. Appointed to the Murphy vacancy by the Supreme Court, Judge Burke has apparently decided to challenge Judge Lauretta Higgins Wolfson, appointed by the Supreme Court to, and the slated candidate for, the Disko vacancy. Burke had been the fourth alternate slated by the Cook County Democratic Party -- but no new countywide vacancies have yet been posted for the special judicial filing period that begins November 19.

Burke had to step down as Associate Judge to accept appointment as a Circuit judge. Paula M. Lingo, chief legal counsel to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, was slated for the seat that Burke now holds.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Democratic primary draws crowd in formerly Republican subcircuit

In 2006 Ellen L. Flannigan became the first Democrat elected to the bench from the 12th Subcircuit. This year, four candidates have filed in the 12th as Democrats -- but, on the eve of the last day for filing, only one Republican is in the running.

Two of the four Democrats have already been profiled here: Judge Ellen Flannigan's husband, Thomas Flannigan, and Judge Thomas R. Mulroy, who was appointed to the Devlin vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Also filing as Democrats were Pamela Elizabeth Loza and Michael John Halloran. Loza is a solo practitioner with offices in Palatine. A lawyer since 1978, her Sullivan's listing says she concentrates in divorce and criminal law.

Halloran is an Assistant Public Defender. A lawyer since 1987, Halloran made the news in 2004 when a Cook County jury cleared him of charges of professional negligence in a suit brought by Richard R. Johnson.

It was a decision many years in the making. An article by Jim Day in the August 2004 issue of Chicago Lawyer summarized the initial issue this way: "In 1991, Johnson was charged with the rape of a 21-year-old graduate student at the University of Chicago. Some serology reports at the time found Johnson was a 'non-secretor,' but others matched an enzyme in Johnson's blood with semen found on the victim's clothing. After consulting with his superiors, Halloran moved to have the conflicting lab results excluded from trial, instead focusing on other weaknesses in the prosecution's case."

Johnson was found guilty and his sentence was affirmed, but eventually DNA testing showed he was not the perpetrator. After being released, Johnson sued Halloran and others in the Public Defender's Office for their strategy of attempting to exclude conflicting, and potentially damaging, test results. The case was initially thrown out on immunity grounds but the Illinois Supreme Court reversed. See, Johnson v. Halloran, 194 Ill.2d 493, 742 N.E.2d 741 (2000).

An article by Mickey Ciokajlo in the June 22, 2004 Chicago Tribune quoted Steven Puiszis, of Hinshaw & Culbertson, one of the attorneys who represented Halloran in the malpractice trial: "Mike has always maintained that Richard Johnson was innocent.... We're pleased that once the jury heard everything ... they realized why [defense counsel] took the strategy that they did, and they reached the same conclusion that we did." Johnson's case against Halloran helped spur enactment of the Public and Appellate Defender Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 19/1 et seq.

The one Republican candidate is Maine Township Trustee and Assistant State's Attorney Laura J. Morask. A lawyer since 1987, Morask filed petitions as a Democrat in 2004 for a 12th Subcircuit vacancy, according to a December 23, 2003 article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, but she was not on the primary ballot in 2004.

Morask was criticized by the Appellate Court for "prosecutorial excess" in People v. Griffith, 334 Ill.App.3d 98, 777 N.E.2d 459 (1st Dist. 2002); her conduct at trial was also scrutinized by the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Moss, 205 Ill.2d 139, 792 N.E.2d 1217 (2001).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Four square off in 7th Subcircuit

Anita Rivkin-Carothers was appointed In July to the Young vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit by the Illinois Supreme Court. Rivkin-Carothers had been a criminal defense attorney for 22 years at the time of her appointment, two in the Public Defender's office and the rest in private practice. She's filed in the Democratic primary seeking to hold her seat.

Three attorneys have so far filed to oppose her.

David H. Latham is a solo practitioner in Chicago; a lawyer since 1988, Latham was formerly with Altheimer & Gray.

Melanie Rose Nuby is an Assistant Public Defender working at the Cook County Juvenile Court. She's been a lawyer since 1994. Nuby ran from the 1st Subcircuit in 2004; she ran from the 7th Subcircuit in 2006, finishing third behind Carol M. Howard.

Kevin Kenneth Pechous is a solo practitioner with offices on Cermak Road in Berwyn. An attorney since 1991, Pechous' Sullivan's listing says he practices criminal law.

Martin D. Coghlan faces crowded field in 15th

Martin D. Coghlan was a solo practitioner in Homewood when he was tapped by the Illinois Supreme Court this February for the "A" vacancy in the 15th Subcircuit. A February 20 article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin noted that Coghlan founded the South Suburban Bar Association's Pro Bono Program in 1988. He's a 1964 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Coghlan has filed to hold his seat. Eight challengers have so far filed to unseat him on the Democratic side; two Republicans have filed as well.

Assistant State's Attorney Anna Helen Demacopoulos has filed as Democrat. Ms. Demacopoulos was a candidate in the 15th Subcircuit in 2002 and 2004 primaries and was a finalist for Associate Judge in 2003 and 2005. In a September 27 Sun-Times article, Demacopoulos was mentioned as being involved in the corruption prosecution of accused Chicago policeman Jerome Finnigan.

Assistant State's Attorney Mary Beth Duffy (a/k/a Mary Beth Kent-Duffy) made a pitch to be slated countywide, but was passed over. Duffy ran for the Nowinski vacancy in the 15th Subcircuit in 2006, finishing second to Daniel P. Brennan. She also ran countywide in 2004 for the Siracusa vacancy, finishing fourth behind Timothy P. Murphy.

Assistant State's Attorney Mary Louise Ryan Norwell also ran for the Siracusa vacancy in 2004, finishing fifth. Norwell has been a lawyer since 1984.

Thomas R. Mahoney is a fourth Assistant State's Attorney in the race. A lawyer since 1992, Mahoney made the Tribune most recently on October 19 in connection with his successful prosecution of Edward Leak, a Chicago policeman who "mastermind[ed] a plot to have his friend and business associate killed to collect on a $500,000 insurance policy."

Michael Emmett McGinnis, Jr. is not an Assistant State's Attorney; he's an Assistant Public Defender. McGinnis has been a lawyer since 1980.

William Joseph McGann has been a lawyer since 1975. A solo practitioner in Lemont, McGann's Sullivan's listing says he handles personal injury cases.

Carl Evans, Jr. is making his first run for the bench. A solo practitioner with an office in Palos Heights, Evans has been an attorney since 1993. His Sullivan's listing says Evans practices criminal defense, real estate and personal injury law.

Thomas "TJ" Somer is Chicago Heights' city attorney and is also the elected Bloom Township Supervisor. Though elected to that office as a Republican, Somer has filed in this race as a Democrat.

Filing in the Republican primary are Peter Fera and Donald Theodore Lyman. Fera is a solo practitioner in Orland Park. He has been a lawyer since 1968. Donald Theodore Lyman is -- what else? -- an Assistant State's Attorney. He's been an attorney since 1990.