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.

No comments: