Wednesday, October 22, 2008

15th Subcircuit roundup: Demacopoulos v. Fera

I begin this roundup with a confession: I lack the technical skills to make this photo of 15th Subcircuit Democratic Candidate Anna Helen Demacopoulous the same size as the only photo that I have for her Republican challenger, Peter Fera.

That's Mr. Fera on the upper right.

So please don't read anything into the photographs as displayed. And please read on:

The Chicago Bar Association found both Demacopoulous and Fera qualified for the bench. Of Fera, the CBA stated:
Peter Fera is "Qualified" for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Fera was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1968. Mr. Fera is well regarded for his knowledge of the law and extensive practice experience. Mr. Fera possesses all the requisite qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
These were the CBA's comments regarding Demacopoulous:
Anna Helen Demacopoulos is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Demacopoulos was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1985 and currently serves as a supervisor in the special prosecutions unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Ms. Demacopoulos is highly regarded for her integrity, legal knowledge and ability, and outstanding temperament.
But the Chicago Council of Lawyers split on the candidates. Of Demacopoulos, the Council stated:
Anna Helen Demacopoulos was admitted to practice in Illinois in 1985. Ms. Demacopoulos has spent her entire career with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and is currently the Supervisor, Special Grand Jury, in the Narcotics Bureau at 26th and California. Prior to that she was a Deputy Supervisor in Felony Review (3 years), a Deputy Supervisor in the First Municipal Division (5 years), and an Assistant State’s Attorney (8 years). From 1987 to the present, she has been an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School teaching all levels of trial advocacy. Since 1997, she has been the Grant Reviewer and Program Consultant on Domestic Violence, Stalking, Hate Crimes and Community Prosecution for the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, Violence Against Women’s Office. The investigation of this candidate confirmed her talent as a lawyer, her integrity and her work ethic.

Ms. Demacopoulos identified two cases in which her professional conduct has been commented on by the Appellate Court. A Chicago Tribune investigation also uncovered a 1989 Batson violation that the district judge found to be the product of the candidate’s inexperience. Upon review, we regard these matters as insufficiently serious or current to disqualify the candidate. The Council finds Ms. Demacopoulos Well Qualified to serve in the Circuit Court.
These comments were apparently generated by the Council in 2002 when Demacopoulos applied to serve as an Associate Judge.

The Council said this about Fera:
Peter A. Fera has been a lawyer since 1968. Mr. Fera is considered to be a highly experienced attorney in will and estates, trusts, banking regulations and compliance, mortgage law, and real estate work. He is considered to have good legal ability in transactional work. While his litigation work is limited, he has done some insurance defense litigation and eviction work during his career. Mr. Fera is a highly respected transactional lawyer who has demonstrated solid ability. The Council is concerned, however, that judges need to have substantial litigation experience before going on the bench. On balance, the Council finds him Not Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Alliance of Bar Associations (which includes the Council, but not the CBA) issued these ratings of the two candidates (click to enlarge):

The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Demacopoulous in this race. Ms. Demacopoulos' campaign website is If Mr. Fera has a campaign website, I have been unable to locate it (remember: I do not claim superior technological skills). I will of course update this post if someone points me to Mr. Fera's site.

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