Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sun-Times makes judicial picks

Updated after reading the paper, as is my custom, on the train....

The Chicago Sun-Times is out this morning with its judicial endorsements. The editorial begins, "The most consequential vote you may cast Tuesday -- on behalf of a woman seeking custody of her children, a senior citizen trying to keep his house, or a man facing a death sentence -- is for judge." Hard to argue with that.

But, the writer of the editorial laments, "You won't recognize the names of most of the 104 candidates, nearly all Democrats, seeking 24 seats on the Cook County circuit and state appellate court."

Gosh. If only the editorial writer knew someone who worked at a newspaper -- a newspaper might cover judicial races so that people would recognize who the candidates were. The saddest part is that the Sun-Times actually has a reporter on its staff who could provide excellent coverage of judicial races... only he doesn't seem to get the chance often enough.

I refer to Abdon M. Pallasch, who once reported for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Pallasch wrote about the Democratic Party's judicial slating process back in September; this morning he has an article about Judge James Epstein's television commercial. I understand Pallasch has other duties -- but if the Sun-Times really believes that judicial elections are so "consequential," you'd think he might be given more opportunities to report on judicial contests.

Ah, well. People who visit this blog regularly will "recognize" most of the "names" of the Circuit Court candidates -- and know something about every one of them except those few who seem to fly deliberately under the radar.

Without any further editorializing of my own, then, herewith the Sun-Times judicial picks:
Appellate Court

Kathleen G. Kennedy and James Epstein both have received excellent ratings in their bid for the McNulty vacancy, and they stand head and shoulders above three other candidates. We endorse Kennedy, a former public guardian rated "highly qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association.

Aurelia Pucinski is a candidate voters will recognize as a former clerk of the Circuit Court, but Judge Thomas L. Hogan has the legal ability that Chicago's lawyers say best qualifies him to fill the O'Malley vacancy. We endorse him over Pucinski and three other candidates. The Chicago Bar Association praised Hogan for "his integrity, legal knowledge judicial experience and work ethic."

It's a close call between Judge Mary Katherine Rochford and Judge Sebastian T. Patti, both with excellent reputations, but Rochford gained just a few more "highly" recommended ratings from bar groups.

Circuit Court

The Sun-Times enthusiastically endorses former criminal defense lawyer William H. Hooks for the Berland vacancy. Hooks, a Marine, a law professor and a litigator in state and federal courts, earned top marks from just about every bar group.

Public defender and law professor Terry MacCarthy is heartily endorsed over three worthy opponents for the Bronstein vacancy.

Jamaican-born Assistant Corporation Counsel Linda J. Pauel is endorsed over the equally highly regarded Susan Kennedy Sullivan and two poorly rated opponents in the race for the Dolan vacancy.

Raymond W. Mitchell, a former attorney at Winston & Strawn who worked on former Gov. George Ryan's defense team, is endorsed for the Hayes vacancy.

Attorney John Patrick Callahan Jr. is endorsed for the Kelley vacancy.

In a rare Republican primary race, the Sun-Times endorses arbitrator Maureen Masterson Pulia over Michaela Nolan Ryan.

Longtime personal injury litigator Russell William Hartigan stands out among seven candidates seeking the Riley vacancy. The Chicago Council of Lawyers praises him as "hardworking, conscientious and knowledgeable."


1st Subcircuit (South Side). Chicago Board of Elections Examiner Thaddeus L. Wilson is the clear choice over Linnae Bryant for the Coleman vacancy. Bankruptcy attorney Jesse Outlaw is the only good choice among five contenders for the Steele vacancy.

3rd Subcircuit (Southwest Side). Former prosecutor and public guardian Allen F. Murphy is the best choice for the Carmody vacancy. David Joseph Coleman, who handles special prosecutions for the Cook County state's attorney's office, gets our nod for the Darcy vacancy. The Chicago Council of Lawyers finds him well-qualified. For an open seat, we choose Daniel Malone, a former personal injury lawyer found "highly qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association.

9th Subcircuit (north suburbs). Defense lawyer Geary W. Kull is found "highly qualified" for the Otaka vacancy by the Chicago Bar Association for his "legal ability and outstanding temperament." For the other 9th Subcircuit vacancy, Pro Bono Advocates Executive Director Mary Susan Trew is endorsed.

11th Subcircuit (Northwest/West Side). In a crowded field of 11 candidates, Assistant Public Defender Ann Finley Collins stands head and shoulders above the rest for the Riley vacancy, with "highly qualified" ratings from many bar groups.

15th Subcircuit (south suburbs). For the Lipinski vacancy, we endorse Linzey D. Jones, village president of Olympia Fields, who is rated "highly qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association. For the Panichi vacancy, we endorse state Rep. George F. Scully -- whom the state Supreme Court already has appointed to the bench -- over respected prosecutor Mary Therese Quinn. For the Phelan vacancy, we endorse Judge John C. Griffin.

The complete Sun-Times editorial is available here.

Related: What Circuit Court race are you looking for?

No comments: