Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lorna Propes appointed to 7th Subcircuit seat

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Chicago attorney Lorna Propes to fill a vacancy in Cook County's 7th Judicial Subcircuit created by the retirement of Judge Lawrence W. Terrell.

The appointment is effective September 10 and will expire on December 3, 2012.

Currently a name partner in the Chicago firm of Propes & Kaveny LLC, Propes is a 1975 graduate of Loyola School of Law. She served in the State's Attorney's Office from 1975-1980. She then went into private practice, joining a firm that was known as Kane, Obbish, Propes & Garippo and, later, as Propes & Garippo. In 1998, Propes joined Cahill, Christian & Kunkle. She founded Propes & Kaveny LLC in 2000.

Propes began service as a commissioner of the Illinois Racing Board in 1989, pursuant to an appointment by Governor James Thompson. In 2002, she was removed from the Board by then-Governor George Ryan, only to be brought back, seven months later, as Chair of the Board by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich. She is no longer a member of the IRB.

Before becoming a lawyer, Propes was a teacher and school guidance counselor. Propes is a 1966 graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington. She earned an M.A. in Secondary School Guidance from Columbia University in 1970.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No independent judicial candidates after all

Back at the end of June, this blog reported that two lawyers had filed to run as independents in the November election. Keith Thiel, filed to run against Judge Daniel A. Pierce, the otherwise-unopposed Democratic nominee for the "A" vacancy in the 14th Judicial Subcircuit. Roger Zamparo filed petitions seeking to challenge Ann Finley Collins, the unopposed Democratic nominee for the Riley vacancy in Cook County's 11th Judicial Subcircuit.

Both candidacies have come to an apparent end.

After challenges were filed to his nominating petitions, Thiel withdrew his candidacy.

Zamparo contested the petition to knock him off the ballot, but the Cook County Electoral Board ruled against him. (That's a link to the Board's August 6 decision.) Essentially, although Zamparo's petitions complied with the signature requirements published by the Illinois State Board of Elections for this election, the challengers argued, and the Electoral Board agreed, that, under a proper interpretation of §10-3 of the Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/10-3, the numbers were wrong.

Basically, to keep outsiders on the outside, the law provides that a wannabe candidate must calculate the proper number of required signatures on his or her own. The Electoral Board found there were two arguable numbers Zamparo could have used (Electoral Board decision at p. 2, footnote omitted):
The Objector's Petition describes the Candidates nomination papers as having 2,518 non-stricken signatures. Objector maintains that, following the provision of §10-3 of the Election Code [10 ILCS 5/10-3], the proper way to calculate the minimum signature level is to use the total number of voters who came to the polls in 2008 in the 11th sub-circuit, 87,254 (according to figures from the election authorities), and take 5% of that figure. This gives 4,362 signatures. Alternately, one could take 5% of the total number of votes received by the only candidate for election in the sub-circuit, 63,722, take 5% of that number and get a signature level of 3,186. But, Objector contends that the State Board number of 1,879 has no plausible basis in fact and must be an error. Since Candidate has submitted fewer signatures than either of these two possible signature levels, then his petition is inadequate.
Moreover, the Board held that Zamparo was not entitled to rely on the petition requirements published by the State Board of Elections (decision, p. 4, emphasis in original):
There is a natural tendency to be sympathetic to an individual who finds himself in the position of this Candidate. It seems not at all unreasonable for him to claim a right to rely on what the State Board of Elections published, despite the Board's printed-in-bold disclaimer "Legal information contained in this guide is not binding and should not be construed as sufficient argument in response to an objection to any candidate's nominating papers." But the Board itself seems to claim a right to limit others' claims of reliance by the use of this language, especially the phrase: "should not be construed as sufficient response to an objection."
Assuming that there is no court challenge to the Board's decision (and I would hope someone might let me know if one has been filed) Zamparo's brief candidacy is also at an end.

This restores the status quo that was established by the February primary: There is exactly one contested judicial race, the countywide race for the McCarthy vacancy.

Daley Center security works

WBBM Newsradio 780 recently reported the arrest of Thomas Pridgeon, a mortgage foreclosure defendant in a matter now pending in the Daley Center. According to the linked report, Mr. Pridgeon allegedly arrived for a hearing in his case carrying a briefcase. When the briefcase was placed on the belt scanner an alert sheriff's deputy noticed the outline of what turned out to be a ".45-caliber handgun was loaded with one bullet in the chamber and seven more in the clip."

The good news is that security works in the Daley Center. It would be nice, though, since screening is so effective, if the powers-that-be could be persuaded to unlock the stairway doors between, say, the 20th and 23rd floors.