Monday, October 04, 2010

On further review, Chicago Council of Lawyers finds Judge Ryan "Not Qualified"

The Chicago Council of Lawyers has changed its evaluation for Cook County Circuit Court Judge James J. Ryan. Although, as reported here earlier, the Council previously found Judge Ryan qualified for retention, persons clicking over to the Council's evaluation will now find this entry:
Hon. James J. Ryan – Not Qualified

Judge James J. Ryan was admitted to practice in 1992 and was elected to the bench in 2004 after refusing to be evaluated by the Council. Before taking the bench, Judge Ryan was an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney from 1993 to 1995 and was the Director of Operations and General Counsel for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office from 1995 to 2004. From 2004 to 2006 he sat in Traffic Court after which he was assigned to the courthouse in Bridgeview, where he presided over traffic and domestic violence cases. He currently hears felony preliminary hearings. His judicial career has mostly involved less complex matters.

While many praise Judge Ryan's ability to manage his voluminous court call, many others report that he can be short-tempered on the bench, and some have characterized his judicial behavior as an embarrassment. In addition, the Council has uncovered certain misstatements and omissions in Judge Ryan’s evaluation material with respect to the circumstances surrounding his assignment in Bridgeview and his transfer to his current assignment. These misstatements and omissions raise concerns for the Council regarding the candidate's judgment, his candor, and his respect for the judicial screening process. Subsequent investigation of these matters did not allay the Council’s concerns. The Council finds him Not Qualified for retention.
Judge Ryan did secure positive ratings from the AABA, BWLA, CCBA, DSL, HLAI, PRBA, and WBAI. The Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County recommended Judge Ryan's retention, but the Chicago Bar Association did not. In addition to the Council, three other Alliance members made negative recommendations, namely, the HBA, ISBA and LAGBAC.

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