Thursday, September 15, 2011

Correcting the record on one judge's rating

Alert readers are keeping me on my toes.

I recently put up a post (with the catchy title "In defense of the Supreme Court's recent practice of recalling appointed judges who've lost in a primary election"), in which I made the assertion that, as far as I knew, "no one has been appointed to the bench by the Supreme Court recently except men and women who have received unanimous approval from the evaluating bar groups, including the Chicago Council of Lawyers."

Not so fast, one reader said. The reader was certain that at least one judge who had not been unanimously approved by all the bar associations at the time of appointment. I was encouraged to go back and look.

I did. And when I did, I found that Judge Patricia Leeming, though rated qualified or recommended by every other bar association, was not rated qualified by the Chicago Council of Lawyers at the time of her appointment. (See, "Further inquiry into appointed-then-recalled judges.")

Not so fast, another reader said. In an email today, this reader said that Judge Leeming currently holds a "Qualified" rating from the Council. I was encouraged to investigate.

I did. And when I did, Malcolm C. Rich, the Executive Director of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, confirmed that Judge Leeming now does hold a Qualified rating from that group. He was kind enough to provide the Council's explanation of the rating as well:
Pamela M. Leeming – Qualified (Evaluated for Associate Judge in 2004 and reviewed in 2009; evaluated for recall in 2010)

Hon. Pamela M. Leeming was appointed to the bench in 2009 by the Illinois Supreme Court. She ran for election in the 2010 primary and was defeated. Before being appointed to the bench she served an Assistant Cook County Public Defender since her admission to practice in 1990. She concentrated her practice in the areas of paternity, criminal misdemeanor, preliminary hearings, a variety of other pre- and post-trial matters, and appeals. As both a lawyer and as a judge, she is considered to have good legal ability and temperament. The Council was concerned that as a lawyer she lacked breadth and depth in her legal experience, as well as an absence of sufficient experience in more complex litigation matters. As a judge she receives good marks for her temperament and ability to control a courtroom. The Council finds her Qualified for recall as a Circuit Judge
So now the record is, I hope, entirely clear. I await, however, an email from Lee Corso, accusing me of stealing his catchphrase....

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