Monday, November 26, 2012

Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs receives new appointment

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs to the Cook County Circuit Court countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Barbara A. McDonald. The appointment is effective November 30, 2012 and expires on December 1, 2014.

At the time of this new appointment, Judge Cobbs was serving by appointment to the countywide Simmons, Jr. vacancy. (Jessica A. O'Brien has been elected to this vacancy and will take office next week.) In appointing Judge Cobbs to the McDonald vacancy, the Illinois Supreme Court terminated Cobbs' appointment to the Simmons, Jr. vacancy.

Before her first appointment to the bench in 2011, Judge Cobbs served as Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

Judge Cobbs has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland. She worked for several years in Maryland in a clinical setting helping abused and neglected children before turning to the law.

Cobbs started her legal career in 1989 as a law clerk, and later chief law clerk, to Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman. She joined the AOIC in 1997, becoming Chief Legal Counsel for the Administrative Office within two years. Cobbs was initially appointed Director of the AOIC in March 2002. Cobbs served under five Chief Justices, the second longest tenure in that office since it was established in 1960.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Swanson, Lyle receive new appointments

Judge Lyle
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Freddrenna M. Lyle to the 7th Subcircuit vacancy created by the appointment of Judge William H. Taylor II to the Appellate Court. Judge Lyle had been serving by appointment to the Stuttley vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit; that appointment will terminate when the new appointment begins.

Judge Lyle's new appointment runs from November 16 to December 1, 2014.

The Illinois Supreme Court has also appointed Judge Alfred M. Swanson, Jr. to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nancy J. Arnold. Judge Swanson had been serving by appointment to the countywide Ward vacancy; that appointment also terminates as the new appointment begins, on November 16. This appointment will also end on December 1, 2014.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

It looks like all retention judges survive

I'm focusing tonight on three judges who were targeted for defeat by the Chicago Tribune and the vast majority of bar associations (all of the bar associations in the case of Judge Hill-Veal, who chose not to participate in the screening process). In past elections, judges similarly situated tended to run behind their brother and sister judges seeking retention. If these judges prevail, then all the retention judges are likely to prevail.

With roughly 80% of the votes counted, City and suburbs, Judge Pamela Hill-Veal is polling a 62.73% favorable vote. Judge Gloria Chevere has received a 62.75% favorable vote and Judge Cynthia Brim has received a 63.02% favorable vote.

Updating: With over 95% of the vote counted in both the City and suburbs, all three judges seem sure to be retained, with Judges Brim and Chevere both at slightly over a 63% favorable result, with Judge Brim getting just under 63%.

Results so far in contested subcircuit races

There are only three subcircuit contests, one in the 12th Subcircuit and two in the 4th Subcircuit.

In the 12th Subcircuit, with just over 75% of the votes counted, Judge Andrea Schleifer is ahead of Republican challenger James Paul Pieczonka by about 5,500 votes, 46,396 to 40,865.

In the 4th Subcircuit, in the race for the Riley vacancy, with just over 75% of the votes counted, Democratic candidate Terry Gallagher is ahead of Republican Harry J. Fournier, 48,523 to 28,868.

In the 4th Subcircuit "A" vacancy race, Democrat Edward M. Maloney is ahead of Republican Christine Cook, 47,828 to 31,257.

Theis coasting in Supreme Court race

With nearly two-thirds of the votes counted in the City of Chicago, Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis is far ahead of her Republican challenger, Circuit Court Judge James G. Riley, 83.52% to 16.48%.

Outside of Cook County, the margin isn't as huge, but it's still quite comfortable. With just over 70% of the votes tallied, Theis leads Riley 64.38% to 35.62%.

Retention judges can breathe easier?

Just under half the judicial retention votes are already counted -- and it's only 8:00p.m. (Modern technology is amazing.)

It is a matter of historic fact that those judges who receive the most strongly negative reviews trail behind their more-favorably-rated colleagues.

So I'm looking this evening at three judges on the retention ballots who received the least favorable ratings.

With just under 50% of the votes counted, Judge Cynthia Brim has received 'yes' votes on the question of her retention from just over 62% of the voters so far. Judge Gloria Chevere has also received 'yes' votes of just over 62%. Judge Pamela Hill-Veal, who refused to participate in any of the bar association reviews, is polling a favorable vote of just under 62%. A judge must get 'yes' votes from 60% of the voters in order to remain in office (60% + 1). If these numbers hold up, these three judges will keep their seats -- and, by extension, all the retention judges are likely to remain in office.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Jessica O'Brien Fashion Fundraiser Election Eve

Jessica A. O'Brien defeated two candidates in the March Primary to claim the Democratic nomination for the countywide Simmons, Jr. vacancy. She faces no opposition in next week's election (no Democratic nominee for a countywide Circuit Court vacancy faces any Republican opposition) but O'Brien does have a campaign debt to retire.

Accordingly, the Jessica O'Brien for Judge Committee is planning a program, "Fire, Fashion & Politics," on Monday, November 5, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, 1401 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago.

Summer Jackson-Cole, of WCIU-TV, will serve as host of the fashion show. Cameron Croft, Social Entrepreneur, and Carmen C. Rivera, Assistant to the Publisher of Chicago Magazine, will be Master and Mistress of Ceremonies. The "headlining fashion designer" is Borris Powell. Special appearances by local actors from the NBC-TV series Chicago Fire are also planned. To view the entire program for the event, see O'Brien's campaign website.

Tickets are $50 a person in advance, $75 at the door. To reserve tickets, see the website or email

Friday, November 02, 2012

IVI-IPO makes "yes" recommendations in certain retention races

The Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization has posted its endorsements for the November election. That's a link to the IVI-IPO's endorsement page in the preceding sentence.

Among their endorsements, the IVI-IPO has singled out several Circuit Court judges seeking retention and recommended a "yes" vote. These retention candidates are:
  • Moshe Jacobius,
  • Stuart F. Lubin,
  • Raymond Funderburk,
  • Robert Lopez Cepero,
  • Garritt E. Howard,
  • E. Kenneth Wright Jr.,
  • Lisa Ruble Murphy,
  • James M. Varga,
  • Camille E. Willis,
  • Maura Slattery Boyle,
  • Thomas David Roti,
  • Colleen F. Sheehan,
  • Orville E. Hambright,
  • Michael J. Howlett, Jr.,
  • Carl Anthony Walker,
  • Gloria Chevere,
  • Grace G. Dickler,
  • Carol M. Howard, and
  • Diane M. Shelley.
Judges Jacobius, Lubin, Howlett, and Dickler are among the nine judges singled out by the Chicago Council of Lawyers as "well qualified" for retention.

Judge Schleifer makes another NTNM appearance; wrap-up of Cook County contested judicial races

Judge Andrea M. Schleifer is a guest this week on Avy Meyer's North Town News Magazine. With Mr. Meyer's permission, you can watch that interview here.

Judge Schleifer is one of the few judicial candidates who finds herself in a contested race this November. Appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the 12th Judicial Subcircuit seat for which she is now a candidate, Judge Schleifer is opposed by Republican candidate James P. Pieczonka. (Links to both candidates' websites are embedded in the preceding sentence.)

The Chicago Tribune recently endorsed Judge Schleifer in this race.

There are only two other contested elections for the Cook County Circuit Court on this November's ballot. Both are in the west suburban 4th Judicial Subcircuit.

In the race for the 4th Subcircuit Riley vacancy, Democratic candidate Terry Gallagher is opposed by Republican Harry Fournier. (Those are links to the candidates' websites in the preceding sentence.) I had an email this week pointing out that Fournier is the only Cook County Circuit Court candidate endorsed by the IVI-IPO for the November election. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Gallagher in this race.

In the race for the "A" vacancy in the 4th Judicial Subcircuit, Democratic candidate Edward M. Maloney is opposed by Republican Christine Cook. The Tribune endorsement went to Maloney in this race.

Cook County voters who do not reside in either the 4th or 12th Subcircuits will have only one contested judicial race on the ballot, that being the race for the Illinois Supreme Court. In this race, Justice Mary Jane Theis is the Democratic nominee; she was appointed to the Supreme Court vacancy when Justice Thomas Fitzgerald stepped down. Her Republican opponent is Cook County Circuit Court Judge James G. Riley. The Chicago Tribune has endorsed Justice Theis in this race.