Friday, March 28, 2014

Associate Judge "short list" has now been released

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and the Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced the names of the 26 candidates that they selected to appear on the ballot from which the circuit judges will vote to fill 13 associate judge vacancies. The finalists are:
  • Gregory Emmett Ahern, Jr.,
  • Julie Bess Aimen,
  • Shauna Louise Boliker,
  • Karen J. Bowes,
  • Matthew James Carmody,
  • James Robert Carroll,
  • Geraldine Ann D’Souza,
  • Melissa Ann Durkin,
  • Tiffany Mary Ferguson,
  • Rossana Patricia Fernandez,
  • Michael Angelo Forti,
  • Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie,
  • Michael James Hood,
  • Kevin Thomas Lee,
  • Myron Franklin Mackoff,
  • Alfredo Maldonado,
  • Adrienne Denise Mebane,
  • Mary Terese Nicolau,
  • Sanju David Oommen,
  • Michael Francis Otto,
  • Linda Johanna Pauel,
  • Edward N. Robles,
  • Steven Jay Rosenblum,
  • Devlin Joseph Schoop,
  • Debra Ann Seaton, and
  • Stephen Stern
As required by Supreme Court Rule 39, there are two finalists for each associate judge vacancy. Each full circuit judge in Cook County (there are 255 judges eligible to vote) will receive a ballot with these names on it and the top 13 finishers will become associate judges.

In announcing the names of the candidates, Chief Judge Evans said, "The Nominating Committee worked diligently to ensure that any one of these 26 individuals will be an asset to the bench if ultimately elected by the circuit judges. My colleagues and I were guided in our deliberations by a comprehensive approach that considered multiple aspects such as legal excellence and variety of legal experience as well as diversity of race, ethnicity and gender. We also examined the applicants’ bar ratings, career achievements and whether they could be fair and impartial adjudicators.”

In addition to Chief Judge Evans, the members of the Nominating Committee were:
  • Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division
  • Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Presiding Judge, Probate Division
  • Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section
  • Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
  • Honorable Raymond L. Jagielski, Presiding Judge, Fifth Municipal District
  • Honorable Marjorie C. Laws, Presiding Judge, Sixth Municipal District
  • Honorable William O. Maki, Presiding Judge, Third Municipal District
  • Honorable Edmund Ponce de León, Presiding Judge, County Division
  • Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District
  • Honorable E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District
I will try and get an additional post up about the finalists as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, there are over 200 disappointed applicants today who were not selected for this "short list." (Full disclosure: I am one of these.) Over 270 persons applied and while, according to the Chief Judge's office, 41 withdrew from the process for one reason or another -- some of them because they won nomination to the bench in the primary election just concluded -- the Nominating Committee conducted interviews of 240 would-be judges.


Anonymous said...

If the Supreme Court of Illinois won't appoint Judges that have run and lost in an election ,why are the Circuit Court Judges nominating candidates that ran in the 2012 and 2014 elections and lost ?

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon -- I wonder if you're not the same Anonymous who left a similar comment in a post on Page Two. Let me respond here as I did there.

You misunderstand the Supreme Court's rule. The Supreme Court has agreed to no longer recall to judicial service judges who were appointed but who subsequently did not win election. The Supreme Court has not agreed to automatically cashier a judge who the court felt was worthy of appointment but who failed to win election, perhaps only because of lack of party slating or ballot position or being stuck in a race with a woman with an Irish surname. In fact, since the policy was announced in 2012, there have been several cases where the court has appointed that defeated judge to a different vacancy.

From a management standpoint, clearly, it makes sense to reappoint persons who have done well in judicial service whether or not they have had problems at the polls.

A recalled judge fills a personnel need in the court system, but not a statutorily created vacancy, and therefore is not required to seek election. The reason the recall mechanism became controversial in Cook County was that, over 20 years ago, the Supreme Court recalled someone to judicial service who had been defeated in a retention election. I really don't see how recalling a judge to service who was defeated in a primary election can be compared to recalling a judge who was voted out of office in a straight up or down, yes or no, vote by the people of Cook County. (I wrote about that in this post.)

The Court's current policy of sometimes reappointing former appointees to new vacancies does force those Supreme Court nominees to keep seeking public validation of the court's choices while keeping judges in office who have performed capable service.

The Circuit Court Nominating Committee is likewise interested in keeping judges in office who have performed well as judges but who may not have, for whatever reason, performed well at the polls. Quite frankly, I was surprised that the Nominating Committee chose only two current judges for the short list (and none of the former judges who applied).