Friday, April 04, 2014

Judge Lyle's "Qualified" rating resinstated by the CBA

The Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee has reinstated the "Qualified" rating previously bestowed on Circuit Court Judge Freddrenna M. Lyle, who fell short in her bid for the Gordon vacancy on the Appellate Court in last month's primary.

FWIW readers may recall that the CBA JEC pulled Judge Lyle's rating just days before the primary because campaign commercials being played in heavy rotation on certain radio stations appeared to indicate that the Chicago Bar Association had endorsed Judge Lyle's candidacy.

Neither the CBA nor any of the member bar associations of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening issues endorsements in judicial races; instead, these bar associations issue ratings as to whether they believe the candidate Qualified or Recommended for judicial office (different bar groups use one word or the other).

The withdrawal of the "Qualified" rating did not mean that the CBA had decided Judge Lyle was not qualified; rather, under the rules of the JEC, it meant that further investigation would be required before a final rating would be issued.

Of course, with the rating being pulled on the Friday evening before the Tuesday primary, there was virtually no chance to conduct that investigation before the polls opened, and closed, on March 18.

But the CBA investigation is complete now, and JEC Chair John P. Jacoby's April 3 letter to Judge Lyle confirms that the Qualified rating has been reinstated and thanks Judge Lyle for her cooperation with the JEC's additional investigation.

Jacoby told FWIW this morning that the investigation revealed that the objectionable language in the commercial was not in either the original or revised script for the commercial. Moreover, Jacoby said, when Judge Lyle learned of the problem she took steps to try and have the commercial pulled. The commercial was not pulled, Jacoby said, because it turns out to be "very difficult in this digital age" to edit or remove commercials that have already been slotted for airing. On the other hand, Jacoby said, Judge Lyle was able to revise the robocalls used in her election day get out the vote strategy to eliminate any mention of the CBA.

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