Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome early voters!

Welcome early voters! Of course, if you didn't also vote in the Democratic Primary (with very limited exceptions) it is far too late to have any influence on who will be elected to the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court or to the Cook County Circuit Court: The winners of nearly all of the Democratic primary races -- in all of the countywide races and nearly all of the Circuit Court races -- are unopposed. We'll come back to these races eventually.

But, first, early voters, let's look at where you can still exercise your franchise in a meaningful manner. You can vote for (or against) the over 70 judges (including one elected Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court) who are seeking retention.

If you think that's a lot of judges to keep track of, you are in good company. According to Michael Sneed's column in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times, President Obama himself complained about the length of the retention ballot when he voted early yesterday. Sneed quoted the President as saying, "You gotta shorten the ballot! Two many judges! Seventeen pages of names! You are killing me!"

Clearly, POTUS does not read this blog. (Apparently the Sun-Times has laid off the last of its copy editors as well.)

But there are resources for voters looking for information or guidance concerning the retention judges. The retention judges themselves have their own website. You will find there a linked list of all jurists seeking retention. As of Saturday morning, many of those links provided biographical information, pictures or .pdf resumes. To wit:
You may find some these prior posts here on FWIW to be helpful as well:
The Chicago Tribune follows the lead of the Chicago Council of Lawyers on the retention ballot, urging a no vote only on Judge Annie O'Donnell.

The Illinois Civil Justice League has today released its ratings of Cook County retention hopefuls on its IllinoisJudges.net site. The ICJL rated retention candidates as Highly Recommended, Recommended, No Position, or Not Recommended. According to ICJL President Ed Murnane, the "No Position" rating was assigned to candidates or judges "who did not return our questionnaire and/or their candidacy left us insufficient information to assign a rating." The ICJL rated candidates "Not Recommended" if, in the opinion of that organization, there were "questions about the integrity, impartiality, fairness, or conduct of the candidate, judge, or their campaign." According to Murnane, judges earned a "Recommended" rating if they "demonstrated a satisfactory level of competency in regards to their legal and/or judicial careers, and/or who have demonstrated their commitment to educating the voters about their background, experience and viewpoints on the judicial system." The "Highly Recommended" rating was reserved, according to Murnane, for "judges who have demonstrated a high level of competency based on those criteria."

The ICJL gave "Highly Recommended" ratings to four Cook County Circuit Court judges, Gregory Wojkowski, Themis Karzenis, Lewis Nixon, and Donna Cooper. Justice Thomas Hoffman received a "Recommended" rating from the ICJL in his bid to be retained on the Illinois Appellate Court.

Here is the complete ICJL list of Cook County Circuit Court judges as published this morning in its daily newsletter:
Assigned to the Appellate Court:
Michael Hyman – Recommended
Robert Gordon – No Position
Mary Anne Mason – No Position

Assigned to the Law Division:
Joan Powell – Recommended
Eileen [O'Neill] Burke – Recommended
Patrick Sherlock – Not Recommended
Eileen Brewer – No Position
James O’Hara – Not Recommended
Margaret Brennan – Not Recommended
Janet Brosnahan – Recommended
Lynn Egan – Recommended
Gregory Wojkowski – Highly Recommended
James Flannery – No Position
Thomas Lipscomb – Recommended
Themis Karnezis – Highly Recommended
Thomas Flanagan – No Position

Assigned to the Chancery Division:
Lewis Nixon – Highly Recommended
Kathleen Kennedy – Recommended
Rodolfo Garcia – No Position

Assigned to the Probate Division:
Mary Ellen Coghlan – Recommended
Ann Collins-Dole – Recommended
Kathleen McGury – Recommended
John Fleming – Recommended
James Riley – Recommended

Assigned to the County Division:
Edmund Ponce de Leon – Recommended
Margarita Kulys Hoffman – Recommended

Assigned to the Domestic Violence Division:
Diana Kenworthy – Recommended
Ursula Walowski – Recommended
Sebastian Patti – Recommended

Assigned to the Domestic Relations Division:
Debra Walker – Recommended
Raul Vega – Recommended

Assigned to the Criminal Division:
Diane Gordon Cannon – Recommended
William Lacy – Recommended
Clayton Crane – Recommended
Kenneth Wadas – Recommended
Evelyn Clay – Recommended
Thomas Byrne – Recommended
Rickey Jones – Recommended
Mauricio Araujo – Recommended

Assigned to the Juvenile Justice Division:
Donna Cooper – Highly Recommended

Assigned to the First Municipal District:
Anita Rivkin-Carothers – Recommended
Jackie Portman – Recommended

Assigned to the Second Municipal District:
Shelley Sutker-Dermer – Recommended

Assigned to the Fourth Municipal District:
Kristyna Ryan – Recommended

Assigned to the Fifth Municipal District:
Patrick Rogers – Recommended
Peter Felice – Recommended

Assigned to the Sixth Municipal District:
James Rhodes – Recommended
Anna Demacopoulos – Recommended
Frank Zelzinski – Recommended
The IVI-IPO has also recommended several Circuit Court judges seeking retention for a "yes" vote. The IVI-IPO has not announced that it opposes any judicial retention bid; it has merely endorsed some, but not all, of the Circuit Court judges seeking retention. The retention candidates singled out by the IVI-IPO are:
  • Ann Collins Dole
  • Anna H. Demacopoulos
  • Clayton J. Crane
  • Debra Walker
  • Diana Kenworthy
  • Donna Cooper
  • Edmund Ponce de Leon
  • Edward A. Arce
  • Eileen Brewer
  • Eileen O'Neill Burke
  • Evelyn B. Clay
  • Jackie Marie Portman
  • James P. Flannery, Jr.
  • James Rhodes
  • Kathleen Kennedy
  • Kathleen McGury
  • Kenneth J. Wadas
  • Kristyna C. Ryan
  • Lewis Nixon
  • Lynn M. Egan
  • Marilyn F. Johnson
  • Marjorie C. Laws
  • Mary Anne Mason
  • Mauricio Araujo
  • Michael B. Hyman
  • Raul Vega
  • Rickey Jones
  • Robert E. Gordon
  • Sebastian Thomas Patti
  • Thomas J. Lipscomb
  • Ursula Walowski
  • William Lacy
So -- early voters -- you have some resources with which to make informed decisions on the judicial retention ballot, even if the retention ballot is, like this post, rather long.

But -- and this is where we came in -- most of you won't have any say in who gets elected to the bench for the first time. I told that you that, with just a few exceptions, the winners of the Democratic primaries, countywide and subcircuit, are unopposed for election.

Here are the exceptions:

In the 13th Subcircuit, no Democrat filed. Thus, John Curry, the Republican candidate is unopposed.

In the 12th Subcircuit, Democrat James Kaplan is opposed by Republican James Paul Pieczonka.

In the 4th Subcircuit, Democrat John J. Mahoney is opposed by Republican Ian Brenson in the race for the Billik vacancy.

These prior FWIW posts may be helpful to voters in the far north suburban 12th Subcircuit or far west suburban 4th Subcircuit:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just voted early. Too many judges. Why do subcircuit judges run for retention countywide?

Is there some constitutional reason why subcircuit judges don't run for retention in their own subcircuit - would make the ballot so much more manageable.

Countywide retention for subcircuit judges means longer lines and less voter participation. It is de facto voter suppression