Saturday, July 02, 2016

One Appellate Court justice, 58 Circuit Court judges file for retention in Cook County

Appellate Court Justice Joy Virginia Cunningham has filed for retention and will appear on the November ballot, according to information provided by the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Actually, the headline here is slightly misleading, inasmuch as three of the 58 Cook County Circuit Court judges who have filed for retention are currently serving by assignment on the Illinois Appellate Court (but must be retained in office as Circuit Court judges in order to remain in their assignments). One of these three, Bertina E. Lampkin, is unopposed in her bid for election to the Appellate Court in November. The other two are Mary Lane Mikva and Daniel James Pierce.

Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans has also filed for retention. By law, circuit court judges elected in Illinois, whether elected countywide or from subcircuits, must seek retention every six years in order to remain in office. (Justices of the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts must seek retention every 10 years.) In Cook County, the retention election is countywide, meaning voters from the entire county can vote on each judge's retention, even for judges originally elected from other subcircuits. Retention judges have no opponents; voters are asked whether Mary Jones (to make up a name) shall be retained in office as a Cook County Circuit Court judge. Voters choose 'yes' or 'no.'

Each judge must obtain a 60% 'yes' vote (60% + 1 if you wish to be technical) to be retained; the last time any Cook County judge failed to achieve a 60% yes vote was in 1990, when seven judges were removed (though one was simultaneously elected to the Appellate Court). That may sound like a pretty sure thing... but strange things have happened already in 2016... and even in 'normal' election years judges who have been hailed by every bar association, civic group, and scout troop, by every newspaper, community group, and garden club -- the best, the brightest, the acknowledged cream of the crop -- will have a hard time cracking the 80% positive level.

That means that, at a minimum. two out of every 10 Cook County voters seek to oust each and every retention judge regardless of that judge's qualifications.

Of the 58 Cook County Circuit Court judges filing for retention, twenty-three were originally elected countywide; thirty-two were first elected from subcircuits. Three judges on this year's retention ballot were elected prior to 1992, when the subcircuit system was adopted. Before 1992, Cook County voters elected judges on either a countywide, Chicago-only, or outside Chicago basis. Two of the judges on this year's retention ballot were first elected on a Chicago-only basis; the third was elected from outside Chicago.

Here, then, is the complete list of all Cook County Circuit Court judges who have filed for retention in 2016:
  • Robert Balanoff
  • Steven James Bernstein
  • Robert W. Bertucci
  • Kathleen Marie Burke
  • Charles Patrick Burns
  • John P. Callahan, Jr.
  • Jeanne R. Cleveland Bernstein
  • Bonita Coleman
  • Ann Finley Collins
  • Paula Marie Daleo
  • Deborah Mary Dooling
  • Laurence J. Dunford
  • Timothy C. Evans
  • Denise Kathleen Filan
  • Nicholas R. Ford
  • Daniel J. Gallagher
  • Vincent Michael Gaughan
  • John C. Griffin
  • Sophia H. Hall
  • Kay Marie Hanlon
  • Edward Harmening
  • William H. Hooks
  • Arnette R. Hubbard
  • Cheryl D. Ingram
  • Raymond L. Jagielski
  • Sharon O. Johnson
  • Linzey D. Jones
  • Thomas J. Kelley
  • Susan Kennedy Sullivan
  • John Patrick Kirby
  • Geary W. Kull
  • Bertina E. Lampkin
  • Diane Joan Larsen
  • Daniel Joseph Lynch
  • Thomas V. Lyons
  • Terry MacCarthy
  • William Maki
  • Daniel Malone
  • Leroy K. Martin, Jr.
  • James Patrick McCarthy
  • Claire Elizabeth McWilliams
  • Mary Lane Mikva
  • Raymond W. Mitchell
  • Allen F. Murphy
  • Patrick T. Murphy
  • Timothy Patrick Murphy
  • Kathleen Mary Pantle
  • Sheryl Ann Pethers
  • Daniel James Pierce
  • Sandra G. Ramos
  • Jim Ryan
  • Kevin Michael Sheehan
  • Irwin J. Solganick
  • Sharon Marie Sullivan
  • John D. Turner, Jr.
  • Edward "Ed" Washington, II
  • Alexander Patrick White
  • Thaddeus L. Wilson
Any errors or omissions in this list are mine.


Anonymous said...

Any number on what percentage of people actually take the time to vote for retention judges? That is, if 100 people vote for President or Governor, how many vote for judicial retention? 80? 50?

Anonymous said...

Do you have a list of judges not seeking retention? That would be a head's up on 2018 vacancies.

Albert said...

To answer A1, in the last three presidential elections the voter participation rate for retention judges averaged 58 percent. It runs slightly higher in midterm elections.

Anonymous said...

Two of the above judges, notorious for taking off far more days than they actually show up, gave court personnel and lawyers a shock recently when they both appeared at the Daley Center on one of the days they called in sick. It was soon discovered that the women were playing Pokémon Go and given their unfamiliarity with the building, did not realize they were in the courthouse.

Judge Evans could not be reached for comment ... again.