Monday, November 21, 2016

TV report accuses Circuit Court judge of taking unnecessary sick leave

A Cook County Circuit Court judge, Arnette Hubbard, was recently singled out by WBBM-TV in an investigative report by Pam Zekman for taking 17 months of paid sick leave as a result of injuries allegedly sustained in an altercation outside the Daley Center in July 2014. The link will take you to Ms. Zekman's piece.

Judge Hubbard was one of the judges retained in office at the November election just concluded. She was unanimously recommended for retention by the Chicago Bar Association and each of the member groups of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening. The evaluation process is confidential, so I can not tell you authoritatively that the bar associations were aware that Judge Hubbard had been off work for any extended period (whether 17 months or some, other, lesser figure) -- but I would bet a significant sum that this was indeed known, and explored by, the various bar groups before each group made their respective recommendations.

The person involved in the altercation with Judge Hubbard, a man by the name of David Nicosia, was charged with aggravated battery and a hate crime as a result of this incident. He was acquitted of these charges this past August after a bench trial before Judge James Obbish.

The implication of the Channel 2 report was that Judge Hubbard was not seriously injured in the altercation. However, the defendant's acquittal in the criminal case is not conclusive on whether Judge Hubbard was in fact injured or whether Mr. Nicosia is legally responsible for those injuries. Judge Hubbard has sued Nicosia for damages. She is represented by Power, Rogers, and Smith LLP in the 2016 Law Division case. Mr. Nicosia is represented by Breen & Pugh, the firm that represented him in the criminal case. This, presumably, is because Mr. Nicosia's insurer has asserted a reservation of rights and agreed to allow Mr. Nicosia to choose his own attorney to avoid a potential conflict of interests. Criminal defense attorney Thomas M. Breen is prominently featured in Zekman's report.

The Cook County Bar Association has issued a statement demanding an apology and retraction of the story from Channel 2.

Nothing here advances the story in any particular; however, the Channel 2 piece about Judge Hubbard was recently raised in a comment submitted to this blog. So there are apparently rumors circulating; these are the known facts, as best as I can ascertain them.


Anonymous said...

Much of this story is disturbing. The video in particular shows a far different story than has been reported by the judge. If the sequence was correct in the Zekman piece, it looks like the gentleman got slapped quite hard before he acted in kind. I should have prefaced saying that neither are innocent here, and that no man should ever strike a woman, especially an 81 y/o trying to expedite her demise by smoking.

The response to the incident concerns me. It is enormously difficult to get the SA to charge someone with a hate crime. In a County of 5 million people, less than 60-70 are charged a year, and those are then broken down further by race, nationality, religion, orientation, etc. So let's generously assume half are race based hate crimes. Without going into the details of the statute, this incident does not remotely come close. It would be like charging Hubbard with a hate crime because the other man was white and reportedly gay.

Strings were pulled to pile on charges and that is disturbing. If I had been slapped and spit on and the assailant then called me a slur, I can guarantee it would be a miracle if the police even arrived to take a report let alone get the SA to charge a hate crime.

Plus the concussion syndrome. Really? 17 months off? Did she sit at home 24/7 during those 17 months? I suspect she could have handled something, marriage court, or do paperwork, but what employer would pay $200K and let an employee take off 17 months for this incident. If she was lightheaded, maybe she should stop smoking for starters.

And then to burden the court system further, a personal injury claim. So recap: Burdening the criminal court, burdening the SA office,burdening court system and her colleagues who had to do her job, and now burdening the civil courts with a PI suit.

Well at least in discovery we can see what the judge did those 17 months. Bank statements, credit cards, and cell phone records should easily show what she did and where she went for 17 months.

Maybe meeting with one another and both apologizing for their own roles might give closure, but it seems someone is intent on showing someone else who the boss is and that he messed with the wrong person. It sounds like typical abuse of position, Cook County style.

Lobo Y Olla said...

Dear CCBA-

I'm heartened to see that your ailing practices have healed. Specifically, the above letter is proof positive that you are once again, explaining your judicial conclusions and opinions in a readily available, widely-circulated, written format.

Good on you CCBA. Really. Everyone benefits when your reasonings and opinions on judicial topics are published. It really does help obviate the all too common fear that judicial evaluations are just a sham... an insider's game.

With this renewed spirit of sunshine I eagerly await your memos outlining: 1) why you revoked a finding of "qualified" for the current State's Attorney's First Assistant, and 2) why you have been altogether silent on the Crawford matter.

I applaud this policy which shows a true commitment to transparency by the CCBA.



Anonymous said...

I have reviewed the Zapruder film footage from the Zekman piece a few hundred times and I am convinced there was a second slapper obscured by the Picasso. While Nicosia appears to push her to the north, the Virginia Slim menthol 100 distinctly goes in the opposite direction.

What is interesting about this event is that although the Daley Center was on heightened security, Tom Dart ordered that sherrif deputies "stand down" their patrols of Dealy ... Daley Plaza that day.

Even more fascinating is that the Law Bulletin broke the news name the asailant more than 7 minutes before the first 911 call.

Just days earlier, pro Cuban anti-Castro residence of the 6th sub circuit were arrested but not charged on a plot to attack some smoking a cigarette with Cuban tobacco.

Judge-elect Crawford tried to get sworn in before the concussion was diagnosed.

Something ain't right.

Anonymous said...

Now you know why FOIA doesn't apply to the courts. Perhaps the bigger story is how many judges in First Municipal and other divisions don't come to work or leave early WITHOUT declaring their off time. That's the real story. And I don't just mean the retired sun bather.

Anonymous said...

Dear LYO 11:40: I do not speak for the CCBA but I stay in tune. Your so called "Dear CCBA" letter sounds like something oozing out of the Mighty Turducken on this Thanksgiving eve. Even I can respect different ideas and opinions and I do not want to get into a back and forth creating divisiveness. But with you and your false spirit of sunshine talk, all I can say is: I. Don't. Care. I don't expect you to embrace any movement made by black organizations. From what I know of the CCBA, they watch the wall. You do not get permission (this is different than the 'privilege' you assert. Nope), to dictate, suggest or even dream about what decisions are made or what topics are discussed by this black bar. This arrogance is a mother (shut your mouth). Black people live in a world where our black is normative. This means we can feel free to look at everything from our perspective. We get to walk or not, talk or not, write or not, decide or not. That's called freedom. I read something that alluded to freedom and I think it's called the 13th Amendment. See, we's free! And what's with the OCD regarding DK? He's gone, kaput, out of sight and mind, except yours. And as far as Crawford's concerned, the last thing I read about her was that she had a lawyer. Call him. Petty Jesus said watch the botulism oozing out of that turducken on your table. Peace in the black community...Black Lady Who Reads.

Anonymous said...

It is the Judicial Equinox this week, and I must say there is something about it that is still as exciting as the first one I witnessed some thirty years ago.

For those who do not know, the Judicial Equinox occurs every two years around the first week of December. The newly elected judges have all received their robes (ah ah ah, no wearing them in the courthouse or ruling on traffic citations before you're sworn in) but have not yet become part of the Monarchy, and while I will use a caterpillar metaphor in a moment, please don't mistake this for a talk on butterflies.

Many months ago, the position of the moon and the stars brought our hundreds of caterpillars to see the night sky. For several dozen, their lives were about to change. A gentle night breeze began to blow north from the far south suburbs, and as the wind blew over a Thornton Democratic Party Christmas event, it picked up the scents of Italian men with slicked back hair wearing white leather shoes. The distinct smells of Brut 33, Old English Leather, Paco Rabanne and Polo became one, and like a pheromone, spread over the county. It had a trance like affect on those who smelled it causing them to neglect their practice, disappear from their families, and deplete years and years of aphids saved for retirement all in effort to become part of the Monarchy.

Most caterpillars do not complete the metamorphosis and the path is full of obstacles. Some caterpillars, who get the blessing from Mama Long Legs from Hyde Park, hire an old crow to chew up and spit out the other caterpillars when they are most vulnerable. Many caterpillars tire of the journey and give up, and others are intimidated by henchman for a powerful Praying Mantis to drop out if they know what's good for them.

Those that survive and win enter the Chrysalis phase, the first week of December in even numbered years. They are wrapped in their robes standing in front of the mirror at home patiently waiting to be sworn in as a Monarch. Sure their larva no longer recognize them and while they were away their spouse hooked up with a moth, but dang-it, they won. And as those Chrysalis are still trying to imagine what it must feel like to have five weeks of paid vacation and an appellate court to clean up their mistakes, a new wind begins to blow from the south, caterpillars in dead-end careers awaken to the smell of Jovan Musk for Men and Aramis, and the cycle begins anew to become a Monarch. But for this brief week in December every two years, the newly aroused optimistic caterpillars and the tired cynical Chrysali are one.

The circle of strife.

Lobo Y Olla said...

Black Lady Who reads-

You love injecting race into my comments. Opacity has no place in the judiciary. None.

I'm looking forward to your reasoning as to why it's acceptable and preferable for a bar association to level legal "critiques" against individuals without stating their reasons. They're lawyers. It's what they do. Again, race is not a pillar of my argument. They're my words I chose them. While your personal attacks are somewhat offensive (and oddly, mildly racist), I'm looking forward to your argument.

Opacity by a bar association is preferable to transparency because____________.

Have at it.


Anonymous said...

Dear LYO: How are you? Fine I hope. I got the pleasantries out of the way and now my naturally curly hair has really tightened up. First, do not give me a fill in the blank take home exam. I am not your student. Go. Teach. My comments were not designed to debate you. You do not get the story because you thought the comments were ‘oddly racist? Not. This is not the first time you attempted to set the narrative about what a Black bar should say or write about. I only stay in tune with them based on what I read in the news media and this wonderful blog. Nothing more or less. But requesting and virtually demanding your idea of transparency and wanting to know more is what appears to be ‘oddly…..’.
I do not want to keep repeating that you do not control the Black narrative (unless you’re Black and then PJ and Harriet Tubman will visit you). Again, (here I go repeating) without causing divisiveness, I still think you are fighting a losing battle about wanting a Black organization to explain every decision or respond to everything that goes on with other Black people. From my perspective, Black organizations get the right to pick and choose the topics of interest to them and the benefits to them and the Black community. There are not enough words in the English language to get you to relate my friend. Speaking up for my own is not oddly racist. It’s confidence. It’s pride. It’s ‘woke’. It’s my heart. It’s my soul. I clap on beat.
Being black is exhausting. Tiresome. Black means being expected to explain everything. Black means hearing gunshots every day. Black means fighting injustice. Black means not accepting someone’s credentials just because it looks good on paper and being requested to close our eyes to someone that’s potentially harmful to our community. Black means watching the miseducation of Black children and having to live among them and the consequences. It’s exhausting just writing about being Black.
So in the words of Columbo-‘just one more thing’. None of what I say means there’s animosity but my convincing you of my own advocacy takes up more time than the commitment to any solutions. In other words, this is over.
Oh, oh, here comes PJ.
PJ: “May we bow our heads but keep our petty eyes wide open and our petty fingers crossed. Dear Petty Father, we come to you with our petty prayer. Not an oddly racist prayer but a ‘woke’ prayer. Help keep us open to others’ ideas and comments on this wonderful, fun blog, misguided as they may be. Amen. Peace in the Black community. Black Lady Who Reads.