Friday, September 28, 2018

The agenda for next Wednesday's Circuit Court Executive Committee now has another item

Dan Mihalopoulos is reporting for WBEZ that Associate Judge Richard D. Schwind, while sentencing a defendant in a misdemeanor battery case, remarked to said defendant, "You were never a slave."

The defendant had belted "his ex-girlfriend’s white brother at her apartment in Hoffman Estates in May. But Lindsey told police he was provoked by being called the N-word," according to Mihalopoulos's article.

A link in the WBEZ article will take you to the complete transcript of the July 18 sentencing hearing (this link will also work). Here is an excerpt from Judge Schwind's remarks (pp. 15-16):
THE COURT: What he said was an ignorant thing to say. The bigger man would just walk away.

THE DEFENDANT: I was in my home, sir, I couldn't just walk away.

* * *

THE COURT: You, sir, are -- that's an ignorant term to use. To insult someone that way. That's an ignorant term to use. All you are asking to do is get your lip busted. And that's what happened. This is the epitome of what the situation is in our society today. You take offense to a word that you, you were never a slave, but you take offense to it. And I understand that. But the bigger man walks away. You don't resort to violence. That's why society because people resort to violence. They let words hurt them in a way that they shouldn't. And you, sir, use terms that are, that insight (sic) violence. That's, that's ignorance. That's stupidity. And you reacted to it. You fell for the trap. Be above that. Be above it.
A further excerpt from Mihalopoulos's article:
After hearing cases Wednesday in Courtroom 101 in the Rolling Meadows branch, Schwind declined to comment.

But on Thursday, the spokesman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans told WBEZ that the court system’s executive committee will review the matter at its Oct. 3 meeting.

The spokesman, Pat Milhizer, added that judges must abide by an Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct rule stating, “A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.”

Dartesia Pitts, the immediate past president of the Cook County Bar Association, said Schwind’s comment shows the need for greater diversity on the bench.

“It was totally unnecessary for the judge to make this commentary on the record at all relating to slavery,” Pitts said.

Only 212 apply for associate judge

To the casual observer, perhaps, this may seem like a snarky headline; unquestionably, 212 is a pretty big number.

But, in context, it is accurate. There were 283 applicants for the Cook County associate judge class selected in the Spring of 2016. There were 272 applicants in March 2017. There were 276 applicants in 2013.

By my entirely unofficial count, this applicant class includes nine judges currently sitting pursuant to appointments that are set to expire in December. This includes the four sitting judges who made the short list for the class selected earlier this year (Ammendola, Fotopoulos, Richardson, and Shoffner). In fact, all 17 of the persons who were on the short end of the last short list have reapplied this time. Notable finalists from 2014 or 2106 who have reapplied include Julie Aimen (a finalist in 2014 and 2016), Joel Chupack, Tom Cushing, Mark V. Ferrante, and Greg Plesha.

There are at least three former judges on this list who are seeking to return to the bench. Many other names on the list will be familiar to FWIW readers as candidates from this year's primary. As is often the case, a number of applicants are related to current or former judges by blood or marriage.

If you delve deeply enough into the list you may also spot the name of one broken-down judicial blogger (making his 10th application for associate judge).

Herewith the complete list of applicants (all omissions, typos, etc. are mine alone):
  1. David Charles Adams
  2. Nancy Galassini Adduci
  3. Joseph Salvatore Agnello
  4. Rishi Agrawal
  5. Julie Bess Aimen
  6. Aimee Elizabeth Alonso
  7. Marina Ammendola
  8. Frank John Adreou
  9. Erin Haggerty Antonietti
  10. Louis George Apostol
  11. Kina Nicole Arnold
  12. Maria Augustus
  13. Laura Ayala-Gonzalez
  14. Jennifer Eun Bae
  15. Jerome Celis Barrido
  16. Fredrick Hayze Bates
  17. Deidre Baumann
  18. Rivanda Beal
  19. Aileen Bhandari
  20. Sunil Shashikant Bhave
  21. Patrick Malone Blanchard
  22. David Alan Bonoma
  23. John Hugh Brassil
  24. Lloyd James Brooks
  25. Athena Frentzas Bubaris
  26. Patrick Bernard Cage
  27. John P. Carroll
  28. Carol Anne Casey
  29. Patrick A. Casey
  30. Richard G. Cenal
  31. Joel Luis Chupack
  32. Christopher Bittel
  33. Jennifer Frances Coleman
  34. Michael Vincent Connolly
  35. James Patrick Crawley
  36. Thomas M. Cushing
  37. Barbara Lynette Dawkins
  38. Gabriel Joseph DeMatteo
  39. Sondra Nicole Denmark
  40. James Thomas Derico
  41. Patrick Edward Dwyer
  42. Deidre Myra Dyer
  43. Sabra Lynne Ebersole
  44. Carl Lauras Evans, Jr.
  45. John Abbrey Fairman
  46. Michael James Falagrio
  47. Patricia Maria Fallon
  48. Charles A. Fannucchi
  49. Athena Aphrodite Farmakis
  50. Mark Vincent Ferrante
  51. Laura Ellen Forester
  52. Michael Angelo Forti
  53. John S. Fotopoulos
  54. Michael Perry Gerber
  55. Jennifer Lynn Gill
  56. Caroline Gale Glennon
  57. Mauro Glorioso
  58. Caroline Patricia Golden
  59. Dawn Marie Gonzalez
  60. Jennifer Lynn Gonzalez
  61. Elias Martin Gordan
  62. D. Danielle Grcic
  63. Jonathan Clark Green
  64. Susanne Michele Groebner
  65. Ruth Isabel Gudino
  66. Joseph Michael Gump
  67. Mark L. Hellner
  68. Sheree Desaree Henry
  69. Michael James Hogan, Jr.
  70. John Nahum Hourihane
  71. Robert Jerome Hovey
  72. Nathalina A. Hudson
  73. Naheda Hussien
  74. Matthew William Jannusch
  75. Michael Bryan Jawgiel
  76. Martha-Victoria Jiminez
  77. Patrick Dankwa John
  78. Kevin Ross Johnson
  79. Celeste Kathleen Jones
  80. Nicholas Alexander Kantas
  81. Elizabeth Anne Karkula
  82. David Lewis Kelly
  83. Sheri C. Kessler
  84. James John Knibbs
  85. Thomas Peter Kougias
  86. Jan Rose Kowalski-McDonald
  87. Scott Michael Kozicki
  88. Kristen Marie Kozlowski
  89. John Sam Lamantia
  90. Ellis Bernard Levin
  91. Lawrence Wolf Levin
  92. Francis John Leyhane III
  93. David Emil Liberman
  94. Peter Guy Lisuzzo
  95. Denise Louise Lotterstein
  96. Anthony Dominick Lucafo
  97. Richard Allen Lukacek
  98. Joshua Dante Luskin
  99. Kimberly Michelle Malone
  100. Edward James Maloney
  101. Kerrie Elizabeth Maloney-Laytin
  102. Jerome Frank Marconi
  103. Richard Harvey Marcus
  104. Ainat Margalit
  105. Jenetia Michelle Marshall
  106. Allan W. Masters
  107. Celestina Laurene Mays
  108. Kelly Marie McCarthy
  109. Scott D. McKenna
  110. William John McLaughlin
  111. William John McMahon
  112. Ralph Eugene Meczyk
  113. Mary Alice Melchor
  114. Ronald J. Mentone
  115. Annette Lynn Milleville
  116. Ira Alexander Moltz
  117. Tisa Lynne Morris
  118. Thomas A. Morrissey
  119. Megan Kathleen Mulay
  120. James Vincent Murphy III
  121. Brian Michael Nach
  122. Daniel Peter Nikolic, Jr.
  123. Thomas Edward Nowinski
  124. Kevin John Ochalla
  125. Kimberly Atz O'Brien
  126. Catherine Ann O'Connell
  127. Eileen Marie O'Connor
  128. Yvonne Marie O'Connor
  129. Katherine Ann O'Dell
  130. Michael I. O'Malley
  131. John Andrew O'Meara
  132. Radusa Ostojic
  133. Ann Addis Pantoga
  134. Christopher Vincent Parente
  135. Shilpa C. Patel
  136. Monique Leneé Patterson
  137. Jennifer Joyce Payne
  138. Litricia Pauline Payne
  139. Kevin K. Pechous
  140. Jason Lee Peterburs
  141. Diane Marie Pezanoski
  142. Gina Angela Piemonte
  143. Amanada Moira Pillsbury
  144. Gregory Gerard Plesha
  145. Paul William Plotnick
  146. Stephen Walter Power
  147. Jill Rose Quinn
  148. Leo Steven Rakowski
  149. Rhonda Sallee Ramos
  150. Ronald Anthony Rascia
  151. Darlene Redmond
  152. James Michael Reilly
  153. Berta Requena
  154. Ashonta Cherron Rice
  155. David John Richards
  156. Travis Richardson
  157. Shelle Eileen Riley
  158. Chelsey Renece Robinson
  159. Geri Pinzur Rosenberg
  160. Curtis Bennett Ross
  161. Anthony Ruffin
  162. Edward James Samuelson
  163. Catherine Dorothy Sanders
  164. Armando Gerald Sandoval
  165. Jaime Rafael Santana
  166. Eric Michael Sauceda
  167. Brian Patrick Scanlon
  168. Margaret Elizabeth Schneider
  169. Bryan David Schultz
  170. Rouhy J. Shlabi
  171. Robin Denise Shoffner
  172. Charles W. Siegel
  173. Jade Ginese Simmons-Ford
  174. John Anthony Simon
  175. Judie Lyn Smith
  176. Levander Smith, Jr.
  177. Theresa Marie Smith
  178. Trina Smith
  179. Joan Ellen Smuda
  180. Martin Dockery Snyder
  181. Donald Scott Solomon
  182. Keith Lenell Spence
  183. Ankur Srivastava
  184. Christ Stanley Stacey
  185. Denise Y. Staniec
  186. Ketki Shroff Steffen
  187. Giel Stein
  188. Rodney Waller Stewart
  189. Robert Michael Stokas
  190. Michael Alan Strom
  191. Jon Karl Stromsta
  192. David L. Studenroth
  193. Anthony Charles Swanagan
  194. Alfred M. Swanson
  195. Lisa M. Taylor
  196. Renee Therese Thibault
  197. Daniel Owen Tiernan
  198. Rachael Nicole Toft
  199. Gerardo Tristan, Jr.
  200. Bradley R. Trowbridge
  201. Stephen Louis Tyma
  202. Randall Louis Tyner
  203. Scott William Tzinberg
  204. Gregory Eric Walker
  205. Michael Daniel Walsh
  206. Tyria Beatrice Walton
  207. Gwyndolette Eartha Ward-Brown
  208. Lynn Weaver-Boyle
  209. Antoinette Denise Weston
  210. Oran Fresno Whiting
  211. Donald Naylor Wilson
  212. John Wellington Wilson
The Circuit Court of Cook County is inviting "[a]nyone with relevant information regarding any associate judge candidate to communicate by letter to the Circuit Court of Cook County Nominating Committee, c/o Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, 50 West Washington Street, Room 2600, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, Illinois 60602."

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

October 18 fundraiser for Ketki "Kay" Steffen

Supporters of Ketki "Kay" Steffen's 13th Subcircuit judicial bid have scheduled a fundraiser for Thursday, October 18, from 5:00 to 8:00p.m. at Touch of Spice, 913 West Irving Park Road, Itasca.

Guests will be served an Indian buffet dinner and drinks. Tickets are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Silver - $250, Gold - $500, Platinum - $1,000). For more information, or to reserve tickets, email or call (847) 903-3218 before October 16. Tickets may also be purchased through the candidate website.

Cook County Judge assigned to administrative duties following complaint of improper conduct

The Tribune's Todd Lighty reports this afternoon that Judge Mauricio Araujo has been reassigned to administrative duties "following a complaint from the state's attorney's office that he referred to a female prosecutor as 'a bitch' and then suggested he may have had sex with her."

That's the lede, anyway; the story suggests that the prosecutor in question was acquainted with Araujo in law school. The prosecutor reported that she had not spoken to Araujo since they were in school together, and she supplied a reason: He made "'unwanted sexual advances' toward her on several occasions back then." She was apparently not interested in renewing, or even acknowledging, the past acquaintance; he was allegedly offended that she 'wouldn't say hello' to him.

Additional details may be found in the Tribune account. In any event, who said what to whom, and why, may, at some point, become the subject of a complaint to the Illinois Courts Commission.

A press release from Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans this evening confirms that he "directed [Criminal Division Presiding Judge Leroy K.] Martin to assign Judge Araujo to administrative duties and to report the matter to the Judicial Inquiry Board." The matter will be further discussed at an October 3 meeting of the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The Executive Committee consists of Chief Judge Evans and the 17 presiding judges of the court.

The statement from Judge Evans points out that reassigning a judge to administrative duties is the strongest action he is permitted to take in response to these charges: "The Illinois Constitution requires that any official action beyond that is left to the Judicial Inquiry Board and the Illinois Courts Commission." According to this evening's statement, Chief Judge Evans has also ordered sexual-harassment training for all judges and all employees to be conducted in October.

Judge Araujo was first elected to the bench from the 6th Subcircuit in 2008. He enjoyed unanimous bar association approval at the time. He was retained in 2014, also with favorable ratings from all bar groups.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Threats to judicial independence, impact of artificial intelligence on the legal profession, among topics for next week's World City Bar Leaders Conference

Protecting the independence of the judiciary and the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal profession will be among the topics of discussion by officials from many of the world’s largest bar associations at the annual conference of World City Bar Leaders, hosted by the Chicago Bar Association from September 26 to 29.

The conference will be attended by bar leaders from major global cities including Barcelona, Beijing, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo and Warsaw. It is held annually at different international locations to bring bar leaders together to address major issues and trends that impact the legal profession around the world.

The conference will begin at the Chicago Bar Association at 5:00p.m. on Wednesday, September 26, featuring a special welcome reception for the CBA’s 2018-2019 incoming President Steven M. Elrod and Young Lawyers Section Chair Brandon Peck. (Click here to register for this reception.)

Conference programming begins Thursday with a morning panel discussion on Protecting the Independence of the Judiciary, moderated by CBA Immediate Past President Judge Thomas R. Mulroy. Panelists will include U.S. District Court Chief Judge Rubén Castillo, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, and Mikolaj Piertrzak of the Warsaw Bar Association.

Thursday afternoon features a session on Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the legal profession featuring representatives of the Barcelona and Tokyo Bar Associations as well as legal counsel representatives from Microsoft and IBM. The panel will be moderated by CBA Past President Dan Cotter.

The conference continues Friday with a forum on Global Access to Justice Issues featuring representatives from the Warsaw Bar Association, the Frankfurt Bar Association, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and LexisNexis Legal & Professional. Chicago Bar Foundation President Carrie Di Santo will moderate the discussion.

Friday afternoon’s session, Resolving International Disputes, will feature the President of the Paris Bar Association and the Chair of the International Department of the Beijing Lawyers Association. The discussion will be moderated by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne Anderson.

Contact the CBA at (312) 554-2012 for a more detailed schedule of events for the conference.

Cook County Democratic Party endorses all retention judges... except one

Once upon a time, the Cook County Democratic Party endorsed all judges seeking retention.

After all, most of those judges seeking retention were first elected with the support of the Party.

But, in days of yore, all meant all. Hard as it may be to understand for those who have come of age in our present hyperpartisan dystopia, at retention time, the Cook County Democratic Party supported even those judges first elected as -- brace yourselves -- Republicans.

But that was then.

The Cook County Democratic Party signaled its intent to refrain from supporting every retention judge earlier this year.

The Party adopted a new bylaw by the Cook County Central Committee at a January 11 meeting. Newly added Section 5 of Article VI of the Bylaws now provides:
The Executive Committee of the Cook County Democratic Party shall have the authority to recommend to the Central Committee whether to withhold endorsement from any judge(s) on the retention ballot, upon good cause shown by any member(s) of the Central Committee. “Good cause” may include consideration of bar association, peer and other ratings and reviews; public proceedings before, or discipline and sanctions imposed by, the Judicial Inquiry Board or the Illinois Supreme Court; a vacancy in office as defined by the Illinois Election Code; and misconduct bringing the office of judge into disrepute. The Central Committee may adopt, in whole or in part, such recommendation not to support retention.
At a meeting yesterday, the Cook County Democratic Party implemented this new policy. The party chose to support all judges seeking retention except Judge Matthew E. Coghlan. The announcement on the Party's website states, in pertinent part:
This morning the Cook County Democrats met and reviewed the endorsement of retention judges before the mid-term election. Based on its investigation and subsequent deliberations, the Judicial Retention Committee recommended without dissent that the Cook County Democratic party find Judge Matthew Coghlan “not recommended” for retention based on an independent investigation, which included courtroom observation as well as in person and phone interview with the judges. The Central Committee concurred unanimously, and all retention judges were endorsed except for Judge Matthew Coghlan who was found “not recommended.”

This was the first time in recent history a judge was not recommended by the Party for retention. It was difficult but necessary decision to maintain the high integrity of the Party’s values and mission.
Judge Coghlan has come under fire from the Judicial Accountability PAC (FWIW recently carried an open letter from that group asking the Party to withdraw support from Judge Coghlan). There is also a "Coalition to Dump Matt Coghlan" (the link is to a Facebook page), which bills itself as "an alliance of lawyers, grassroots organizations, activists, and community members dedicated to contesting judicial elections."

The bar associations have yet to reveal their ratings of any of the 2018 retention judges.

Prior to this election cycle, Judge Coghlan had received positive ratings from all bar groups. Many, though not all, of the allegations concerning Judge Coghlan concern his involvement (while an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney) with Reynaldo Guevara, a now-retired Chicago Police Department detective accused of coercing false confessions, leading to many wrongful convictions. (Several convictions obtained in cases in which Guevara was involved have been recently thrown out.) Upcoming bar ratings for Judge Coghlan are expected to address how the various bar groups view these allegations.

The Democratic Party's statement references an "independent investigation," without reference to any bar ratings.

The photograph accompanying this post is taken from the Cook County Retention Judges webpage. At that link, interested persons can find links to campaign bio pages for many of the judges seeking retention. This is the link to Judge Coghlan's page.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Alliance of Illinois Judges announces 3rd Annual Cocktail Reception on October 11

The Alliance of Illinois Judges will hold its 3rd Annual Cocktail Reception on National Coming Out Day, Thursday, October 11, from 5:00 to 7:00p.m., at the Rooftop Bar of the Plymouth Bar and Grill, 327 S. Plymouth Court.

Proceeds from the event support the AIJ's scholarship fund. Last year, according to Judge Mary Cay Marubio, AIJ's Vice President, AIJ awarded three $1,000 law school scholarships.

Cocktails and Hors D'oeurves will be available. Tickets for the event are $50 each for lawyers and judges. Student tickets are $25 each. Tickets may be purchased through this page of the AIJ website or via this link. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Justice Theis announces process to fill two countywide and three subcircuit vacancies

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis today announced application processes for five Cook County judicial vacancies.

Two are countywide vacancies; applications will also be accepted for vacancies in the 2nd, 6th, and 14th Subcircuits.

The links in the preceding sentence will take you to the press releases announcing the respective vacancies and the specific requirements for each.

All of the announcements state that applications for any of the vacancies must be received by Friday, October 19 at 4:00 p.m. Applications, which are available via this link, may be emailed to or mailed to the Supreme Court of Illinois, Attn: Ms. Laurie Marino, 160 N. LaSalle Street, Suite N2013, Chicago, IL 60601.

Applicants for prior vacancies must complete and submit new applications in order to be considered for any of these vacancies. Persons applying for a subcircuit vacancy must be a resident of that subcircuit.

The application process includes an evaluation by the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, which is made up of 11 bar groups in the Cook County area, and by the Chicago Bar Association.

Persons with current evaluations may submit these with their applications; persons who have not been previously screened, or whose evaluations have 'aged out', will have to complete separate Alliance and CBA evaluation questionnaires and interviews. Further review will be conducted by a special judicial screening committee that Justice Theis established in 2013 and is co-chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Michael J. Gallagher.

The two countywide vacancies are, or will be, created by the retirement of Judge Sebastian T. Patti and the decision by Judge Carole K. Bellows not to seek retention. The 2nd Subcircuit vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Alexander White. The 14th Subcircuit vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Robert Bertucci. The 6th Subcircuit vacancy will open because of Judge Marya Nega's decision not to seek retention. Appointments to each of these vacancies will expire on the first Monday of December 2020.

U.S. District Court accepting applications for two magistrate judge positions

The Northern District of Illinois has announced openings for two Magistrate Judge positions, one to serve in Chicago, the other in Rockford.

The deadline for applications is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 12.

Applications can be accessed via this page on the Northern District's website. According to that website, "Consideration will only be given to those who apply through the court's online applicant tracking system and provide a cover letter and resume."

Persons seeking both positions must apply for both vacancies.

Persons who applied for vacancies earlier this year must submit new applications in order to be considered for these new vacancies.

To be eligible to serve as a Magistrate Judge an applicant must
  • be, and have been for at least five years, a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and have been engaged in the active practice of law for a period of at least five years;
  • be competent to perform all of the duties of the office; be of good moral character; be emotionally stable and mature; be committed to equal justice under the law; be in good health; be patient and courteous; and be capable of deliberation and decisiveness;
  • be less than seventy years of age; and
  • not be related to a judge of the district court.
A Merit Selection Panel composed of attorneys and other members of the community will review all applications and recommend to the judges of the Court a list of the persons whom it considers best qualified.

The Court will make the appointment following a Federal Bureau of Investigation full-field investigation and Internal Revenue Service tax check of the person selected to fill the position. An affirmative action effort will be made to give consideration to all qualified candidates, including women and members of minority groups.

All applications will be kept confidential, except as necessary for the Merit Selection Panel to perform its duties, and all applications will be examined only by members of the Merit Selection Panel and the judges of the District Court.

Monday's meeting of the Advocates to feature presentation by Polish jurist

Bogdan Jedrys, a sitting appellate judge in Poland, will speak at the next meeting of the Advocates Society on Monday, September 24, at 5:00 p.m., at the offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, 151 N. Franklin, Suite 2500.

Judge Jedrys is expected to speak on the threats to judicial independence in Poland arising from legislation passed by the current Polish government. Marc Santora and Joanna Berendt, in a September 17 article in the New York Times concerning the White House visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda, wrote:
A law forcing Supreme Court judges to retire at 65 — even if they are currently serving their six-year terms — is being challenged before the European Court of Justice; by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm; and in a case on behalf of the dismissed judges.

With Polish judges fighting to keep their jobs, it is unclear who is in charge of the court, which judges can sit on which cases, and whether their rulings will later be called into question.

The government’s changes have inspired resistance from the nation’s judges, who have all but boycotted their own posts.

Of about 10,000 qualified judges in the nation, only around 200 judges and other “applicants” have submitted their names to fill dozens of open positions on the Supreme Court. At least 99 cases have had to be postponed because there are simply not enough judges.

Poland’s top Supreme Court justice, Malgorzata Gersdorf, who was targeted by the new law, has refused to retire, and the person named by Mr. Duda as her replacement said he did not consider himself to be the head of the court.

Judges who have publicly condemned the new law have found themselves hauled before disciplinary chambers, denounced in the right-wing media and threatened by party supporters.
This Monday's Advocates meeting is open to members and non-members alike. The Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois has signed on as a co-sponsor of the event. Persons wishing to attend must email Advocates Society President Kristen Kozlowski Lyons at

Updated 9/22/18 to reflect co-sponsorship by the Appellate Lawyers Association.

Some pictures from Monday's Reception for the 2018 Cook County Retention Judges... and some observations

For a great many Cook County lawyers and judges, Monday night's Bears victory was preceded by attendance at the 2018 Retention Judges Reception at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The room was packed... as is usual for this event... and the guests engaged in the light banter that is customary on such occasions... Hi, howareya! [*squinting to read name tag*] I haven't seen you in forever!... That's technically correct; I've never seen you either....

It was not unpleasant, though the crowded room was uncomfortably warm on a late summer evening.

After a couple of turns around the room, I thought I'd better take a few pictures.

The blogger with a camera knows that no one will pose for a picture without first setting down his or her refreshment.

And that's normal.

But, for the first time at one of these events, my picture-taking efforts met with a different sort of resistance.

I tried to get several people into pictures who were concerned about being photographed. Several refused outright. One judge asked me to not use her name if I ran her picture (I didn't do either). More than one judge cited personal security concerns.

I've seen this before, but not with judges.

Over a dozen years ago my wife and I served on a 100th anniversary committee for our parish. At an early meeting, I foolishly stated that the family directory that the parish had published 15 years before had been very useful (and we'd gotten a nice family portrait out of it, too) and I suggested that a new one might be similarly helpful for newer families.

Well, of course, I barely finished my sentence before the committee charged me and my wife with putting such a directory together. (I think my wife has finally forgiven me.)

Many of our neighbors and fellow parishioners are members of the Chicago Police Department. We had a tough time getting police families into the directory.

Several of the camera-shy cops explained: If someone with evil intent got hold of his or her family portrait, their children might become targets.

Now I didn't think that was particularly likely to happen with a directory that was published on glossy paper, in very limited numbers, and made available only to fellow parishioners. And some of our police neighbors evaluated the risks and came to the same conclusion. But I realized that the concerns that some expressed were genuine, and I respected them.

As I respect the concerns raised Monday. And this is the Internet, where pictures can go everywhere. So I totally understand -- but I lament this latest evidence of the deterioration of our society.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Uh oh

Well, on the bright side, it's been six weeks since the last outage. That one was referred to as "challenges with [the] Case Management System." This one is an "integration outage."

Is that better... or worse?



"The integration issue has been resolved." Faster, I think, than the last time, too. Hopefully 'resolved' means you can efile again.....

More judges not on the retention ballot

This gets complicated, but bear with me.

We know who is serving on the Cook County bench at any given time because the list of serving judges is regularly updated on the Illinois Courts website. It's not necessarily 100% accurate 'in real time' (as of this morning, for example, Jessica O'Brien is still on the list, but Judge Alexander White, who retired quite recently, has already been removed) but it's very, very close.

We could determine who is eligible for retention because these would be those still-serving judges elected six years ago, or any multiple of six years ago. While the AOIC maintains such a list, it isn't something those of us among the great unwashed can call up and peruse. From my archives, we could compile such a list, since this blog's records go back to the 2008 election.

But I have never undertaken that effort. Instead, I reported on who actually filed for retention. FWIW published that list in May.

If one could compare the list of eligibles to the list of actuals, we would know for certain that the seats of those not named on both lists would become available by no later than the first Monday of December.

I haven't been able to do that. But, this morning, FWIW received, from a reliable source, a list of six judges eligible for retention, but not seeking it.

These judges (and the units from which they were elected), are:
  • Rodney Hughes Brooks (1st Subcircuit);
  • Raymond Funderburk (Countywide);
  • Deborah J. Gubin (8th Subcircuit);
  • Marvin F. Luckman (9th Subcircuit);
  • Marya Nega (6th Subcircuit); and
  • Carole K. Bellows (Countywide).
Looking back, with the blinding clarity of 20/20 hindsight, you will now note that five of these six jurists were not on the list published in May of those seeking retention. Also, knowing now what to look for, we can see that none of these are on the list of retention judges on the invitation for their September 17 fundraiser (full disclosure: I have sent in my check for a ticket to this event; really full disclosure: I think it will clear).

September 27 fundraiser set for David Studenroth

Supporters of David Studenroth's bid for the Maki vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit have organized a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, September 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Park Ridge Country Club, 636 N. Prospect, Park Ridge.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Silver - $250, Gold - $500, Platinum - $1,000).

For more information about the event, or to obtain tickets, call Frank DiFranco at (847) 825-7744 or email DiFranco and Judge William O. Maki (Ret.) are the co-chairs of Studenroth campaign.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Jessica O'Brien off the November retention ballot

In an order entered today, the Illinois Supreme Court, on its own motion, dismissed as moot the mandamus petition filed to knock Judge Jessica A. O'Brien off the November retention ballot.

According to the court, O'Brien had promised, back in February, to resign if her post-trial motions in her federal criminal case proved unsuccessful. Her motions to overturn her conviction were denied on September 4. The court therefore considers O'Brien to have resigned as of September 4. Moreover, although the Illinois State Board of Elections website does not yet reflect it (and I've been checking), O'Brien officially withdrew her retention candidacy in an email sent to the Secretary of State on September 5 and filed on September 6.

Friday, September 28 fundraiser set for Joel Chupack

The Vault (the former American National Bank vault) on the lower level of 33 N. LaSalle Street is the venue chosen by supporters of 12th Subcircuit candidate Joel Chupack for their "Dash to the Polls" fundraiser on Friday, September 28, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which will be hosted by Mark Karno and Helen Bloch, are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Circuit - $250, Appellate - $500, Supreme - $1,000).

For more information about the event, or to order tickets, email Sarah at or call (224) 558-3888.

October 10 fundraiser set for Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald

Supporters of Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald's campaign for the Lawrence vacancy in the far northwest suburban 13th Judicial Subcircuit have announced a "One Month to Go" fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, October 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at McGonaigal's Pub, 105 S. Cook Street, Barrington. Hors d’oeuvres will be available.

Tickets for the event are $40 per person or $60 per couple. Sponsorships are also available (Registered Voter - $250, Vote by Mail - $500, Early Voting - $1,000, and Victory - $2,500).

For more information about the event, or to order tickets, email or call (708) 209-6076. Tickets are also available via this link.

Chicago Bar Association announces John Paul Stevens Award recipients

The Chicago Bar Association has named nine "influential attorneys who stand out in their respective areas of practice as recipients of the association's top legal awards," the 2018 John Paul Stevens Awards, according to a press release issued yesterday by the CBA.

Named for former United States Supreme Court Justice (and native Chicagoan) John Paul Stevens, the awards will be presented by the CBA and the Chicago Bar Foundation at a luncheon on Tuesday, September 27 at the Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court.

This year's award recipients are:
  • Laurel Bellows, of the Bellows Law Group, P.C., President of the American Bar Association in 2012-2013 and a former CBA President;
  • Carol A. Brook, the retired Executive Director of the Federal Defender Program;
  • Kevin P. Durkin, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, CBA President in 2006-07 (and General Chairman of the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee in 1997-1998);
  • John N. Gallo, the Executive Director of LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation), and, for much of his tenure with Sidley Austin, Trial Counsel for the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board;
  • Terri L. Mascherin, partner at Jenner & Block, also a former CBA President, and nationally recognized for her pro bono representation of death row inmates and work promoting effective representation of defendants in capital cases;
  • Recently appointed Illinois Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr., a former President of the Cook County Bar Association and a co-founder of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening;
  • Illinois Appellate Court Justice Jesse Reyes, a former President of the Illinois Judges Association and President of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation;
  • Illinois Appellate Court Justice Mary K. Rochford, the Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice; and
  • Tina Tchen, a partner at Buckley Sander, and a former Assistant to President Obama, Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.
In a written statement, current CBA President Steven M. Elrod said, "The CBA is very proud to join with the Bar Foundation in honoring this distinguished and diverse group of attorneys and jurists.... Much like Justice John Paul Stevens, each of these individuals has a steadfast commitment to the rule of law. They are among the finest in the legal profession in Chicago and we are pleased to honor them for their service to our Bar Association and our community."

For more information about the luncheon, or to order tickets (which are priced at $70 apiece, with tables of 10 going for $700), click here or contact Tamara Drees by phone at (312) 554-2057 or by email at

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Guest Post: Dr. Klumpp reports on record spending in 2018 judicial primary

by Albert J. Klumpp

After the March primary election I provided FWIW with an analysis of the results of Cook County’s judicial contests. At that time I did not have data on campaign spending by the candidates, since the required quarterly spending reports covering the first and second quarters of the year were not yet due at the state elections office.

Those reports are now on file and I have compiled total spending numbers for all 110 candidates. While I won’t be rerunning the full statistical analysis for some time yet, there was some interest expressed here in seeing the spending numbers, so here is a brief summary:

The candidates spent a total of $7,966,104. The average per candidate of $72,419 sets a new record high for a single year, well ahead of 2014’s $62,605. On a per-vacancy basis the average for each of the 39 vacancies was $204,259; this figure is second only to the 2004 average of $245,688. (In 2004, though, there were only eighteen vacancies, an abnormally low number that resulted in the number of candidates per vacancy being higher than usual. So the comparison is not a good one.)

The 26 countywide candidates spent an average of $79,398, surpassing the previous highest figure (in 2008) by more than ten percent. Analysis has shown that the impact of campaign spending on vote percentages in countywide judicial contests is almost negligible, yet spending by countywide candidates has continued to increase over the years.

The 84 subcircuit candidates spent an average of $70,259, surpassing the previous high (in 2004) likewise by more than ten percent. What stands out most about this figure is that it was not driven by the wealthier and traditionally more competitive subcircuits in the outer and northern suburbs and North Side, but rather reflects unprecented spending elsewhere. For instance:
  • In the 2nd Subcircuit the previous high for total spending was roughly $156,000. This year it exceeded $700,000. In part this was because the numbers of vacancies and candidates--six and thirteen, respectively--were much higher than usual, but even in terms of averages the amount is the highest ever.
  • Candidates in the 5th Subcircuit spent more than $516,000, more than double the previous high.
  • In the 6th Subcircuit, eight candidates pursuing three vacancies spent more than $1 million. This was more than 2½ times the previous high.
The ten highest spending individual candidates overall were:

Candidate Race Campaign Spending
James "Jaime" Shapiro 8th Subc. $491,127
Jack Hagerty Countywide $413,053
Michael B. Barrett 15th Subc. $308,078
Tom Sam Sianis Countywide $240,811
Kent Delgado 6th Subc. $228,353
Oran F. Whiting Countywide $220,667
Robert Harris 5th Subc. $190,859
Susanne Groebner 13th Subc. $185,458
Sean Patrick Kelly 6th Subc. $179,617
Robin Denise Shoffner 8th Subc. $179,285

The Shapiro total is a new record high for a Circuit Court candidate, surpassing the $419,051 spent by Megan Goldish in 2014, and is the twelfth-highest figure for any judicial primary campaign in Cook County since 1980 (where my data set begins).

Finally, some fine print: All of the above figures include in-kind contributions that are equivalent to actual expenditures; they exclude irrelevant items such as post-election parties and charitable donations, ISBE civil fines, and accounting adjustments such as loan repayments that the ISBE requires be classified as expenditures. The intent is to include only those amounts that are spent directly on the effort to attract votes. All pre-2018 figures are adjusted for inflation to allow for direct comparisons.

Albert J. Klumpp has been a generous and frequent contributor to this blog over the years. A research analyst with a public policy PhD, Klumpp is the author of several scholarly works analyzing judicial elections including, most recently, Alaska’s Judicial Retention Elections: A Comparative Analysis, 34 Alaska Law Review 143-160 (2017). Other works include Judicial Primary Elections in Cook County, Illinois: Fear the Irish Women!, 60 DePaul L. Rev. 821 (2011); "Voter Information and Judicial Retention Elections in Illinois," 94 Ill. B.J. 538 (October 2006); and "Cook County Judicial Elections: Partisanship, Campaign Spending, & Voter Information," CBA Record, January 2007 (p. 34).

Friday, September 07, 2018

September 12 fundraiser set for Judge Sam Betar

Supporters of Judge Samuel J. Betar's 13th Subcircuit candidacy have scheduled a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, September 12, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Chicago offices of Polsinelli, 150 N. Riverside Plaza, Suite 3000. Hon. William Haddad (Ret.) is chairing this event; Donna Haddad, Sandra Frantzen, and Anthony Nasharr are event co-chairs.

Tickets for this fundraiser are $125 each, but sponsorships are available ($500 - Bronze, $1,500 - Silver, $2,500 - Gold, $5,000 - Premium).

For more information, or to order tickets, email or contact Elizabeth Belcaster at (773) 678-7026. Tickets are also available at this link.

Jewish Judges Association of Illinois Annual Award and Installation Dinner set for November 8

The Jewish Judges Association of Illinois will hold its 16th Annual Award and Installation Dinner on Thursday, November 8, in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.; dietary laws will be observed.

First District Appellate Court Justice Sheldon A. Harris will receive the Honorable Seymour Simon Justice Award at the event. United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Jack B. Schmetterer will receive the Honorable Illana Diamond Rovner Lifetime Achievement Award. Third District Appellate Court Justice Tom M. Lytton will receive the Honorable Richard J. Elrod Public Service Award.

Tickets for the event are $150 each; tables are available for $1,500. The last date to purchase tickets is November 1. Dinner Co-Chairs are First District Appellate Court Justice Robert E. Gordon, former First District Appellate Court Justice Marvin Leavitt, and Cook County Associate Judge Lauren G. Edidin.

Judge Edidin will be installed as President of the Association at this event. The Jewish Judges Association will also confer Special Recognition Awards on Hon. Carole K. Bellows, retired Cook County Circuit Court judge; Hon. Richard P. Goldenhersh, retired Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District; Hon. Alfred Levinson, retired Cook County Circuit Court judge; Hon. Hy J. Riebman, retired Cook County Circuit Court judge; Hon. John B. Simon, retired Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District; Hon. Leonard Levin, deceased Cook County Circuit Court judge; Hon. Milton Shadur, deceased United States District Court judge; and Hon. Alvin I. Singer, deceased Lake County Circuit Court judge.

To order tickets for the event, call (312) 593-8953.

Guest post: An "open letter" from Judicial Accountability PAC

By printing this "open letter" I mean to take no position or offer any position on the matters expressed. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors, who signed this post (see below).

To Whom It May Concern:

We write to urge you to take a stand against a problematic judge that is on the retention ballot in Cook County this November. We write with the understanding that it has been the practice of the Cook County Democratic Party to urge voters to vote yes on all retention judges. This practice has existed for more than four decades. As a result, there has only been one cycle in the last forty years where judges have lost the retention ballot. As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle pointed out last spring, this practice should end because it has resulted in little or no accountability for sitting judges and a less competent and less unbiased judiciary for our communities.

In the spring, our PAC did a statistical analysis of all judges presiding over criminal courts in Cook County. The analysis utilized data published online by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. We employed a statistician that looked at numerous metrics, including harshest sentencing on drug possession cases, and racial disparities in sentencing. Since each judge had not sentenced a statistically significant number of white people we found that, no statistician would sign off on any particular racial disparity analysis. Nonetheless we recognized that there was an issue, and our PAC created an internal list of the top ten harshest drug sentencers (an analysis that will be released to the public later this month); the top ten most disparate sentencers. What we found were three judges that were on both top ten lists that also happened to be on the November 6 retention ballot. Simultaneously (and separate from us), Injustice Watch did an analysis of the appellate court reversals of all judges on the retention list, and the top two judges with the most reversals happened to be two of the three from each of our lists.

We then did a deeper dive into those two judges, and one stood out. It turned out that the statistics we uncovered represented real decisions that had a real impact. For instance, in the same month that Judge Mathew Coghlan sentenced a white police officer to two years probation for smashing a woman’s face into a concrete bench which resulted in her needing reconstructive surgery; Coghlan also sentenced a 25-year-old black man to 3 years prison for possessing the equivalent of a marijuana joint in his own front yard (because it happened to be within 1000 feet of a school). Within the same year, Coghlan sentenced an off-duty officer to just 3 years for his drunken vehicular homicide of a 13 year old. During sentencing, Coghlan blamed the 13-year-old for playing outside in the evening.

In addition to being on all three lists above, Coghlan gained notoriety in the mid-2000s for the brevity in which he addressed bond hearings. A 2005 Chicago Sun Times article discussed how Coghlan flew through 113 bond hearings in the course of 50 minutes—managing to make a finding of probable cause and assess factors regarding bond in what came out to of an average of 26 seconds per defendant. This is very troubling, particularly in the era of cash bail reform.

Even more troubling was the allegations made in 2013 and 2014 that Coghlan actively engaged in the framing of two different Latino men from Humboldt Park that were wrongfully convicted by the actions of notorious detective Rey Guevara. After decades of fighting, both men had their convictions overturned in 2016 by an appellate court that found “profoundly alarming acts of misconduct” in the case. After their release from prison, both individuals framed by Guevara and Coghlan filed federal civil rights lawsuits.

In 2017, in response to the lawsuits, Judge Coghlan filed a federal court document where he denied he was even present during the interrogation of a key witness that ultimately recanted against the two framed innocent Latino men. But, this summer, Injustice Watch and the Chicago Sun Times uncovered a 1993 court transcript where it was shown that Coghlan admitted taking the offending statement.

Then, in the spring of this year, Rey Guevara was specifically asked under oath about Coghlan’s role in the framing of these two men and Guevara pled the 5th and refused to answer.

Coghlan was found qualified by all the bar associations when he last ran for retention in 2012, and he was endorsed by the Party. But, the amount of damning evidence against Coghlan that has built up in the last two years should make every bar association and every Democratic Ward Committeeman reconsider. If you are part of a bar association, we are asking you to vote not recommended or not qualified for Judge Coghlan. If you are a Democratic Ward Committeeman we are asking you to vote to have the Party campaign to vote no on Coghlan for retention.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this issue.
Brendan Shiller, Board President

Antonio Romanucci, Board Vice President

Jennifer Bonjean, Board Secretary

Jon Loevy, Board Treasurer

Judge Raymond Figueroa (Ret.)

Dartesia Pitts

Michael Del Galdo

Sam Toia

47th Ward Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld

Lamell McMorris

Steven Hart

Tom Johnson

Clem Balanoff

It's not necessarily bad for a judge to be reversed... but it might be

A few weeks back, Injustice Watch (also linked in the Sidebar here) ran a piece entitled, "Chicago’s harshest judge seeks retention with 34 decisions undone in 6 years."

The linked Injustice Watch article is about Judge Maura Slattery Boyle, a candidate for retention in November.

I don't practice in the criminal courts. I don't know Judge Slattery Boyle. Therefore, this post is about reversals generally, and not about Judge Slattery Boyle or any other individual judge.

No human being likes being told that they've erred. So it should be no surprise that judges don't like getting reversed.

But I would submit that no judge worthy of the robe should ever be afraid of being reversed -- or, at least, no judge should ever take a position on a legal issue (or refuse to take a position) because of a fear of what an appellate court might say.

A reversal in any given case is not a bad thing. Not necessarily.

On the other hand, if a judge is reversed frequently, that might be a bad thing.

A judge's obligation is to "respect and comply with the law" (Supreme Court Rule 62A). A judge is expected to be "faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it" and to be "unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism" (Supreme Court Rule 63A(1)).

In other words, a judge must know the law. And follow it.

It may be, where a judge is reversed more frequently than his or her colleagues, that the judge does not know the law well enough or, worse, chooses not to follow it. That would be a major problem.

In our increasingly fractious society, persons are often forced, or effectively consigned, into opposing camps (those who are not with us are against us). But judges are required to maintain a dispassionate neutrality. Supreme Court Rule 63A(3) obligates judges to be "patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity." And patience and courtesy alone are not enough. A judge must "perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice" and shall not "by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status" (Rule 63A(9)).

A judge who has difficulty maintaining his or her neutrality will wind up being reversed more than his or her colleagues. And deservedly so.

But... it can also be true that some cases really do present more thorny issues than others. Tough cases make for tough choices. Reasonable people may disagree with the choices made -- and, if at least two of the three appellate judges reviewing the decision disagree with the trial court's rulings on the law, the decision will be reversed.

In the present day, with random assignment systems, those cases presenting tough choices should, on average, be more evenly distributed as opposed to the Old Days when "heater" cases were deliberately steered to certain judges. But, if a random assignment system truly is, there can be, on occasion, a glut of tough cases that wind up on a particular judge's calendar (or motion call). Just by chance. And, chances are, that judge's reversal rate will thereafter go up, at least temporarily.

And there is one other fact about reversals that I think should be mentioned.

The Millennials and Gen Z-ers out there wouldn't know about this, of course, but there was a time, years ago, when legal research was conducted with books. Annotated statute books and case law digests. And when those books were opened up to the relevant pages and scanned by the most efficient search engine so far created, the Mark One Eyeball, the careful researcher would frequently discern that, on almost any legal issue, there were (at least) two strands of authority, interwoven like DNA, running through the cases.

The lawyer-researcher could then construct an argument showing how that strand of authority most favorable to his or her position was controlling on the facts of the case at bar -- distinguishing the other strand of cases as irrelevant, immaterial, and/or fattening. Of course, his or her opponent was in a different library, perusing other copies of the same digests, and arriving at the diametrically opposed opinion.

Lexis and Westlaw, bless them, for all their convenience, don't always produce that same realization. The interwoven, competing strand of cases may never be found at all -- or, if happened upon, quickly abandoned and forgotten in pursuit of the cases supporting our position. Come to think of it, in the legal world, this alone would lead to a decrease in civility. In the Old Days, we often knew there was another side to most legal questions; the annotations of those (wrongly decided?) cases were right there on the desk in front of us. Before we saw anything submitted by our opponents.

In any event, then and now, the judge's task in ruling on legal questions is to evaluate these competing arguments, or find another strand that both sides ignored, and reach a solid, defensible legal conclusion. Much depends on how the judge -- and I think this is the term currently in vogue -- 'frames' the issue. If a judge, in the honest exercise of his or her best professional judgment, reaches a conclusion on a legal issue, that judge should not be afraid to voice that opinion and stand by it.

Other judges, appellate judges, in the honest exercise of their best professional judgment, may frame the issue differently, and thereby reach a different conclusion, reversing the lower court decision.

That's not a bad thing. That's how the system is supposed to work.

Unless, of course, the learned trial judge had ruled in my client's favor....

Anyway, the thing to keep in mind when evaluating any trial judge's reversal rate is that the number of reversals is not nearly so important as the reasons for those reversals.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Post-trial motions denied in Jessica O'Brien case; sentencing set for October 9

Judge Thomas Durkin's 45-page Memorandum Opinion & Order denying Jessica A. O'Brien's post-trial motions for a judgment of acquittal or, alternatively, for a new trial was entered yesterday. The opinion also denies O'Brien's motion for judgment of acquittal filed at the close of the government’s case, as well as her oral motions for a directed verdict at the close of the evidence and following the jury charge, both of which had been taken under advisement.

If I've done this properly, you can read Judge Durkin's complete opinion here.

According to Jon Seidel's article posted last evening on the Sun-Times website, sentencing for O'Brien has been set for October 9.

The Judicial Inquiry Board has filed a case with the Illinois Courts Commission seeking to suspend O'Brien from her judicial position without pay or for any other relief available under Article 6, Section 15 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution (which may include removal from office). Hearing before the Courts Commission is presently scheduled for September 24.

I am NOT running for mayor

I guess I better get that right out of the way.

Since Mayor Emmanuel's announcement yesterday that he would not seek a third term after all, a host of new candidates have declared themselves... sent out feelers... begun pollling... signaled their interest... the words are different but the meaning is the same: According to this morning's Politico / Illinois Playbook, the dozen or so candidates already in the mayoral race may be joined by Gery Chico, Bill Daley, Arne Duncan, Luis Gutierrez, Susana Mendoza, Maria Pappas, Toni Preckwinkle, Larry Rogers Jr., Michael Sacks, Kurt Summers, Anna Valencia, "and numerous aldermen including Proco 'Joe' Moreno, 1st; Ricardo Munoz, 22nd (who recently announced his retirement from the City Council), Roderick Sawyer, 6th; Tom Tunney, 44th; and Ameya Pawar (who’s not [seeking] re-election for the City Council)."

With so many candidates, a runoff seems insufficient: We need brackets.

What does all this mean for potential 2020 judicial candidates?

Not much... not directly... although the glut of mayoral candidates will soak up a lot of dollars that might have been available for judicial candidates. But there will be some time between the likely April 2019 mayoral runoff and the start of the 2020 primary season: Figure about six weeks. No more than eight. The Democratic Party's "pre-screening" of countywide judicial hopefuls will probably take place some time in June 2019.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Chicago Federation of Labor makes endorsements in contested judicial races

The Chicago Federation of Labor has endorsed Judge Samuel J. Betar III and former Judge Ketki "Kay" Steffen in their respective 13th Subcircuit races (the O'Donnell and Crane vacancies, respectively). The CFL had not made any endorsements for the March primary in that far northwest suburban subcircuit.

Other judicial candidates in contested races picking up CFL endorsements for the November election are Joel Chupack (candidate for the Maki vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit) and Scott McKenna (candidate for the Zelezinski vacancy in the 15th Subcircuit). The CFL had endorsed a different candidate in that 15th Subcircuit primary race; the CFL made no primary endorsement in the 12th.

There are contests on the November ballot for only five judicial vacancies, three in the 13th Subcircuit, one each in the 12th and 15th. All other vacancies (over 30) are uncontested. In general, the March primary winners now carry CFL endorsements for November, whether or not that candidate was endorsed in the primary. The Chicago Federation of Labor has made no endorsement in the race for the 13th Subcircuit Lawrence vacancy.