Saturday, September 22, 2018

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.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will Albert Klumpp be able to give his opinion as to how big of a difference this will make on his retention chances?

Anonymous said...

By its own standards the “party” should be pushing a #dumpsantiago hashtag too. She caught a JIB and got a free pass for committing a blatant crime. But she’s not a white guy,so Toni Taxwinkle will give her a pass while shilling for votes to become your Mayor if you live in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

#dumpsantiago

Anonymous said...

WE WILL DUMP ALL OF THE MALE RETENTION CANDIDATES IN 2018. THEN WE WILL DEFEAT ALL OF THE MALE CANDIDATES IN 2020. THE FUTURE IS FEMALE. EMPOWERED WOMEN EMPOWER WOMEN. WE WILL TAKE THE SUPREME COURT. WE WILL TAKE THE APPELLATE COURT. WE WILL TAKE THE CIRCUIT COURT. CASTRATE THE RAPIST PATRIARCHY KNOWN AS THE MALE JUDICIARY!!!!!!!

#dumpallmalejudges2018

Anonymous said...

Clarence Thomas gave us the year of the woman in 1992. Well Trump and Kavanaugh have given us the CENTURY of the woman. All male judicial candidates will be defeated in 2020. Stay home and wash our clothes, boys, because we will take the power now! First we will defeat Kavanaugh and then we will defeat all of you.

#dumpthecookcountyjudicialpatriarchy2020

Anonymous said...

Judge Coghlan was a Fireman. Someone must have thought being a fireman was a good credential for judicial appointment.

Anonymous said...

I reviewed this retention website and this is an exceptionally lackluster class. One member is a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. Another spent 2 years in judges jail. And an overwhelming majority of them are just plain lazy. I am voting no across the board and then running in one of the vacancies that I am about to create. How about it? Anyone else want to depose this bunch?

Anonymous said...

Dump them all.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn’t it be ironic if it is Judge Mauricio “I Like to Harass Women” who cost several judges their robes this cycle, but Coghlan got retained. Another 6th Sub Judge assigned to judge’s jail. What is EP putting in the water in the 6th?

Albert said...

This has never happened before so it's difficult to predict what its impact will be. It will depend on how strongly the party really wants to push the issue, as in, publicizing a specific "vote no on" message versus just leaving his name out of the list of judges on their cards and mailers. Have to think they can get him removed if they really want to...but they do have other priorities higher up the ballot.

Anonymous said...

I voted to retain Coghlan earlier today. I also voted to dump the rest of them. in 2020, when I fill one of the vacancies that I helped create today with my vote, I want to make certain that I have another law and order colleague like Hang 'Em High Matt!

Anonymous said...

Hang’em high? I sure hope you are a cowboy. Because if not, you are likely a racist.

Anonymous said...

Jack compliments to you for the comments.. Your blog was sadly ignored for months without those few comments that are backed by facts and insider truth. As for Coghlan, now we can truly see how weak and impotent the Democratic machine is. they demand 20-40k per judicial candidate and can only deliver 5% of the vote.. Wow.. As for the JAPAC lobby against Judge Coghlan. Has anyone ever seen a more conflicted and dirty PAC than Bonjean?, Anton Romanucci and Loevy.. ( Their cottage industry of reaping millions against the City Council for Police Dept shootings. So these plaintiff attys can lobby and drop heavy cash against a respected judge with AAA reviews simply because Bonjean filed suit when he was an ASA and barely touched the case.. More than self interest as usual for this crop of vultures. Shame on all of you. You guys truly embarrass our profession.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9/28:

This is 9/27. Please accept my apology. Jack was nice enough to reopen the comments and my “hang em high” comment was intended to be a sarcastic jab at Judge Coghlan’s accuser than a slam on the judge. Unfortunately in these hyper-partisan times and the cold text of posts, the comment was clearly susceptible to a different interpretation which was not intended. Targeting Coghlan was a cheaper shot engineered by people with secondary gain motivations who don’t care about facts and will make crazed arguments based on pre-determined narratives. Unfortunately our judiciary is comprised of sheep who care only about their next retention. If the JAPAC is successful with its divide and conquer tactics, then the vitriol has only just begun and Jack should just hang up the blog because 99 percent of the comments will be flush-worthy.

Anonymous said...

So I was at a powerful south suburban political office. The retention “yes” signs were all being put up. Why? Because it would cost too much money to reprint a sign to say retention yes for all except Coghlan. So it doesn’t matter that Toni torpedoed Coghlan because NOBODY but lawyers and judges care about judicial elections. And when all of them get retained we can all tell Brendan to pound sand because his street hustle will be obvious to all but the most desperate or stupid of candidates.

Anonymous said...

Brendan is a hero. He is doing the work that groups like the CCBA should be doing if they weren't such weak, scared wannabe judge cowards.

Anonymous said...

Coghlan's issue isn't only the allegations that he helped wrongly convict 2 Hispanics to years in jail but also that his sentences are racially disparate and he treats minority attorneys and litigants differently. Then there is Boyle, McHale, and Clancy. All entitled and racists Irish judges who can't be trusted to be fair. The 6th sub circuit has nothing on the Irish. #dumpallirishjudges