Friday, February 15, 2019

Who Sits Where -- Presidents' Day Weekend Edition

Updated 2/23/19

In my original post, I mistakenly identified a vacancy which did not in fact exist -- in my defense, I had it on good authority -- but it was nevertheless an error -- my error -- for which I apologize. Also, in this update, I must advise of a vacancy created by the sudden passing of Judge Allen F. Murphy.

I've never understood "Presidents' Day." Were the shades of Chester A. Arthur and Millard Fillmore really demanding equal time with Lincoln and Washington? And even if they were, was Congress obliged to give in to their demands?

Regardless, we are now 13 months away from the 2020 Primary, and though that may seem to most people to be a date far off in the future, those hoping to gain, or hold, a place on the Cook County bench in that election are already focusing in, formulating plans, and soliciting support.

What follows is not a comprehensive list of Cook County judicial vacancies but, rather, a list of vacancies that have either been filled by Supreme Court appointment, or for which an application process has been announced, or that I believe to exist even though no announcement has been made. Not all of the "vacancies" listed below are necessarily vacant -- and some of the persons identified as filling these vacancies have not yet actually taken office -- but an official announcement has been made. There are probably other vacancies, beyond those reported here, which the Supreme Court has neither filled nor announced. And, of course, new vacancies will occur in the ordinary course. I can and will update as necessity requires and opportunity permits.

But this is the best information I have now.

As always, all errors of omission or commission in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Supreme Court Vacancy

Vacancy of the Hon. Charles E. Freeman -- P. Scott Neville, Jr.

Appellate Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. P. Scott Neville, Jr. -- Michael B. Hyman1
Vacancy of the Hon. John B. Simon -- John C. Griffin

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Carole K. Bellows -- Kerrie Maloney Laytin
Vacancy of the Hon. Matthew E. Coghlan -- James T. Derico, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. Raymond Funderburk -- Celestia L. Mays
Vacancy of the Hon. Diane J. Larsen -- Levander Smith, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. Jessica A. O'Brien -- Lloyd James Brooks
Vacancy of the Hon. Sebastian T. Patti -- Lynn Weaver-Boyle
Vacancy of the Hon. Kevin M. Sheehan -- Marina E. Ammendola

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Rodney Hughes Brooks -- Fredrick H. Bates
Vacancy of the Hon. Vanessa A. Hopkins2 -- Unfilled

2nd Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy3 -- Sondra Nicole Denmark

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Denise K. Filan -- Daniel E. Maloney
Vacancy of the Hon. Allen F. Murphy -- Unfilled

6th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marya Nega -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen M. Pantle -- Unfilled

7th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marianne Jackson -- Unfilled

8th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. John J. Fleming -- Unfilled4
Vacancy of the Hon. Deborah J. Gubin -- Michael A. Forti

9th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marvin F. Luckman -- Michael A. Strom

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas R. Allen -- Unfilled

13th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Margarita Kulys Hoffman -- Unfilled

14th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Robert Bertucci -- Gerardo Tristan, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. William G. Lacy -- Daniel O. Tiernan

15th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. John C. Griffin -- Nichole C. Patton

1 Justice Hyman is a Cook County Circuit Court judge sitting by appointment to the Appellate Court. The language of the Supreme Court's order appointing Justice Hyman to this vacancy suggests that, unless he runs for, and wins a seat on the Appellate Court in 2020, he will return to his original position as a Circuit Court judge. For this reason I have not included a "Hyman vacancy" among the countywide openings.

2 The late Rhonda Crawford won the Democratic Party's nomination for this vacancy in the 2016 primary but never took office.

3 Vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alexander White.

4 Jeanne Marie Wrenn was appointed to this vacancy, but, last November, Judge Wrenn was elected to fill the 8th Subcircuit vacancy of the Hon. Sheryl Pethers. Accordingly, I believe this vacancy to be open once again.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Levander Smith, Jr. appointed to countwide vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court announced yesterday that Levander Smith, Jr. has been appointed to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Diane J. Larsen.

Smith's appointment is effective March 1; it will terminate December 7, 2020.

Licensed in Illinois since 1993, Smith is currently an attorney with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. A fairly recent transfer to the Chicago area, Smith previously applied for an associate judgeship in far Downstate St. Clair County in 2013 and 2015.

Smith was a finalist twice over in the last year's Cook County associate judge selection: After making the "short list," Smith wound up in a tie for the last of the 17 vacancies to be filled.

I hope the room is big enough

The Cook County Democratic Party will host a seminar entitled "Road to the Robe - Running for Judge" on Tuesday, March 5, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the John Marshall Law School, Room 1200, 315 S. Plymouth Court.

I quote the flyer here exactly: "Learn the ins and outs about running for judge from experts in the field."

No speakers have been announced; if I learn who will be speaking at this seminar in advance I will update this post.

Admission is free -- but prospective attendees must register in advance by either calling (312) 263-0575 or emailing

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Justice Burke announces application process for three subcircuit vacancies

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke has announced a process for filling three subcircuit vacancies by appointment.

The vacancies are in the 1st, 7th and 13th Judicial Subcircuits.

The links in the preceding sentence will take you to the press releases announcing each vacancy.

Persons interested in applying must be lawyers in good standing, licensed to practice in Illinois, and a resident of the subcircuit where the appointment is sought.

To request an application for any of these vacancies, visit the Illinois Courts Home Page and click on the link announcing the vacancy in which you are interested.

The deadline for completion and return of applications for each of these vacancies is Wednesday, March 6, at 4:00 p.m. Completed applications should be submitted by mail to Kevin M. Forde, Esq., the Chair of Justice Burke's special judicial screening committee, c/o Forde Law Offices, 111 West Washington Street, Suite 1100, Chicago, Illinois 60602.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Daniel O. Tiernan appointed to 14th Subcircuit vacancy

In an order entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Daniel O. Tiernan, an investigator with the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General, to the 14th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William G. Lacy.

Tiernan's appointment is effective February 22; it ends on December 7, 2020.

A former Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, Tiernan has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1995.