Thursday, October 31, 2019

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SABA Chicago Gala & Foundation Benefit set for November 16

The South Asian Bar Association of Chicago has announced that its Tenth Annual Gala and Foundation Benefit will be held on Saturday, November 16, from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Ignite Glass Studio, 401 N. Armour St., Chicago. The event will feature a silent auction and the installation of SABA's 2020 Executive Board. Dinner will be provided by Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine. There will also be hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. And Aileen Bhandari, SABA President-Elect, just advised FWIW that Cong. Raja Krishnamoorthi will be the keynote speaker at the event.

Tickets are $150 each for members, $175 for non-members, and $75 for students. Tickets may be obtained at this page of the SABA website. Sponsorships are also available.

What are judicial candidates scared of on this Halloween?

Although it is technically still mid-Autumn, Mother Nature has gotten in the spirit of Halloween this year, dressing up as a snowy Winter morning.

On All Hallow's Eve the boundary between this world and the next seems more permeable than usual. Maybe there aren't any ghosts or goblins to worry about, really, but, at this time of year, things that go bump in the night sound much more ominous.

Scary movies and TV shows are everywhere in the theaters, and on our home screens. There's something frightening to raise the hairs on the back of everyone's neck -- bats, zombies, vampires, killer clowns, the Chicago Bears offense -- but what are Cook County judicial candidates most afraid of on this fearful day? I think the following list provides a representative summary:

The Weather. It's not just the snow today. It's been cold and/or wet -- and, generally, cold and wet -- every weekend for seemingly forever. For judicial candidates trying to qualify for the March primary ballot, the weather has been a left hook right across the jaw. It's hard enough to collect petition signatures; the thought of trying to do so in the rain and cold is truly terrifying.

Signature Requirements. What makes collecting signatures even worse is that, this year, so many are required. The ISBE estimates that Supreme Court and Appellate Court candidates in Cook County will have to have 5,050 valid signatures in order to qualify for the Democratic Primary ballot. Countywide Circuit Court candidates will have to have at least 3,322. The 1,000 signatures necessary to run as a Democrat (or Republican) in the Cook County Subcircuits looks "easy" only by comparison.

So many signatures are required in countywide races because there was a strong turnout in the 2018 General Election. We all say we want people to get out and vote -- but Cook County judicial candidates may be experiencing the signature requirements this year as a right uppercut.

Looming Petition Challenges. There are always petition challenges in local races. Barack Obama's political career was launched with the strategic use of petition challenges. But there haven't always been so many petition challenges in Cook County judicial races.

There were two reasons why this was so. First, judicial candidates ought to know the law -- or at least know enough to find someone to explain it to them -- so they would be, or at least should be, more likely than candidates for other offices to file petitions that were compliant with the deliberately byzantine provisions of the Illinois Election Code.

Second, although they were generally knowledgeable in the law, judicial candidates were often political naifs. Sure, some had rubbed elbows with political types, bought ads, attended dinners and golf outings, maybe even hung around the Ward office on Saturday mornings offering legal advice to supplicants in hopes of ingratiating themselves with the powers-that-were. But even those who worked a precinct weren't really insiders. And many had done none of these things, or very few. So they didn't necessarily know enough to go tooth, fang, and claw against their opponents' petitions. Some may have lacked that killer instinct (which, by the way, is a good thing for a judicial candidate to lack -- in my opinion, anyway). Many may have just figured their fellow candidates must have done it right, too.

While I hope the first reason is still valid, the second one has faded. Not that Cook County judicial candidates these days are all seasoned political pros -- far from it -- but many candidates now have experienced consultants at their elbows. The consultants know how to find the soft underbelly of an opponent's petitions, if there is one, and they also know that, even if there isn't anything fatally defective with an opponent's petitions, a vigorous challenge will nevertheless siphon attention, time, and money away from the pursuit of actual votes. For the hopes and dreams of several judicial candidates in this election cycle, petition challenges will be the knockout blow.

Slated candidates never had to worry about petition challenges. Years ago, they didn't have to bring in a single sheet; all was done by many for the chosen few. But the many are fewer and fewer these days, and sometimes at odds. It may not happen this year, but it sure seems likely that, one of these days, a challenge will succeed against a slated candidate.

In horror movies, it's so often the character that seems safest, and most smug in his or her apparent safety, that gets set upon, without warning, from the shadows. So even slated candidates must fear, or begin to fear, petition challenges.

Ongoing Corruption Investigations. If a slated candidate is brought down by petition challenges in this election cycle, this will be a big reason.

But the fact that several political professionals are too busy, or may soon become too busy, working with criminal defense counsel to worry about passing petitions this year is only one of the ways in which the several ongoing corruption investigations will impact Cook County judicial races. A hidden wire is this year's most-feared fashion accessory. And will that donation to this alderman or that committeeman really help your judicial campaign -- or are you contributing to a future defense fund? Some judicial candidates have no doubt been woken up at night by scary thoughts like these. And, whether they're sleeping soundly or not, some Cook County judicial candidates will find that their political patrons will be too distracted this year to provide meaningful help in getting elected.

I have one anonymous commenter who keeps trying to assert that one particular judicial candidate is under active Federal investigation. It's possible, of course. The recent indictment and conviction of a sitting Circuit Court judge showed that.

But I doubt that many, if any, sitting judges or judicial candidates are in the government's crosshairs. Greylord is still a vivid, well-remembered cautionary tale, even for those who might otherwise have a little larceny in their hearts. Right? Still, some may be on tape. Remember I said that many judicial candidates are naifs?

It's a horror movie cliche: The phone rings and the dumb sap looks at it for a long take, deciding whether to pick up the receiver. Audience members are thinking -- and maybe a few are shouting -- don't take the call! Don't take the call! But then the poor, doomed goof lifts the handset....

Don't talk on the phone. And, if you do, assume there's a court reporter on the other end.

Remember, being friendless and alone in the political world may make it hard to get elected -- but having no political friends means never having to say "I'm sorry" to a Federal judge at sentencing.

Every Other Race on the Ballot. I know the State's Attorney's race is getting all the publicity. I get press releases every day on this one, from multiple candidates, and I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaay down on the media food chain.

The crowded Supreme Court race seems quiet now, but it will command its share of attention, and soon enough.

But the more attention other races get, the less attention is available for Circuit Court candidates trying to get their campaigns to the winners' circle. So every other race on the ballot is scary for Cook County judicial candidates.

The one race that isn't commanding a lot of publicity at the moment -- and the one most likely to divert the attention of political professionals who are not otherwise distracted by threats to their liberty and livelihood, and who might have actually helped struggling judicial candidates find and secure votes -- is the race for the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

There are a lot of jobs in that office.

Now, of course, you say that patronage is dead and gone. Illegal. Obsolete.

Of course, I say.

But I suspect that this race in particular will prove a distraction for those who might otherwise be of assistance to judicial candidates. And, if I were a judicial candidate, I'd be afraid of the attention the Clerk's race will take from mine.

And finally.... In the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas amateur psychiatrist Lucy Van Pelt tries to help Charlie Brown find a name for his fears.
Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.
Charlie Brown: I don't think that's quite it.
Lucy: How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.
Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I'm not sure.
Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?
Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?
Lucy: The fear of everything.
Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT!
And that, gentle readers, may also be said of many, if not most, of our judicial candidates.

If you happen across any of them, especially on this harrowing holiday, be nice; they're highly stressed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Many other new 2020 candidate websites added to the blog Sidebar

Pictured at right is Judge Celestia L. Mays. That's a link to her new campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Mays to the countywide Funderburk vacancy in November 2018 (though she did not assume her judicial duties until this past January). This past August, the Cook County Democratic Party slated Judge Mays for the vacancy she now holds.

Licensed as an attorney in 1990, according to ARDC, Mays is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association. Before her appointment to the bench, Mays operated her own firm, concentrating in the areas of family law, probate, and residential real estate.

Jennifer Callahan, a candidate for the countywide Mason vacancy, was introduced to FWIW readers in this post. At that time, Callahan had no campaign website; the first link in the preceding sentence will take you to her campaign website now.

FWIW readers will also recall that the Cook County Democratic Party slated 10 alternates for the Circuit Court this past August. These individuals are effectively pre-endorsed for judicial vacancies that, so far, have not materialized -- and, of course, the Party's support for any alternate is contingent on the alternate not running against a Party-endorsed candidate.

Among the tenuous 10 are Cristin McDonald Duffy -- but she had a campaign website before the slating meeting. (She is the Party's third alternate countywide judicial candidate.) At least three other alternates now have websites as well (the following links are to their respective sites, and each has been added to the blog Sidebar): Thomas E. Nowinski (1st alternate), Joseph Chico (7th alternate), and Diane Marie Pezanoski (8th alternate).

Pat Casey to make 8th Subcircuit judicial bid

You will search in vain for a picture of the candidate on Pat Casey's new campaign website. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

A search of the candidate's campaign Facebook page will be equally unrevealing.

And the candidate's campaign bio is carefully written to avoid any pronouns that might give gender away.

This is almost certainly not coincidental -- and it puts the visitor in mind of the old Pat or Pat sketches on Saturday Night Live -- but this is true to a time-honored tradition of judicial candidates with names that might be male or female. FWIW readers will not have to think long to summon a number of examples.

According to the candidate's campaign bio, Casey has served as an Administrative Law Judge for the past 10 years, first with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and now currently serving as a Supervising ALJ for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Before becoming an ALJ, Casey operated the Law Offices of Pat Casey from 2005 to 2009. Before that, Casey worked for a firm handling police misconduct cases.

A former Chicago Police Officer (rising to the rank of Sergeant), Casey earned a J.D. in 2001.

It's a good ploy, and it's harder to write without pronouns than you might think, but due diligence requires me to report that, according to ARDC, Patrick A. Casey has been licensed in Illinois since 2001.

First "Democratic Socialist candidate for judge"

Gabe Galloway (pictured at left) is running for judge in the 6th Subcircuit as "Chicago's first Democratic Socialist candidate for judge." That's a link to Galloway's artsy website in the preceding sentence.

According to the site, Galloway's "campaign is an effort to disrupt the typical judicial election process in Cook County, by which the Democratic Party establishment runs two of their hand-picked candidates against each other, the hand-picked candidate that wins the election receiving that judgeship, and the hand-picked candidate that loses often later getting appointed to another judgeship."

FWIW readers may be question that statement... but Galloway's site is unquestionably unique in the titles bestowed on campaign volunteers -- such as Wellness Consultant and Minister of Propaganda -- and on its Executive Committee (including Spiritual Advisor and Counsel on Foreign Relations).

Galloway has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2005, according to ARDC.

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Who Sits Where -- Marie Antoinette Edition

On this day (October 16) in 1793, Marie Antoinette was beheaded.

Today is also Boss's Day -- and neither of these facts has a darn thing to do with the following updated list of all Cook County judicial vacancies that have been published by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The list below shows which vacancies have been filled by Supreme Court appointment. Eight of the countywide Circuit Court appointees were slated by the Cook County Democratic Party.

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. N. R. Ford -- Thomas M. Cushing
Vacancy of the Hon. Raymond Funderburk -- Celestia L. Mays
Vacancy of the Hon. Diane J. Larsen -- Levander Smith, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. Mary Anne Mason -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. James P. McCarthy -- Teresa Molina
Vacancy of the Hon. Joyce Marie Murphy Gorman -- Sheree D. Henry
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. Thomas D. Roti -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Colleen F. Sheehan -- Unfilled
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. Rhonda Crawford2 -- Tyria B. Walton

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

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Denise K. Filan -- Daniel E. Maloney
Vacancy of the Hon. Peter Flynn -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Allen F. Murphy -- Erin Haggerty Antonietti

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 -- Cara Lefevour Smith

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. Larry Axelrood -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Marvin F. Luckman -- Michael A. Strom

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas R. Allen -- John G. Mulroe
Vacancy of the Hon. James M. McGing -- Unfilled

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Kay M. Hanlon -- Patricia M. Fallon

13th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Margarita Kulys Hoffman -- Michael Perry Gerber

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 Supreme Court's order appointing Justice Hyman to this vacancy provides 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. There is no Hyman vacancy on the Circuit Court.

2 The late Rhonda Crawford won the Democratic Party's nomination for this vacancy in the 2016 primary and received more votes than a write-in candidate in November of that year -- but never took office. I do not know why the ISBE has designated this as the Crawford vacancy. I have asked for clarification on this, and if I get it, I will report it.

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. That is why this vacancy is again unfilled.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Annual Advocates Society Judges Night is Thursday October 17

The Advocates Society will hold its Annual Judges' Night this Thursday, October 17, from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 North Milwaukee Avenue. Free parking is availabe at the museum.

Dinner -- a spread of authentic Polish food catered by Kasia’s Deli in Chicago -- begins at 6:30 p.m. Attendees will also have access to many exhibits within the museum.

Tickets will be available at the door -- $100 for non-Advocates members, $60 for Advocates members, retired judges, and guests of judges. Sitting judges attend as complimentary guests of the Society.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, email Jonathan Clark Green at Today was supposed to be the deadline to order discounted advance sale tickets -- so, if that's your goal, best to act quickly.

Reception Wednesday October 16 for Judge Lynn Weaver Boyle

State Senate President John Cullerton and Cook County Commissioner John Daley are the honorary hosts for a reception supporting the countywide candidacy of Judge Lynn Weaver Boyle on Wednesday, October 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd Floor.

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 order tickets, email Thom Karmik at or visit this page of the candidate's website.

Dan Walsh to seek countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy

Assistant Public Defender Daniel J. Walsh has announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy in the 2020 Primary.

Currently working on felony matters at the Maywood courthouse, Walsh has been with the Public Defender's Office for 15 years. Before that, Walsh worked for the State Appellate Defender. He began his legal career as a law clerk to former Judge Jennifer Duncan Brice. Licensed in Illinois since 2001, according to ARDC, Walsh is married and has a son in high school.

Megan Kathleen Mulay to seek Larsen vacancy

Assistant State's Attorney Megan Kathleen Mulay has announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the countywide Larsen in the 2020 Primary. That's a link to Mulay's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1999, according to ARDC, Mulay is currently working in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau of the SAO's Felony Trial Division.

Mulay's campaign bio notes that she is the youngest of six children, raised by a single mother, life experiences that taught her "early in life how to be an advocate for herself and others."

She has, according to her campaign bio, served as lead attorney in "over 100 felony jury and bench trials ranging in severity from drug possession to first degree murder." She is presently responsible for the prosecution and management of over 300 active felony cases.

Mulay grew up in the south suburbs but currently resides in Chicago with her husband and two sons.

Arab American Bar Association Judicial Reception set for November 20

The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois will hold its 2019 Judicial Reception on Wednesday, November 20 at the Alhambra Palace Restaurant, 1240 W. Randolph St., from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

First Municipal District Presiding Judge Kenneth E. Wright, Associate Judge Mark J. Lopez, and Judge William B. Sullivan are the distinguished honorees for this event.

Tickets for the event are $75 each (student tickets are available for $25 apiece) and judges will be admitted gratis. Sponsorships are also available (Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000, Platinum - $1,500) (increasing numbers of event tickets and other benefits attach at each level of sponsorship). For more information about the event, or sponsorship opportunities, email Tickets are also available by clicking on this link.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Two countywide slated candidates launch campaign websites

Campaign websites have been launched for two countywide judicial candidates recently endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.

Araceli Reyes De La Cruz was slated for the countywide Roti vacancy. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar as well.

Licensed in Illinois since 2001, according to ARDC, De La Cruz currently serves as General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for the Acero Charter School Network, according to her campaign bio.

Before joining Acero, De La Cruz was Chief of General Prosecutions in the Division of Professional Regulation in the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Before that, De La Cruz was Chief of Safety and Security Compliance for the Chicago Transit Authority. She began her legal career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, according to her campaign bio.

A lifelong resident of Albany Park, De La Cruz describes herself on the website as the "proud product of CPS." She has served on the Board of Directors of Casa Central Social Service Agency and, from 2006-2009, as a board member of the National Hispanic Prosecutor's Association.

Laura Ayala-Gonzalez is the Democratic Party's slated candidate for the countywide Ford vacancy. That's a link to her new campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed in Illinois since 2003, according to ARDC, Ayala-Gonzalez has spent her legal career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, currently serving as a Supervisor in the Felony Trial Division of that office.

Born to a single immigrant mother and raised in Texas, according to her campaign bio, Ayala-Gonzalez came to the Chicago area (Melrose Park) as a six-year old and became the first person in her family to finish high school, graduate from college, and obtain a law degree.

According to her campaign résumé, Ayala-Gonzalez partnered with Mujeres Latinas en Acción to hold panel discussions to "help renew bonds" between the Hispanic community and the CCASO. She has been a co-leader of the Government Lawyers Program with the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, a member of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, and a mentor to the Lyons Township High School Mock Trial Team.

James J. Knibbs declares 3rd Subcircuit candidacy

There's no campaign website as of yet, or even a campaign Facebook page, but, in a Facebook announcement, James J. Knibbs has declared that he intends to seek a 3rd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2020 Primary.

Knibbs has decided not to challenge either of the two already-appointed judges who are also running in the 3rd Subcircuit (there are three vacancies there). Quoting now from the Facebook post,
I know that many of my FB friends are supporting the campaigns of our mutual friends, Judge Daniel Maloney, and Judge Erin Haggerty Antonietti. I am not running against Dan or Erin, both of whom I had the privilege to work with both in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Judge Dan Maloney and Judge Erin Haggerty Antonietti are excellent Circuit Court Judges, and I am fully supportive of their candidacies in their respective races.
Licensed in Illinois since 1985, according to ARDC, Knibbs is currently of counsel to Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff PC. In addition to his experience in the State's Attorney's Office, Knibbs' firm bio notes that his career achievements include "a $26 million subrogation recovery arising out of a utility plant collapse; several million-dollar plus subrogation recoveries; a $1 million-plus settlement for his clients in a fraudulent land sale involving a Chicago college[;] numerous successful arson, fraud and other coverage matters[;] a not guilty verdict in a U.S.C. Section 1983 on behalf of nine Chicago Police Officers; and the successful defense of a State Representative in a defamation trial." The firm bio also notes his experience as an adjunct instructor at Loyola University Chicago Law School.

Two more campaign websites go live

When I wrote that Pam Stratigakis was seeking a 9th Subcircuit vacancy, I mentioned that her campaign website appeared to still be under construction. Her campaign website is now up and running and it has been added to the blog Sidebar.

A couple of weeks ago I put up a post about an upcoming fundraiser for 15th Subcircuit appointee Judge Nichole C. Patton. But her campaign website was not yet up and running either. Now it is, and it, too, has been added to the blog Sidebar.