Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Judicial candidates invited to submit statements for publication on FWIW

This post is specifically directed at the current crop of Cook County judicial candidates and their campaign advisers.

Getting one’s message out to voters in a county as large as this one is a herculean challenge. Subcircuits may look a lot smaller on the map, but each covers a lot of ground, as those of you who’ve been walking door-to-door (weather permitting) will attest. The enormity of the task before you has become clear, whatever support you are already privileged to have. Each of you has a day job to keep up with – and, in your spare time, you’re still seeking endorsements, filling out questionnaires, and showing up at any event that will have you. You’ve undoubtedly noticed, at these events, that judicial candidates spend a lot of time seeing... each other. You may be getting around, but you’re not always around likely potential voters; at least you're not always around likely voters you haven’t already met.

I’d like to give you an opportunity to get your message directly to potential voters.

Google says that this website has been viewed nearly 2.7 million times to date; while a lot of those page views come from candidates and their friends and families, as the primary draws ever nearer, this site will be seen by increasing numbers of likely voters.

What would you like to tell them?

I will print any statement that any Cook County judicial candidate cares to make right here on For What It’s Worth. This is the seventh election cycle in which I’ve extended this invitation. I will print what I get (subject to a couple of ground rules set out below), whether I get five statements or 55. When I put up the Organizing the Data posts shortly before the primary, I will link back to any statements I’ve received, providing voters an additional chance to receive your message directly.

I make this offer because, when I ran for judge in 1994 and 1996, I would have given my right arm to have had such a forum.

Things were different, of course, back then: The Internet was still a largely undiscovered country. I think I was just learning how to use email in those days. But, today, you have the opportunity to reach nearly every single voter in Cook County without leaving your den. You can of course speak to voters directly on your own sites as well, but I am offering you an additional platform, an additional opportunity for voters to find out about you when they start searching the Internet for information about our upcoming judicial elections.

Candidates need only send me an email (that's a link to my email address; there's also a link you can find in the sidebar of this blog) with their essay.

You may be wondering what you should say. I don’t know that there is any “right” answer. You can send me a statement of personal philosophy, the stump speech you’ve always wanted to make, the pitch you’d like to make at every voter’s front door, your ‘closing argument’ to the electorate, or whatever else you think appropriate.

I’m not going to tell anyone what to say or how to say it.

However, I would suggest, as my mother used to say, that you don’t make your own candle shine brighter by trying to blow out someone else’s. Tell voters why you should be elected, not why your opponent should not be.

I strongly suggest that you put your statement in the first person (be personal, use “I” and “me”) because I will run your statement as your statement, under your byline, by Sally Smith, by John Jones. I know some of you are paying consultants to help you craft your message and there may be a temptation to simply delegate this task. Resist that temptation. Get feedback from your advisers before you send me anything (especially if you're paying for it anyway), but let your voice come through in your essay. I know writing such an essay won’t be an easy task: As lawyers, we’re used to advocating for a client -- for someone else. It’s not as easy to talk about ourselves. But this is an opportunity for you to define yourself, rather than be defined by questionnaire responses.

If I don’t already have your picture, send me a head shot. I’ll run your picture with the post. I will not edit candidate statements. I’ll print what you send. (That’s why I need an email, to verify what was sent, and by whom.) To see what other candidate statements have looked like, click on the "In Their Own Words" tag here or at the bottom of this post and start scrolling down. I will only put up one statement per candidate.

I realize some of you already have personal statements posted on your own campaign websites. If you ask me to run a substantially similar statement here, or even the same statement, I will do so. But I will not pull statements from your site on my own. If you want me to put your statement here, you have to send me the statement.

I will begin accepting, and posting, candidate essays immediately. Because I will link to them from the Organizing the Data posts, there’s no advantage to delay. And if you do try and wait until the last minute, when I am working on those roundup posts, I may be unable to get your essay posted. To be on the safe side, if you’re interested, please get me your statement within the next 30 days.

I do not intend to impose any limit on the statement’s length; presumably you won’t want to compose anything overwhelmingly long. For illustration purposes, my word processor advises me that this post is about 1,000 words long.

Campaign website found for Chelsey R. Robinson

Supporters of Chelsey R. Robinson's 2nd Subcircuit judicial bid have launched a campaign website. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed in Illinois since 1996, Robinson practices with the firm of Owens & Robinson. Her campaign bio stresses her lifelong residence in the 2nd Subcircuit. She did her undergraduate work at Howard University and is a graduate of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Her office website notes that Robinson is a licensed minister.

Robinson was a candidate for a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 election cycle, but withdrew from her race. She faces two opponents this time, Judge Sondra Nicole Denmark and Felicia H. Simmons-Stovall.

Fundraiser tonight for Justice Reyes at Sidetrack

Supporters of Justice Jesse G. Reyes' Supreme Court campaign are planning a fundraiser for their candidate tonight, Wednesday, January 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St.

Tickets for tonight's event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (for $250, $500, or $1,000). The listed host committee includes Michal Janicki, Leo Zehren, Logan Parker, Sam Lingman, Franco La Marca, Nick Rutan, Lisa Nicoll, TJ Walczak, Daniel Hernandez, Brian King, Roberto Romero-Perez, Gavin Quinn, Nick Ventola, and Nick Furtwengler.

For further information about this event, or to procure tickets, email

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Regina Ann Mescall campaign website goes live

Supporters of Regina Ann Mescall's bid for the Flynn vacancy in the 3rd Subcircuit have launched a campaign website on her behalf. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Mescall is an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney, licensed in Illinois since 2007, according to ARDC.

According to her campaign bio, Mescall began her legal career in 2002, after graduation from John Marshall Law School, as an Assistant District Attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She joined the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in 2007.

A college track athlete at the University of Miami, according to her campaign bio, Mescall competed in the 100m hurdles, long jump, high jump, javelin, 200m dash, shotput and 800m. After the the NCAA integrated women's pole vault as an event in 1997, Mescall learned to pole vault, too.

Mescall is currently a first-chair trial assistant, assigned to the courtroom of Judge Vincent M. Gaughan. She is married to attorney Peter Kramer. She and her husband and four children reside in Christ the King Parish in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.

The race for the Flynn vacancy is crowded. In addition to Mescall, candidates for this vacancy include Lauren Brougham Glennon, David A. Bonoma, Thomas J. Condon, Jr., James John Knibbs, Brad S. Telander, and Scott Edward Lipinski.

John Garrido campaign website launched

A campaign website has been launched on behalf of John Garrido, a canddiate for the McGing vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

Garrido has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2006, according to ARDC. He currently practices with the firm of Garrido & Stoppa, P.C.

According to his campaign website, Garrido has also been with the Chicago Police Department for 29 years, currently serving as a watch operations lieutenant in the 16th District.

The campaign bio notes that, in 2013, Garrido helped establish an annual charity event called "Rock the Badges," putting bands from the Chicago Police and Fire Departments on stage to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and Ignite the Spirit. In 2015, Garrido helped organized Gladstone Park’s first ever music festival, the Throwback Music Festival.

Garrido has served as a Director of the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce and, in 2017, according to his campaign bio, Garrido and his wife Anna established the Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation. According to the campaign bio, since its inception, the Foundation has helped rescue over 600 dogs and cats, returning approximately 82% of them to their families.

This is Garrido's first campaign for judicial office -- but it is not his first campaign. He ran for alderman of the 45th Ward in 2011 and 2015. The outcome of 2011 campaign was at issue in Garrido v. Arena, 2013 IL App (1st) 120466.

Garrido faces two opponents in his bid for the McGing vacancy, Jon Stromsta and Maire Aileen Dempsey. (The links here are to these candidates' respective websites.)

Chicago Federation of Labor strays... a little... from the Democratic Party line in its Cook County Judicial endorsements

Though there are typically a couple of exceptions, the Chicago Federation of Labor generally follows the Cook County Democratic Party's endorsements in countywide judicial races. This year, there seem to be a couple of more exceptions than usual.

The CFL tracked the Democratic Party's endorsements of Kerrie Maloney Laytin (Bellows vacancy), Laura Ayala-Gonzalez (Ford vacancy), Celestia L. Mays (Funderburk vacancy), Levander "Van" Smith, Jr. (Larsen vacancy), Teresa Molina (McCarthy vacancy), Sheree Desiree Henry (Murphy Gorman vacancy), Maura McMahon Zeller (C. Sheehan vacancy), and Jill Rose Quinn (K. Sheehan vacancy).

However, the CFL bypassed Judge James T. Derico, Jr. for sole practitioner (and McAuley graduate) Elizabeth "Beth" Ryan. The CFL endorsed another McAuley graduate, Jennifer Callahan, over the Democratic Party's nominee, Chris Stacey. (Callahan's husband, Joe Cook, is a candidate for 41st Ward Democratic Committeeman.)

A third McAuley graduate, Elizabeth Anne Walsh, was the CFL's choice (over Judge Lloyd James Brooks, the Democratic Party's nominee) for the O'Brien vacancy.

No known connection exists between Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Mary Murphy, but Murphy received the CFL's nod for the Roti vacancy over Araceli Reyes De La Cruz, the General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Acero Schools and the Democratic Party's slated candidate.

The CFL's endorsements for the Appellate and Supreme Courts were in line with the Democratic Party's recommendations (Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr. for the Supreme Court, and Justices Michael Hyman and John Griffin for the two Appellate Court vacancies).

In contested Cook County Subcircuit races, the CFL made these endorsements:

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

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Peter Flynn -- David Bonoma
Vacancy of the Hon. Allen F. Murphy -- Erin Haggerty Antonietti

6th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marya Nega -- Jamie Guerra Dickler
Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen M. Pantle -- Eileen Marie O'Connor

8th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. John J. Fleming -- Jonathan Clark Green

9th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Larry Axelrood -- Pamela Stratigakis

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. James M. McGing -- Jon Stromsta

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

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

14th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. William G. Lacy -- Daniel O. Tiernan

At least as of January 24, the Chicago Federation of Labor has made no endorsements the race for the Jackson vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit, for the Luckman vacancy in the 9th Subcircuit, the late-breaking O'Brien vacancy in the 10th Subcircuit, or the Bertucci vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit.

In other races of probable interest to FWIW readers, the CFL endorsed Kim Foxx for reelection as Cook County State's Attorney and Michael M. Cabonargi as Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Fundraiser tonight for Justice Reyes at Lalo's on Maxwell Street

Supporters of Justice Jesse Reyes' Supreme Court campaign are holding a fundraiser this evening, Tuesday, January 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Lalo's Mexican Restaurant, 733 W. Maxwell Street.

Tickets are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Friend - $250, $500 - Co-Host, $1,000 Supporter). Martin Quintana is one of the hosts for this event. The Host Committee includes Alex Cabrera, Rafael A. Vargas, Herrera Law Center, Dr. Chris Menton, and Premier Occupational Health.

For more information about tonight's event, or to reserve tickets, email or call (773) 484-6136.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Appellate and Supreme Court Candidates at Palatine Public Library Monday night

Updated Monday, January 27 to advise that event organizers plan to livestream the event this evening. According to organizers, interested persons can click on after 7:00 p.m. this evening and watch this event from anywhere.

The Greater Palatine Area Democrats, the Elk Grove Township Democrats, the Illinois Sixth District Democrats, and North West Suburbs Organizing For Action (NWSOFA), are the listed sponsors of a Meet the Candidates Night this coming Monday, January 27, from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m., at the Palatine Public Library, 700 N. North Ct., Palatine.

A number of candidates for the open Supreme Court seat and both the Appellate Court seats have confirmed their appearances for this event.

Admission is free, registration is requested.

Candidates for the Illinois Supreme Court will also be appearing Wednesday, January 29, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Union League Club for the Appellate Lawyers Association's January meeting. This is not a free event, and it is likely to sell out. Registration is available through the Appellate Lawyers website.

Maura McMahon Zeller fundraiser set for February 11

Supporters of Maura McMahon Zeller's bid for the countywide C. Sheehan vacancy are throwing a fundraiser for their candidate on Tuesday, February 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th Street, Merrionette Park.

Tickets for the event are $50 apiece, but sponsorships are available (Friend - $100, Supporter - $250, Patron - $500). This event is hosted by the McMahon family. For more information, or to order tickets, email Tickets are also available at this link.

James Patrick Crawley website goes live

Supporters of James Patrick Crawley's bid for the countywide Roti vacancy have now established a campaign website on his behalf. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed in Illinois since 1990, according to ARDC, Crawley's campaign bio notes that he currently handles "complex litigation... through all phases... including trials and appeals." He is currently an attorney with Kennedy & Associates, PC in Chicago where he primarily handles wrongful death, trucking and product liability litigation. Crawley has been a member of the trial bar for the U.S. Northern District of Illinois since 1990 and was sworn-in to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 2005.

Crawley is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and Saint Louis University School of Law where he served on the editorial staff of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review. Crawley interned for United States Senator Paul Simon and Justice Myron H. Bright of the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. He clerked for the U.S. Federal Defender, according to his campaign bio.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Crawley to its Judicial Evaluation and Performance Committee. Crawley also serves on a subcommittee of the Supreme Court's Commission for Access to Justice. According to his campaign bio, he has also served as a mentor to new attorneys under the Illinois Supreme Court’s attorney mentoring program and as a peer counselor for the Lawyers Assistance Program helping law students, lawyers and judges at times of personal need.

In addition, according to his campaign bio, Crawley has served on the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chicago Police Department and on the board of directors for Jane Addams Hull House and AIDS Care, one of the first residential living facilities in Chicago for persons with AIDS. His firm has been a sponsor of Windy City Hoops and Women Everywhere. He resides in Jefferson Park neighborhood with his spouse and two dogs.

Crawley previously sought a countywide judicial vacancy in 2014 at which time he was found "qualified" or "recommended" by all screening bar association. He has applied on multiple occasions to be a Cook County Associate Judge.

In his bid for the Roti vacancy, Crawley faces two opponents, Araceli Reyes De La Cruz, the Democratic Party's slated nominee, and Lorraine Mary Murphy, who sought a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in 2018. The links are to their respective campaign websites; Murphy's is also newly added to the blog Sidebar.

Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast at St. John Fisher on February 23

Some judicial candidates may be interested.

Just a note of caution: Some groups object to overt politicking at their events. Especially where food is served -- politics can sour even a strong stomach. (It's a wonder the TV stations get away with showing the news during mealtimes.) But a candidate's money is just as green as anyone else's and events like these give candidates a chance to be seen, at least, by prospective voters.

Fundraiser Tuesday for Judge Lloyd Brooks

Supporters of Judge Lloyd Brooks' countywide candidacy (O'Brien vacancy) are holding a fundraiser for their candidate this coming Tuesday, January 28, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave. Listed hosts for the event are Kevin Conway, Patrick Anderson, and Larry Rodgers, Jr.

Tickets are $100 each, and sponsorships are available (Bronze - $500, Silver - $1,000, Gold - $2,500, and Platinum - $5,800). To order tickets, or for more information, email

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fundraiser tonight for Pamela Reaves-Harris

Supporters of Pamela Reaves-Harris's 7th Subcircuit candidacy are throwing a fundraiser for their client tonight, Thursday, January 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Tradition Gastro Pub, 160 N. Franklin. Tickets are $100 each. Sponsorships are available (Supporter - $250, Friend - $500, Host - $1,000, Co-Chair - $2,500).

Listed honorary co-chairs for the event are Congressman Danny Davis, Secretary of State Jesse White, Ill. St. Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, Ill. St. Rep. Camille Lilly, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Alderman Emma Mitts, Alderman Jason Ervin,
Alderman Walter Burnett, Alderman Michael Scott Jr., Alderman Chris Taliaferro, Committeewoman Blanca Vargas, Former Alderman Ed Smith, and Former Alderman Isaac "Ike" Carothers.

For any questions about tonight's event, email or call (312) 798-9376.

Two of the six Circuit Court appointees recently selected as Associate Judges will not appear on the March primary ballot

Newly selected Associate Judges Marina E. Ammendola and Fredrick H. Bates have withdrawn from the March primary according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Ammendola had been seeking the countywide K. Sheehan vacancy, the vacancy to which she'd been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. Bates had been seeking the 1st Subcircuit Brooks vacancy, the vacancy to which he'd been appointed.

Ammendola's withdrawal leaves three candidates for the K. Sheehan vacancy, Jill Rose Quinn, the Democratic Party's slated candidate and the first transgender judicial candidate in Illinois; James Samuel Worley, and Wendelin "Wendi" DeLoach. (The links are to candidate websites, where known. Worley's is newly added to the blog Sidebar.)

Bates' withdrawal leaves Krista D. Butler as the only Democratic candidate for the Brooks vacancy. Lisa D. Copland and former Judge Litricia Payne had filed for this vacancy, but both withdrew (Copland on December 12, Payne on January 6). No Republican filed for this vacancy, clearing the path for Butler's election in November.

Of the four new Associate Judges who did not withdraw from their Circuit Court races, Michael A. Forti is the only remaining candidate for the Gubin vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit.

Judge Celestia L. Mays gave up the countywide Funderburk vacancy to accept selection as an associate judge. But she was already slated by the Democratic Party for this vacancy, where she now faces three opponents, Jacqueline Marie Griffin, Daniel L. Collins, and Mary Therese Quinn. Again, links are to campaign websites, where known. The Collins website is newly added to the blog Sidebar. I don't have a website for Quinn, but she have a Facebook campaign page.

Judge Levander "Van" Smith, Jr. gave up the countywide Larsen vacancy to accept selection as an associate judge. But he, too, had been slated for this vacancy by the Cook County Democratic Party and he remains on the ballot in March. He faces two opponents, Suzanne Therese McEneely and Megan Kathleen Mulay. (Links are to campaign websites.)

Finally, Judge Daniel O. Tiernan had to relinquish his appointment to the Lacy vacancy in the 14th Subcircuit when he became an associate judge. He remains on the ballot, in an effort to recapture that spot, running against a single opponent, Perla Tirado. (Links here, too, are to candidate websites; Tirado's is newly added to the blog Sidebar.)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Seventh Subcircuit Candidate Forum Set for February 13

The South Austin Neighborhood Association (SANA) is sponsoring a forum for candidates seeking the Jackson vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit on Thursday, February 13, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Friendship Baptist Church, 5200 W. Jackson Blvd. Admission is free, but registration is requested (to register, follow the links in this invitation).

Retired Judge Marianne Jackson will moderate the event and will be honored at the event for her years of service and dedication to the Austin community.

All five candidates on the ballot to succeed Judge Jackson are invited to participate.

The five candidates are Pamela Reaves-Harris, Owens "Joe" Shelby, Marcia O'Brien Conway, Mable Taylor, and Kristen Marie Lyons.

The links in the preceding sentence are to the candidates' respective campaign websites, where known. I did not have a website listed for Pamela Reaves-Harris before; I've added it to the blog Sidebar.

Updated January 21 to provide link to Shelby website. The website was down when this post originally went up.

Four remain in the race for the countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy

With the recent removal of former Judge Elizabeth Anne Karkula from this race, four candidates remain for the countywide Murphy Gorman vacancy.

Judge Sheree Desiree Henry is the Democratic Party's slated candidate for this vacancy. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Henry was appointed to this vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court this past July.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, Henry worked as an Assistant Cook County Public Defender from 1999 until her appointment to the bench. Before joining the PD's office, from 1995-1999, Henry served as an Assistant Public Guardian in the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office. Henry also served eight years in the Illinois National Gaurd. She was a candidate for a 2nd Subcircuit vacancy in the 2018 primary.

Also in the race is Keely Patricia Hillison. Hillison has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1985. She currently practices law with Keely Hillison Law LLC. Hillison was a candidate for a countywide vacancy in 2018. Her 2018 campaign website is still online, but has not yet been updated.

When Hillison ran last time out, one of her opponents was Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Pillsbury.

And, oddly enough, Amanda "Mandy" Pillsbury is a candidate for this vacancy, too. That's a link to Pillsbury's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the blog Sidebar.

Pillsbury was one of 10 alternates pre-slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for countywide vacancies that never opened (she was 9th of 10).

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2004, Pillsbury's campaign bio notes that she grew up on Chicago's Northwest Side, attending St. Francis Borgia grammar school and Mother Theodore Guerin High School. (Mother Gurerin, now Guerin Prep, just announced this week that it is closing.) Pillsbury, her husband, and their four children now reside in Western Springs.

Last on the ballot in this race is Assistant Public Defender Dan Walsh.

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. According to ARDC, Walsh has been licensed in Illinois since 2001. According to a campaign announcement received, Walsh is married and has a son in high school.

An objection to Walsh's candidacy was overruled yesterday by the Cook County Officers Electoral Board.

Walsh's campaign does not currently have a discernable online presence. I can find no campaign website and it looks this morning like a campaign Facebook page may have been taken down.

Balanoff withdraws from 8th Subcircuit race; Forti now unopposed

Dan Balanoff, who had filed for the Gubin vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit, withdrew his candidacy yesterday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Pat Casey, who had also filed in that race, withdrew on January 3.

These withdrawals leave Judge Michael A. Forti -- who had been appointed to the Gubin vacancy in late 2018 -- unopposed in the March Democratic Primary. No Republican filed for the vacancy, so Judge Forti will almost certainly be sworn into that vacancy on the first Monday in December of this year.

Forti no longer holds that vacancy, however; he left it when he accepted selection as a Cook County Associate Judge.