Thursday, January 27, 2022

How to get petitions signed in the frigid winter

No matter what some liar tells you, it is never easy to get people to properly sign nominating petitions for judicial office. It's difficult to get friends to do it, much less strangers. And you need a whole lot of strangers to sign if you have any hope of surviving a petition challenge. You need a whole lot more signatures than that if you have any hope of avoiding a challenge completely.

And as hard as it is to go knocking on the doors of people you don't know, even on a glorious afternoon in autumn, knowing there are registered voters peering out at you from behind the blinds, actually seeing them, and standing there feeling like an absolute fool until the persons inside give up and open the door or you give up and slink away, how much harder it must be in this Covid-afflicted primary year, when signatures must be gathered in the dead of winter.

What strategies can be employed?

The Cook County Democratic Party has always done petitions in bunches. All nine countywide slated candidates are listed on one petition; one signature thereon is a signature that counts for all nine. The ward organization of, say, a hypothetical Ald. Filch cares nothing for eight of the nine, but pushes the paper for all to help out the one in the alderman's favor. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, an equally hypothetical Ald. Grab likewise cares nothing for eight of the nine, but the one favored by Ald. Grab's organization is not the same one who enjoys the blessings of Ald. Filch. And so Ald. Grab's people push paper to support that candidate -- but all nine benefit. The signatures add up.

However, how does one garner signatures when the ink in the pen may be frozen?

I've been looking online to see what candidates are doing. Here's a screengrab from an Instagram post I saw this morning:

I can't tell from this if these two candidates are circulating joint petitions or merely having an event where persons may sign their individual sheets.

But the idea of running as an alternate ticket is not new this year; it has been done forever. Some of these "tickets" are the most temporary of coalitions -- banding together just long enough to get the joint petitions filed, then all proceeding individually. Some counter-tickets actually share resources and provide mutual assistance after the petitions are filed. At this stage of the campaign, it is hard to tell which is which.

Readers may have seen non-slated candidates circulating joint petitions already; I'm working on verifying some reports of these now. If you have information about petition signing events or alternate tickets, email me at

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Carmen Quinones to seek countywide Hyman vacancy

Family law practitioner Carmen Quinones has announced plans to seek the countywide Hyman vacancy in the 2022 Democratic primary. That's a link to Quinones' campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

Licensed in Illinois since 1989, according to ARDC, Quinones is a solo practitioner from Wilmette. Her campaign biography notes that she used to have her office in the Humboldt Park and Logan Square area. Initially she handled criminal cases before 'gravitating' to a family law practice, including work as a guardian ad litem and child representative. According to her campaign bio, Quinones has served on the Child Representative Steering Committee and has been involved with the Chicago Bar Association Lawyer-to Lawyer mentoring program.

Her campaign bio also notes that, before becoming a lawyer, Quinones did graduate work in psychology, participating in a doctoral program at Maryland State University from 1970-74, and working as a Manager/Supervisor for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

John Fritchey to make 8th Subcircuit run. Apparently.

Former Cook County Commissioner John A. Fritchey is apparently planning to seek an 8th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2022 primary.

So far it's a quiet affair -- an announcement has apparently been made on his private Instagram account -- I can verify that Fritchey has an IG account, and that it's private. That means I can't vouch for the announcement personally. The copy of the brief announcement that has been forwarded to me contains the following statement:

I am confident that my experience, background and beliefs would enable me to be an effective judge who can apply the law fairly while never forgetting the impact our system has on all of us. Whether dealing with criminal cases, custody cases or business disputes, our judges have a major impact on our residents and our residents need to put experienced people on the bench.

According to ARDC, Fritchey has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1989. ARDC says that Fritchey now works for F4 Consulting Ltd. His LinkedIn profile says that Fritchey serves as Government Relations Director for that firm.

Before his service on the the Cook County Board, from 2010-2018, Fritchey served as a member of the Illinois House (from 1996). Fritchey did apply for associate judge in 2021.

My search of the State Board of Elections website this morning revealed no obvious Fritchey judicial campaign committee. But whether he's begun raising money yet or not, he should automatically be a credible candidate for whichever 8th Subcircuit vacancy he chooses. Name recognition is important for any political candidate, especially for those in down-ballot races, and Fritchey, as a long-time serving elected official, should have significant name recognition right from the start.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Guest Post: New election law targets judicial campaign fundraising

A reader alerted me to this article, by Appellate Court Justice Mathias W. Delort, which first appeared in The Gavel, the newsletter of the Illinois Judges Association. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author and of the IJA's president, Hon. Barb Crowder (Ret). The accompanying graphic is no doubt obsolete (I'm obviously not a subscriber) but it's what I could find. -- Ed.

by Justice Mathias W. Delort

Every year, legislators in Springfield introduce countless bills to amend the state’s election laws. Most of those bills never see the light of day, because the legislature’s practice was to consider only a single omnibus election bill each term, and then only in the waning hours before both chambers adjourned. This year was no exception.

During the veto session held in late October 2021, the General Assembly adopted this year’s omnibus election bill, Senate Bill 536. On November 15, the Governor signed the bill into law as Public Act 102-668. The new law is almost 100 pages long. Among other things, it moves the 2022 General Primary Election from March to June, temporarily reduces petition signature requirements, and delays the associated petition filing deadlines to accommodate the late-enacted redistricting of congressional, legislative, and other districts. It also delays the long-awaited redrawing of judicial subcircuit boundaries in the 12th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, and Cook County Judicial Circuits from 2021 to 2022.

The most significant changes of interest to judges and judicial candidates in the new law, however, are its amendments to Article 9 of the Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/9-1 et seq.) which relate to campaign financing. These changes became effective immediately when the Governor approved the bill on November 15.

The first of these changes regulates what commentators call “dark money.” The new law provides that political committees of candidates seeking nomination to the Illinois Supreme Court, Appellate Court, or Circuit Court may not accept contributions (except de minimis ones) from any group that is not required by law to disclose the identity of its contributors. In this context, “contribution” is specifically, and broadly, defined to include “expenditures made by any person in concert or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, his or her designated committee, or their agents,” and “the financing by any person of the dissemination, distribution, or republication, in whole or in part, of any broadcast or any written, graphic, or other form of campaign materials prepared by the candidate, his or her campaign committee, or their designated agents.” In practice, “dark money” usually comes from nonprofit organizations such as “social welfare” groups, unions, and trade associations that are not required to disclose their donors.

The second change is an apparent attempt to halt the use of “outside” interest money in Illinois judicial elections. The law contains a new blanket prohibition against the same judicial campaign committees from accepting contributions from any “out-of-state person.” Article 9 of the Election Code defines “person” broadly to include “a natural person, trust, partnership, committee, association, corporation, or any other organization or group of persons.” The new law does not define “out-of-state,” but it appears that it might, for instance, prohibit a candidate from even accepting a contribution from a parent, child, or family member who happens to live outside of Illinois.

Campaign finance regulation had its genesis in the enactment of federal restrictions enacted after the Watergate scandal of the early 1970’s. Most, if not all, states have followed suit by enacting campaign finance laws that promote disclosure of campaign donations and expenditures, and that impose limits on how much a campaign may accept from particular donors. In cases such as Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), the United States Supreme Court determined that campaign finance restrictions must be analyzed in light of the First Amendment’s free speech protections, because spending campaign money facilitates political speech. This doctrine, sometimes characterized as “money equals speech,” has led to an avalanche of litigation challenging many campaign finance and disclosure restrictions on the basis of the First Amendment. A good deal of this litigation has been successful. Whether the new Illinois law will pass muster under these precedents remains to be seen. But for now, judicial candidates and those working with their campaign finance committees should be aware of these new restrictions.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The show must go on....

It's 7 degrees outside in Chicago this morning, but at least it's sunny, right?

I found this picture on Facebook this morning. Volunteers working for Maine Township Committeeperson (and State Sen.) Laura Murphy look happy and warm in this photo, which I'm guessing was taken before they ventured out into the elements. Some judicial candidates may be dismayed to see the emphasis made on the MWRD candidates in the accompanying text....

If you have a photo of persons circulating for a Cook County judicial candidate that you'd like to share, email me by clicking here. Attach the photo (.jpg format) as you would any other file. I don't promise to post them all (and I don't know if I'll get any) but I will try to post where possible. And appropriate.

Zoom Fundraiser tonight for Judge Thomas More Donnelly

Supporters of Judge Thomas More Donnelly's bid for the countywide Sullivan vacancy are planning an online fundraiser for their candidate this evening, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is scheduled to make a "special appearance," and the event hosts are Pat Salvi, Tim Eaton, and retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, but government and public interest lawyers will be admitted for $50 apiece. And, of course, sponsorships are available ($500 - Bronze, $1000 - Silver, $2500 - Gold, and $5000 - Host). Tickets may be obtained by clicking here. Links to the Zoom meeting will be provided upon registration. In accordance with the new campaign finance laws, the ticket purchase site contains the following disclaimer: "In accordance with recent changes to Illinois campaign finance laws, contributions are limited to residents of Illinois. If you are not a resident of Illinois, we thank you for your interest, but can not accept a donation."

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Judge Raines to receive sensitivity training following comments made to courtroom personnel

For anyone who may be unfamiliar with the circumstances, or who may be interested in more context, I link herewith to a post by Debra Cassens Weiss on, "Judge disparaged lawyer, apparently unaware of livestream: 'Can you imagine waking up next to her every day?'"

What follows is the statement issued by the Chief Judge's Office concerning the comments made by Judge William B. Raines following a recent Zoom hearing.

The Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County has determined that the Hon. Judge William B. Raines must receive sensitivity training and gender bias counseling following comments he made to courtroom personnel earlier this month.

Judge Raines made the comments on January 11 while on the bench in his courtroom to an assistant public defender and assistant state’s attorneys, according to an order issued late Tuesday by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, who convened the committee. The comments were likely a violation of the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct, and the committee directed that the incident be referred to the Judicial Inquiry Board.

Judge Raines appeared with counsel at the Tuesday committee meeting and expressed contrition, the order said.

The Hon. Sophia H. Hall, presiding judge of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section, will monitor and mentor Judge Raines and report to the Executive Committee within 90 days on the status of the training and counseling, the order said.

Because Judge Raines has been “publicly implicated in conduct that would likely constitute impropriety or an appearance of impropriety which threatens irreparable injury to the public,” Judge Evans ordered Judge Raines assigned to restricted duties or duties other than judicial duties in the office of the Presiding Judge in the First Municipal District.

The Executive Committee is comprised of the supervising judges of all divisions and districts of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

A lesson in civility from the U.S. Supreme Court

Everyone saw the headlines. The Rolling Stone headline was particularly pungent: "Neil Gorsuch Stands Up for His Right to Endanger Sonia Sotomayor’s Health." Charlie Meyerson's Chicago Public Square newsletter linked to Nina Totenberg's January 18 story, "Gorsuch didn't mask despite Sotomayor's COVID worries, leading her to telework," the story that started it all, before citing to the Urban Dictionary's definition of "maskhole."

Without a fresh angle, there was no reason for FWIW to jump in on a story, even about judges, that was being done to death. I struggled for awhile before one came to me: The courts are always preaching at us about civility. We must be civil to our brothers and sisters at the bar, civil to unrepresented litigants, civil to court staff, and, of course, especially civil to the judges. But... *stepping on soapbox*... how can we be criticized for our many failures when persons at the very apex of the legal profession can not be civil to one another....

Oh, yeah. I was working myself into a state of high dudgeon, which is like low dudgeon, only there's a risk of nose bleed.

But there was a problem: Click on that Rolling Stone link now and you'll see this inserted:

Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch released a joint statement on Wednesday pushing back on a report that Sotomayor worked remotely because Gorsuch refused to wear a Covid-19 mask. "Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false," the statement read. "While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends."

Here's the Tweet from @SCOTUSblog:

There was a major hole in that statement, and the Twitterati were quick to point it out: NPR did not say that Sotomayor asked Gorsuch to mask up; supposedly, that request came from Chief Justice Roberts.

(Apparently, even justices of the United States Supreme Court have diminished comprehension when reading online. And yet, the legal profession marches ever deeper into the realm of efiling. Makes you think, doesn't it? No? Well, it should.)

So the Supreme Court issued another statement, this one from Roberts:

The focus in this brouhaha has been on Gorsuch. But Marcia Coyle reports this afternoon on, in an article entitled, "Chief Justice Roberts Denies Asking Gorsuch to Wear a Mask," that Gorsuch was not always the only unmasked person in the courtroom:

Sotomayor has worn a mask on the bench since the high court’s return to in-person arguments in October. While it may be coincidental with the rise of the omicron variant, she has participated in arguments telephonically from her chambers during the two-week January argument session. The other justices, with the exception of Gorsuch, began wearing masks on the bench during this month’s arguments.

Even some of the masked justices have at times during arguments removed their masks to ask questions. And since October, some advocates at the court’s lectern have not worn masks while arguing. Many advocates describe the distance between the bench and the lectern as little more than outstretched handshake between them and the chief justice.

I don't know that anyone can make a Justice of the United States Supreme Court do much of anything when he or she is not inclined to do it. But you would think that, if masking were a serious concern for the Court as an institution, they could make counsel wear masks throughout the proceedings. However, Coyle raises a valid question: "Why isn’t Gorsuch wearing a mask like his other colleagues?" Especially to help out a warm colleague and friend....

Still, it is heartening to see that the Supreme Court is concerned about projecting an image of being above the political fray, despite the attempts of so many people to drag it down into the hyperpartisan hellscape on which our public 'discourse' is too often otherwise conducted. The Court is teaching by example: Civility is important. And necessary to the continued viability of our cherished institutions.

(But, Neil, a word of advice here? Wear a mask. As the nuns used to tell me, offer it up, if it makes you feel better.)

Statement from Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans in response to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's requests about electronic monitoring

Statement released by the Chief Judge's Office yesterday. Links are as in original.

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans responded Tuesday to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s request for a moratorium on use of electronic monitoring for defendants accused of certain violent crimes by pointing out the national and state constitutional issues raised by imprisoning people before they are convicted of anything. The chief judge also noted multiple problems with the data the mayor provided to back up her request.

The chief judge also pledged continued cooperation with the mayor and the police superintendent in the interests of promoting public safety.

“Regarding your letter of December 29, 2021, I respectfully disagree that the automatic detention in jail of defendants facing certain categories of charges is a constitutional practice under the United States and Illinois constitutions,” Judge Evans wrote. “Pretrial detention serves a legitimate purpose, preventing the serious risk of committing crimes while on pretrial release… Its purpose is not, however, to punish preemptively, by depriving people of their liberty for crimes for which they have not yet been convicted.”

To promote public safety, the court continues to collaborate with the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), the SCaN program, and the Courage to Change program to access additional programming for young people involved in the court system, Judge Evans said. The court’s Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department has referred more than 200 youth to SCaN providers since March 2021. Also, DFSS’s One Summer Chicago program has been an integral component of summer programming for court-involved children for at least the past five years.

One aspect of DFSS programming is the Trauma-Informed Centers of Care Network. “We will coordinate with this network of clinics and behavioral health providers to respond to the trauma affecting most court-active young people,” Judge Evans said in the letter. He said that the court welcomes the chance to continue and strengthen these partnerships, and that he has appointed attorney Diane Walsh of the Juvenile Justice Division as the representative to the mayor’s working group on this issue. Judge Evans also noted a recent meeting between Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, judges, and members of the state’s attorney’s and the public defender’s offices, which included discussion of improving communication between police, the courts, and attorneys, and the appointment of court liaisons.

Judge Evans acknowledged the tragic wave of violent crime in the past year that has afflicted Chicago and other American cities. However, he said that there is no evidence that individuals released from pretrial detention are driving this wave of violence, which, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has struck both cities like Chicago that have undergone bail reform and cities that have not.

Judge Evans wrote that if, after a judge hears specific facts of the case, the presumption is determined to be great that an individual is guilty of the crime, that he or she poses a danger to any person if released pretrial, and that no condition or combination of conditions of pretrial release can reasonably assure the physical safety of other persons, then he or she may be detained. In fact, the vast (969 of 1150, 86%) of defendants charged with murder or attempted murder in Cook County between October 2019 and September 2021 were detained in jail for the duration of their case.

However, for 19 percent (6,039) of the 31,946 cases disposed between October 2017 and November 2021 in which the top charge was an offense listed in the mayor’s letter, it was determined through due process of law that the evidence was insufficient even to prosecute them; an additional 1,168 (3.7%) were found not guilty at trial. Those who were detained in jail but not convicted were deprived of liberty without having been found guilty of the charges, and were unable to pursue education, work, or support their families while in jail.

Between October 2017 and November 2021, the Circuit Court of Cook County adjudicated 25,359 cases in which the defendant was charged with one or more of the offenses listed in the mayor’s letter. In 24,191 (95%) of those cases, defendants were convicted. These individuals were held legally accountable for their illegal activity with sentences to prison terms ranging from an average of 3 years for weapons possession to an average of 27 years for murder and attempted murder.

“At all stages of the justice system, the adjudicator must be unbiased,” Judge Evans wrote. “In our justice system, the accuser is not the adjudicator; a judge, not a prosecutor or law enforcement official, must decide whether an individual shall be deprived of his or her liberty.”

The law requires that defendants shall be released on the least restrictive conditions that will reasonably ensure they will appear in court, and that will reasonably protect the community, witnesses, victims or any other person. Research by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority has shown that restrictive conditions such as house arrest on electronic monitoring (EM) should be reserved for higher risk offenders.

The seriousness of the charge does not always reflect the underlying risk of failure to appear or danger to the community, Judge Evans wrote. The number of arrests for new crimes by individuals on pretrial EM is relevant for evaluating whether the program is effective. An independent study in 2020 by the University of Chicago Crime Lab found that more than 95 percent of individuals with gun-related charges released in Chicago on EM were not arrested for a new crime during the year following their release. Of the small minority (less than 5%) of individuals released on EM pretrial who were rearrested, the majority were accused of committing a misdemeanor. The same study found that rearrests on gun charges among this population (pretrial defendants released on EM) represented less than one percent of gun arrests in Chicago during the period.

“As I have stated previously, I do not believe EM is the most effective way to prevent offending while on pretrial release. I believe programs providing cognitive behavioral therapy are a better means of bringing about long-lasting changes in individual behavior,” Judge Evans wrote. “Such programs are already in place, but should be greatly expanded. I welcome additional discussion of ways to fund effective programming for people on pretrial release, to attain our shared objective of a safe and peaceful community.”

The research staff for the Office of the Chief Judge found numerous problems with the data Mayor Lightfoot submitted to support her argument for a moratorium on EM. For example, the research staff examined electronic court docket records and found that, for 5 of the 15 individuals who the mayor’s list indicated were arrested for murder in 2021, the alleged murders occurred in 2020, at a time when the defendants were not on EM. A sixth was placed on EM for a violent offense, and then arrested on murder charges stemming from the same violent incident, not for a new pretrial crime. Issues with the data the chief judge’s office received also were discovered in an independent study by Chicago Tribune reporters.

The chief judge’s office was unable to find a court filing for murder for five of the cases cited in the mayor’s request. Among new arrests listed for Unlawful Use of a Weapon (gun possession), Aggravated UUW, Felon in Possession of a Weapon, Armed Habitual Criminal (a gun possession charge), and Vehicular Hijacking, the chief judge’s research staff similarly found defendants originally released with nonviolent drug charges and defendants not on EM at the time of the arrest, and were unable to find others.

A list of the charges facing the current defendants on the curfew program may be found on the court’s website at In addition, the Office of the Chief Judge publishes a dashboard of quarterly bond court performance measures that include a snapshot of the sheriff’s EM population. This dashboard has been nationally recognized as providing a comprehensive picture of pretrial release in Cook County, and would be the appropriate place to publish statistics on the pretrial curfew population moving forward.

Finding the occasional fact in the flotsam

FWIW readers already knew that Amanda Pillsbury was planning a 2022 judicial campaign but now we know, from this ad spotted on Facebook this morning, that Pillsbury will be seeking one of the two 4th Subcircuit vacancies (click to enlarge or clarify):

This would appear to be a 'fact', with at least some news value -- and, as such, it may be readily distinguished from the wild speculation and deliberate misinformation spattered in my comment queue by the ever-inventive, and often ghoulish "Anonymous."

Why, just yesterday afternoon, if you were to believe it, Judge So-and-So just up and retired! Several others have also reportedly retired in the past couple of weeks. Sometimes the rumor is true -- but if you submit comments about nearly every judge, odds are eventually you must get one right.

According to my comment queue, slated candidates are rumored to be facing challenges from this pre-slated alternate, or that one. Several slated candidates allegedly face challenges from one alternate in particular.

You name the candidate, and there's a rumor: One said s/he refused to sign a particular candidate's petition "because the man passing her petition was incredibly rude and smelled of alcohol." I'll pause now as we all clutch our pearls.

Some of the would-be comments are at least amusing. Or hope to be. This one, perhaps:

Any tips on how to get petition signatures in the middle of a pandemic? Nobody wants to stop and sign when I stand outside the entrance to the tavern.

If you were to believe the comments in my inbox, there should be (will be?) a host of vacancies on our reviewing courts because this justice retired, or that one just succumbed to a loathsome disease, and because the Supreme Court has been "sitting on" all the announcements.

Is that not conspiratorial enough for you? Someone thought to offer this one:

The monopoly that is the ABA will offer you no protection. Don't do spike proteins, not even once.

And don't do the brown acid either. Bummer, man.

Getting on the ballot is hard enough. Perhaps harder this year than most. (We'll see.)

But if you do have an actual tip to share, or news of a petition-signing event, or something factual that might be of interest to FWIW readers, feel free to send me an email. That's a link to my email right there. Thanks.

Meanwhile, I'll keep looking.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Jennifer Bae plans 8th Subcircuit run

Jennifer Bae has announced plans to seek an 8th Subcircuit vacancy. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the site Sidebar as well.

Bae's campaign bio notes that she currently serves as "Director of Employee Discipline at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office," managing "a department charged with disciplining over 6,000 sworn officers and civil employees, [conducting] hearings and trainings, and [executing] all grievance processes, including arbitration against unions representing employees."

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1997, according to ARDC, Bae has worked as a criminal defense attorney in private practice as well as, according to her campaign bio, a "staff attorney" for the City of Chicago and an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney. She was the first president of the Women’s Criminal Defense Bar Association. In 2010, Bae was appointed to the First Judicial District Committee on Character & Fitness by the Illinois Supreme Court, serving first as a member, then Vice-Chairman, and ultimately as Chairman.

Bae's campaign bio also notes that she "volunteers with many local organizations such as the Korean American Voter Organizing Initiative & Community Empowerment (KAVOICE), the Korean American Bar Association’s Legal Clinics, and Korean American Community Services (KACS)."

Bae previously filed for a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008 and for 12th Subcircuit vacancies in both the 2012 and 2016 election cycles. She has only appeared once on the ballot, in the 2016 primary.

Suburban drug treatment courts get federal grant

A press release issued by the Office of the Chief Judge earlier this week:

A new federal grant will boost three existing suburban court programs that help drug users.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $550,000 over four years to the Drug Treatment Courts in the Fourth Municipal District (Maywood), the Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview) and Sixth Municipal District (Markham). The grant will pay for clinical case management for these three south suburban courts.

Drug Treatment Courts are part of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s network of “Problem-Solving Courts,” which also includes Veterans’ Treatment Courts and Mental Health Treatment Courts. These courts are in the Leighton Criminal Court Building as well as in all the suburban municipal district courts.

Also known as specialty or therapeutic courts, these courts seek to help high-risk/high-need individuals suffering from an underlying mental health, social or substance use disorder from becoming repeat offenders. Problem-solving courts achieve this goal by providing counseling, treatment, and intensive supervision.

Drug court participants typically are in the program for two years. Participants, who are charged with non-violent crimes, participate in the programs voluntarily.

Problem-Solving Courts Director Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza noted that the Circuit Court of Cook County budget does not cover everything for problem-solving courts, so various grants are essential to their operation.

“We are extremely grateful for the Bureau of Justice Assistance grant,” Gallivan-Ilarraza said. “It will enable us to continue to help people get out of the cycle of substance use and criminal behavior and allow them to change their lives.”

“For nonviolent defendants who are driven by drug addiction, the drug treatment courts exercise compassion in the pursuit of justice. Treatment, not punishment, is the best option to pursue,” Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

“Often, these individuals would rather receive a short-term jail sentence so that they can start using again upon release,” Judge Evans said. “Instead, we provide a long-term effective treatment plan that can help end their suffering and the suffering of their families and friends. This grant will help defendants find a future of sobriety.”

The suburban courts work with case managers from TASC Inc., who provide clinical assessments of all defendants entering the drug courts. The case managers determine the level of treatment needed and whether it will require out-patient or in-patient services.

The case managers are also trained to help defendants enroll in Medicaid and re-enroll as required every year. Medicaid coverage can pay for the drug court defendant’s treatment.

A total of 41 participants graduated from drug court programs last year. There are a total of 268 current participants.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, a federal agency that provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

40th Ward Dems announce endorsements in Cook County judicial races... so far

The 40th Ward Democratic Organization has put up its endorsements on its website.

Here is a link to the complete list of the group's endorsements in all races. If you peruse the list carefully you will count endorsements in only seven of the nine countywide judicial races. Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr. is conspicuous by his absence, as is Thomas E. Nowinski. This is a list of the 40th Ward's judicial endorsements:

Countywide Vacancies
  • Mike Weaver,
  • Judge Rena Van Tine,
  • Judge Diana Lopez,
  • Judge Araceli De La Cruz,
  • Judge Ruth Gudino,
  • Yolanda Sayre, and
  • Tom Donnelly

6th Subcircuit vacancies (2)
  • Lori Roper and
  • To be determined

8th Subcircuit vacancies (2)
  • Brad Trowbridge and
  • To be determined

9th Subcircuit vacancy
  • Sanjay Tailor

A second 9th Subcircuit vacancy has opened since this list was posted, of course, and the "to be determined" language in connection with the second 6th and 8th vacancies suggests that the group will update this list at some point. And, of course, there may be additional endorsements in countywide races. But this is what has been made public so far.

Brad Trowbridge to seek 8th Subcircuit vacancy

Bradley R. Trowbridge has announced plans to seek the Gordon vacancy in the 8th Judicial Subcircuit. That's a link to his campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

This is Trowbridge's third attempt to obtain an 8th Subcircuit vacancy; he ran before in 2012 and 2020. Accoring to his new campaign website, Trowbridge has lined up some significant support for this latest venture. Here is the list of endorsements he includes on his website:

  • Tom Tunney, 44th Ward Alderperson/Committeeperson,

  • Harry Osterman, 48th Ward Alderperson/Committeeperson,

  • Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward Alderperson/Committeeperson,

  • Lucy Moog, 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeperson

  • Paul Rosenfeld, 47th Democratic Committeeperson,

  • Sean Tenner, 46th Ward Committeeperson,

  • Maggie O'Keefe, 40th Ward Committeeperson, and

  • John Daley, Cook County Commissioner/ 11th Ward Committeeperson.

Trowbridge operates the Law Offices of Bradley R. Trowbridge on North Sheffield Ave. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2000, according to ARDC. His website also notes that he has an M.A. in Human Development Counseling and 10 years' experience in counseling "vulnerable and at-risk populations."

A former president of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, according to his campaign website, Trowbridge has also taught law courses as an adjunct (at what used to be known as John Marshall Law School) and published on family law issues. His campaign website also notes volunteer work with Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safer Schools Alliance, First Defense Legal AID, PAWS, and The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Deidre Baumann campaign website launched

A new campaign website has been established in support of the latest bid by Deidre Baumann for a seat on the Cook County Circuit Court. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

Licensed as an attorney since 1992, according to ARDC, Baumann practices with the firm of Baumann & Shuldiner. She began her legal career, according to her campaign bio, with as an Assistant Public Defender. After leaving that office, Baumann "began working at a small boutique firm specializing in First Amendment law." She set up her own practice in 1996. Between 2009 and 2011 Baumann represented many of the plaintiffs in the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal.

A countywide judicial candidate in 2016 and 2020, Baumann's campaign bio stresses her extensive bar association activity. According to her updated campaign bio, she currently chairs the General Practice and Small Firm Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association, serves as secretary for the Federal Civil Practice Committee of the Illinois State Bar, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago and on the Board of the Decalogue Foundation. Baumann is a past-president of both the Decalogue Society of Lawyers and the North Suburban Bar Association. Also, according to her campaign bio, Baumann has served on the Executive Boards for the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the Chicago Bar Association, Alliance for Women. Also, Baumann has chaired the Suburban Bar Coalition for many years, according to her campaign bio.

Baumann attended the University of Illinois, from which she received both her undergraduate and law degrees. A Lane Tech graduate, Baumann is a long-time officer and board member of the Lane Tech Alumni Association, according to her campaign bio. Since 2004, the bio notes, Baumann has "served as President of the Chicago/Cook County 4-H Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing scholarships for deserving 4-H youth who are attending a college or university."

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Who's running for what....

This is the first day petitions can circulate for the June primary (and the weather is better than we'd dared hope -- especially after the ice storm last weekend). Stick around, though, it's going to get much, much worse.

Anyway, with petitions out, there's no longer any mystery surrounding the vacancy sought by each endorsed Cook County candidate.

Here are the vacancies, paired with the name of that person endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party for each vacancy:

  • Brennan vacancy: Howard B. Brookins, Jr.

  • Canon vacancy: Diana López

  • Hyman vacancy: Thomas E. Nowinski

  • Ingram vacancy: Yolanda Harris Sayre

  • Leeming vacancy: Rena Marie Van Tine

  • Lynch vacancy: Michael Weaver

  • McGury vacancy: Ruth Isabel Gudino

  • O'Brien vacancy: Araceli Reyes De La Cruz

  • Sullivan vacancy: Thomas More Donnelly

These folks are linked together now, on a single petition.

Others vying for these positions are not limited in terms of the vacancies for which they can circulate. John Smith can circulate separate petitions for each and every one of these countywide vacancies, although he might get beaten up if he tries (you want me to sign how many sheets of paper?), but, even if he emerges unscathed, with nine sets of ready-to-file petitions, he can only actually file one.

Not like the old days, when John Smith could file for every vacancy and then had a little time, after sizing up the competition in each race, to withdraw from all but one. That's no longer permitted.

Even so, there's a certain amount of gamesmanship that is likely to be involved in the circulation of petitions. We'll watch together.

Campaign website found for Thomas E. Nowinski

Found on the Internet: This campaign website for countywide candidate Thomas E. Nowinski. That is a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

Nowinski was one of the nine persons slated by the Cook County Democratic Party this past December for what were then eight countywide openings (a ninth spot has since opened up).

(You might think that campaign websites would spring up overnight for those receiving the Party's nod -- but, at least this year, based on my search this morning, that does not seem to be the case. Websites have not been the exclusive means for campaigns to get their message out for a number of cycles now. Nowinski, for example, also has a campaign Facebook page. Perhaps campaign websites are becoming "old school"? I fully expect that some judicial candidate will announce a TikTok presence during this campaign cycle. But I digress.)

Nowinski currently serves as Chief of Staff to Iris Martinez, the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2004, accourding to ARDC, Nowinski's campaign bio states that he began his legal career as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney "where he tried hundreds of criminal and civil bench trials and jury trials in state and federal court." While assigned to the SAO's Civil Actions Bureau, Nowinski became the lead attorney representing Cook County offices in the Shakman litigation. He eventually became a Deputy Supervisor, overseeing a 14-attorney litigation unit.

His campaign bio also notes that Nowinski served as Deputy Director of Labor Relations for Cook County.

Nowinski was the Cook County Democratic Party's fifth alternate in the 2018 election cycle. He was the first alternate in 2020, but no new vacancy opened in time.

Free seminar next Thursday on how judicial candidates are evaluated

This seminar will be put on by the Chicago Bar Association next Thursday, January 20, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., and, yes, it is an opportunity for the CBA to identify and attract more people to serve on its Judicial Evaluation Committee. But it is also an opportunity for you, Dear Reader, to explore whether JEC service would be something you may want to do. For the good of your profession. Or to improve the quality of the judiciary. Or maybe to further your own judicial ambitions (a great many sitting judges served on JECs at some point along the way). Maybe even for all of these reasons.

Did I mention that this seminar is free?

You may not wish to serve on the CBA JEC. But every Alliance bar group has its own JEC, too. This seminar would be of value to persons interested in, or currently serving on, any JEC.

To register, click here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Moving on... and some housekeeping announcements

If you've been visiting regularly these past several days (and, if you have, thank you) you must have noticed that I think there's a significant flaw in the language of the newly-passed Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022, a flaw which jeopardizes the candidacies of those slated by the Cook County Democratic Party for the nine countywide judicial vacancies (as well as the candidacies of anyone else interested in those vacancies).

I Tweeted about it, and got this response from Maya Dukmasova of Injustice Watch:

(If you're interested, here's a link to Dukmasova's story on the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022, published this morning.)

Anyway, bottom line is that "insiders" are telling Dukmasova that the flaws in the new law will be fixed, presumably to allow the Cook County Democratic Party's nine slated candidates and any lucky alternates for whom a vacancy might open between now and March 14 to run countywide as planned.

Nobody's told me anything like that, by the way, but I will subside. Stand down. Move on.

(You know, the Illinois Democratic Party has had access to some real top-drawer legal talent over the years. Maybe now they'll consult with some of them. But, again, I've moved on. If I get wind of any amendment, I'll advise.)

Those of you reading on your phones will not have noticed this, but I have put up the Circuit Court Candidate list in the Sidebar of my main page. The list is shorter than I thought it would be, but, even though some names will drop off this list soon, the list itself will get longer, and quickly now, too, inasmuch as tomorrow is the first day candidate petitions can circulate. Here is the list so far:

I may also put up a separate list of Appellate Court candidates -- but not today.

Whilst fiddling with the Sidebar on this site, I did try and insert a widget with my Twitter feed embedded. All the cool sites have this. But, at least so far, mine has only partially succeeded. If you click on the link you will get to my Twitter feed -- but, at least on my equipment, it's not showing up in the Sidebar itself. I'll continue to work on this.

And one more thing... while I've chided the Supreme Court (in a very civil manner, I hope) about the manner in which judicial vacancies are posted on the Circuit Courts Vacancies page of the Court's website, it appears to be very much up to date, mainly because it corresponds down the line with the 2022 Judicial Vacancies report on the Illinois State Board of Elections website (.pdf document).

Before the Supreme Court updated its website last year, the ISBE vacancies page (which only appeared shortly before any given election) was the only authoritative list of vacancies around. (Unless one was one of those "insiders," of course.) For those non-insiders looking for late-breaking vacancies, the ISBE page is a vital resource.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Viviana Martínez to make 14th Subcircuit bid; campaign website launched

Viviana Martínez, a Special Assistant for Legal Affairs in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of Cook County, is running for a 14th Subcircuit vacancy in the upcoming June primary. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will be added to the Sidebar on this site when that is put up.

Licensed as an attorney since 2007, according to ARDC, Martínez's campaign bio details a number of different assignments over the course of her career, albeit not in chronological order.

The campaign also has an active Facebook page. That page touts a number of endorsements. This one, from 22nd Ward Committeeman Mike Rodriguez, is the most recent:

There are two vacancies in the 14th Subcircuit in this election cycle. This endorsement, at least, suggests that Martínez and Iris Y. Chavira are running together, or at least cooperatively.

This campaign represents Martínez's first attempt to obtain judicial office.

Iris Y. Chavira seeks 14th Subcircuit vacancy, launches campaign website

Iris Y. Chavira, a Division Chief and Senior Administrative Law Judge for the City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, has announced her intention to seek one of the two available 14th Subcircuit vacancies in the 2022 Democratic Primary. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will be added to the site Sidebar when that is set up.

Chavira's campaign biography notes that she worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago Department of Law before joining the Department Administrative Hearings, rising to supervisor of the Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division.

Before that, according to the campaign bio, Chavira was an Associate General Counsel with the Office of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, managing "a portfolio of nine state agencies, focusing on public safety and education," managing "the Governor’s executive clemency process, assisting with the granting of thousands of clemency petitions, including the Governor’s first-ever pardon based on innocence."

Chavira began her legal career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, handling both civil and criminal matters.

According to her campaign bio, Chavira serves on the Board of Advisors and Southwest Regional Advisory Board for Catholic Charities of Illinois, is a member of DePaul University College of Law Alumni Engagement Board, a is member of the Women’s Leadership Committee for the Latino Leadership Council. She has been an active member of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, having served on the Executive Board and Board of Directors for over five years.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2008, according to ARDC, this is Chavira's first attempt to obtain judicial office.

HB3138 is now law -- what will that mean for Cook County judicial hopefuls?

Let's start with what we know for sure:

The new subcircuit maps are now law: On Friday, January 7, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB3138 into law. It is now P.A. 102-0693.

Because the bill has been signed into law, we also know that §2f(d-5) has now been added to the Circuit Courts Act. This provision states:

All vacancies in circuit judgeships in the Circuit of Cook County, which are not allotted to Judicial Subcircuits 1 through 15 pursuant to subsection (c) of this Section, existing on or occurring on or after June 1, 2022 shall be allotted in numerical order to Judicial Subcircuits 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 until there are 11 resident judges to be elected from each of the those subcircuits (for a total of 55).

Let's move into what we think we know:

There are currently nine countywide judicial vacancies in Cook County. There may already be more, but that's what we know about now for sure.

Under the law as it existed prior to the enactment of P.A. 102-0693, these vacancies would have been filled in the forthcoming November election. The persons elected in November would take office on December 5, 2022.

Under the law as it existed prior to the enactment of P.A. 102-0693, any countywide judicial vacancies created (whether by death, retirement, or removal from office) on or before March 14, 2022 would also have been filled in the forthcoming November election. Filing for vacancies occurring on or before February 20 would have taken place between March 7 and 14; filing for vacancies occurring between February 21 and March 14 would have taken place between March 28 and April 4.

The Cook County Democratic Party slated nine persons for countywide vacancies this past December; it also anointed 11 hopefuls as alternates, ready-made, pre-slated candidates for any countywide vacancies that open up between now and March 14.

But the thing about vacancies existing now is that they will still be vacancies on June 1, 2022.

So will these vacancies, the ones that exist now, and any that come into existence between now and March 14, be filled by the 2022 election... or will they be divided up among the new subcircuits for the 2024 election? (Under P.A. 102-0693 no one will be elected from any of the new Cook County Judicial Subcircuits until 2024.)

I don't think for one millisecond that the drafters of the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022 meant or intended to dump the nine persons that the Cook County Democratic Party had slated or to deny any of the 11 named alternates from seeking any later-opening countywide vacancy that might have opened up.

However, given the plain language of §2f(d-5) of the Circuit Courts Act as amended by the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022, it would appear that this is exactly what happened.

Obviously, I must be wrong about this? Right?

It doesn't bear directly on the question posed above, but there have apparently been alarm bells sounded in official quarters about the unintended consequences of the hastily drawn up Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022. I produce herewith a screenshot from a Tweet from MarkMaxwellTV (and a link to the original Tweet that you will probably want to click on) in support of this contention:

I retweeted the above this morning, along with a plea for a peek at the memo referred to in Maxwell's story.

I won't hold my breath waiting to see it. I understand my position here. I'm not a political insider (obviously). I'm not seen as a professional journalist. I'm not even an election lawyer. I'm just an observer -- and a nobody nobody sent.

I certainly claim no particular inside information.

After reading my articles last week about HB3138 a retired Cook County judge wrote me to advise that I had miscounted the number of pre-1992 judges (elected City-only or Suburbs-only) still serving in Cook County. I'd said there were two; the judge pointed out three and, of course, the judge was correct. I checked.

In my defense, I've been following along on an ancient, badly faded photocopy of an order, purportedly signed by then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Benjamin K. Miller, setting out the order (determined by lot) in which subcircuit vacancies would be filled. It has been accurate since at least 2010 when (in order) "A" vacancies were filled in Subcircuits 9, 3, 14 and 1. Next up on the lottery list were Subcircuits 13, 8, and 4 -- and these had "A" vacancies assigned for the 2012 election. Next on the list were Subcircuits 10 and 11; these had "A" vacancies in 2014. In 2016, "A" vacancies were filled in Subcircuits 6 and 12, just as the list predicted. That left three vacancies for Subcircuits 2, 7, and 15, respectively. No "A" vacancies were added in 2018, but Judge Alexander White's 2018 retirement led to the filling of an "A" vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit in the 2020 election. That left two (7 and 15) on my list.

Which is the source of my apparent error. Or did someone skip a line once some time ago that hasn't yet been rectified?

I'll probably never know.

The point is, on this beat, I'm as useful and as accurate as the information I can scrounge. And, maybe, and perhaps even understandably, as the guy peering through the knothole in the fence, sometimes I miss stuff.

But this is what I'm seeing so far: Through an accident of drafting, Cook County's existing countywide judicial vacancies appear not likely to be filled in the 2022 election. Maybe this will be fixed. Maybe I've got it wrong. If someone explains why I'm wrong to me, I'll try and explain it to you, too.

Friday, January 07, 2022

I'm not sure they thought this one all the way through: Looking more at how the 20 new subcircuits will be set up

The Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022 is 389 pages long... but most of of it---nearly all of it, really---consists of written descriptions of the many and various subcircuits set up in Cook County and in several other parts of the state.

So the 'meat' of the legislation, the part that isn't just a dense jumble of county, ward, township, precinct, tract, or block names or numbers (which is meant to be a written depiction of what is shown on the maps), doesn't begin until p. 354 of the statute, starting with §50. That's where all the terms and abbreviations are explained. Section 50(h) provides a means of figuring out what to do if the written descriptions of one subcircuit overlap the boundaries of another.

Section 52 of the Act amends §2A-1.1b of the Election Code (one of the recently enacted provisions setting up special rules for the forthcoming 2022 primary and general elections) but the changes made therein are of interest to those in Lake County and in far Downstate Madison and Bond Counties.

The stuff that's of primary interest to Cook County judicial wannabes, aspiring kingmakers (judgemakers?), and (dare I suggest?) voters, begins with §60 (at p. 362 if you're following along on a separate screen). This section amends several provisions of the Circuit Courts Act (705 ILCS 35/1 et seq.).

On initial reading, the amendments to §2 of the Circuit Courts Act might not seem to have any impact on Cook County. This is the provision that states that Cook County gets to elect 94 circuit judges. That has meant that the County of Cook gets 94 countywide judicial slots. But this changes dramatically as we work through the rest of the Act.

Section 2f of the Circuit Courts Act is amended by §60 of the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022 to increase the number of Cook County subcircuits from 15 to 20, effective December 2, 2024. Meaning for certain sure that the forthcoming 2022 primary will be conducted under the old subcircuit map. In case you were worried. And there's a provision promising that we'll all do this again in 10 years. At least, that's the current plan.

Section 2f(b) refers to the 165 existing subcircuit judgeships created by the original subcircuit act. Actually, we never quite finished populating the original subcircuits; there are two sitting judges elected under the old (pre-1992) system whose vacancies, whenever they may occur, will be alloted to the 7th and 15th Subcircuits, respectively. The lottery procedure, by which the order of the allocation of subcircuit vacancies was determined, as new vacancies were created, was set out at §§2f(c)-(d) of the Circuit Courts Act. That procedure remains in place, under the new Act, until December 2, 2024.

Provision is made for the population of judgeships in the newly created Subcircuits 16-20 by adding §2f(d-5) to the Circuit Courts Act. This provision states:

All vacancies in circuit judgeships in the Circuit of Cook County, which are not allotted to Judicial Subcircuits 1 through 15 pursuant to subsection (c) of this Section [the vacancies that won't exist until the two remaining pre-1992 judges leave office], existing on or occurring on or after June 1, 2022 shall be allotted in numerical order to Judicial Subcircuits 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 until there are 11 resident judges to be elected from each of the those subcircuits (for a total of 55).

I'm not sure this is what the drafters intended, but I am sure this is what the statute says: There will be no more countywide Cook County judicial vacancies, effective June 1, 2022, until each of the new subcircuits is brought up to a full complement of 11 judges each. Existing subcircuit judges can serve out as long as they are retained, but when a subcircuit judge leaves the bench his or her vacancy will be a vacancy in that subcircuit... which under the new map may be in an entirely different part of the county.

At the moment, we have nine countywide vacancies to be filled in the 2022. I think we may safely assume that the drafters of the statute meant or assumed that these vacancies would be filled under the current system.

But each of those vacancies will, obviously, be "existing on... June 1, 2022." They exist now. They would not cease existing, in the ordinary course, until the first Monday in December of this year, when new judges are sworn in. But... look at what the statute says: The candidates recently slated for these vacancies by the Cook County Democratic Party may be in for a tremendous shock.

But even if we assume that these nine candidates will be permitted to run for the vacancies they were slated for, there will surely be no more countywide vacancies to fill for many years to come. We have nine countywide vacancies now; historically, that's about average. Sometimes we have more -- a dozen maybe. But it will take a while to get to 55.

And the remaining countywide vacancies, when they can be filled again, a decade or more hence, will be just about as rare as Appellate Court seats.

And if the slated nine candidates are able to run for the vacancies for which they've been slated, it will nevertheless be bad luck for the judicial hopefuls that were willing to wait in line for a vacancy -- because there aren't going to be any for a long, long while.

The Cook County Democratic Party has long gotten a great deal of money from persons hoping to be slated for a judgeship. There's the assessment, of course -- $40,000 or so -- but there's also all the event tickets and donations that hopefuls make in the hopes that they (and their legal skills of course) will be noticed by the powers that be. With this new statute, that income stream dries up, and will stay dry for a long time to come.

Look, I'm no election lawyer. This article is not giving legal advice to anyone. But I will venture this prediction: We are either heading for a lawsuit or a face-saving technical corrections statute on this new statute very soon. Maybe an amendatory veto. But I think there's a drafting problem here. I really do.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Continuing: The "evolution" of HB3138 -- or -- Subcircuit redistricting in an instant

In our last installment, we introduced you to HB3138, the bill that, last night, became a 389-page judicial redistricting bill.

As introduced, of course, the bill had nothing to do with judicial redistricting, in Cook County or anywhere else. But HB3138 had other virtues that recommended it highly to those looking to quickly enact a map, to wit, it had passed the House and was on the cusp of passing the Senate, too, prior to yesterday.

The almost leisurely pace of this bill, through the House and into the Senate, is reflected in the legislative history of the bill displayed on the General Assembly's website (click to enlarge or clarify):

As originally introduced, this bill was the model of bipartisanship; it passed the House 113-0.

It arrived in the Senate on April 23, 2001 and received its First Reading on April 28.

Then something happened. As HB3138 made its way through the Senate Committee structure, Senate President Don Harmon filed an amendment to the bill. This is the text of Senate Amendment 1 to HB3138, filed May 26, 2001:


2    AMENDMENT NO. ___. Amend House Bill 3138 by replacing
3   everything after the enacting clause with the following:

4   "Section 5. The Supreme Court Act is amended by changing
5  Section 7 as follows:

6    (705 ILCS 5/7) (from Ch. 37, par. 12)
7    Sec. 7. The The supreme court shall be vested with all
8   power and authority necessary to carry into complete execution
9   all its judgments and determinations in all matters within its
10   jurisdiction, according to the rules and principles of the
11   common law and of the laws of this State.
12   (Source: P.A. 81-275.)"

Before this amendment, the statute was dull and lifeless. But then comes the amendment! As rewritten, the soaring language of that deathless prose sends little shivers up your spine, doesn't it?

Now I suppose, if any seasoned legislator or legislative staffer were to actually read this post, he or she might tell me to chill out. The experienced person might assure me that things like this have been done in Springpatch since before Abraham Lincoln jumped out of a window to try and avoid a quorum call.

And Abraham Lincoln did jump out a window once, for that very purpose. I looked it up. (See, David Herbert Donald's Lincoln, p. 77, Simon & Shuster, 1995.) And, as a lawyer, and therefore a sucker for precedent, I might be inclined to believe that the stockpiling of almost-passed bills has been in the General Assembly's toolbox since Vandalia was the state capital.

But -- even if that were true -- not the part about Lincoln -- that is true -- the part about almost-passed bills -- I really doubt that giant 389-page bills could have been swapped out for a single paragraph before the advent of modern word processing software.

But let us continue. After this thrilling amendment was introduced, it was quickly approved by committee and the bill, as now amended, received its Second Reading, and placed on the calendar for its Third (and final) Reading. And then it was placed on hold. On ice. In stasis.

Until it was needed. Here is the rest of the legislative history, taken from the GA website (click to enlarge or clarify):

Golly. Things sure happen fast when some folks make up their minds.

Now I know that I'm veering off topic here for a moment, but I'm afraid some readers might worry: What happened to the non-controversial, unanimously-passed amendment to §11 of the Supreme Court Act?

Well, it became law, right enough, this past July.

It seems that an identical piece of legislation was filed in the Senate as SB337. SB337 passed the Senate unanimously, too, and around the same time that HB3138 was adopted by the House. SB337 and HB3138 might have even passed by each other as they journeyed across the Capitol. Ultimately, it was the Senate version that passed the House on May 19, 2021 (becoming P.A. 102-94) and leaving HB3138 available to be hollowed out and put in storage until it was needed last night.

Which brings us to the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022 itself.

A number of rumors are already swirling about the unintended consequences of this enactment -- for example, one rumor has it that this new law will hit the Cook County Democratic Party squarely in the pocketbook.

But -- unlike the stellar graduates of the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course who must predominate in the Legislature -- it will take me a little time to work through this lengthy bill. Bear with me a little while.

To be continued....

They put down the crayons alright: Cook County got a new subcircuit map last night

For the record, the new Cook County map, the one that got posted on the House Redistricting website just this past Monday, got joined by a few friends sometime yesterday afternoon or evening. Here's a screenshot:

All those links are active as of this morning.

But there still needed to be a vehicle, a vessel into which this carefully brewed cartographic data might be poured.

HB3138 was chosen for this task.

Until yesterday afternoon or evening (I'm not privy to the exact time), this was the text of HB3138:

1    AN ACT concerning courts.

2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3  represented in the General Assembly:

4    Section 5. The Supreme Court Act is amended by changing
5  Section 11 as follows:

6     (705 ILCS 5/11) (from Ch. 37, par. 16)
7    Sec. 11. Marshals.
8    (a) The office of marshal for the Supreme Court is hereby
9   created, such marshals to be selected by the Supreme Court,
10  and the duties of such marshals shall be to attend upon its
11  sittings and to perform such other duties, under the order and
12  direction of the said court, as are usually performed by
13  sheriffs of courts. The salary of such marshals shall be fixed
14  by the judges of the Supreme Court, such salary to be payable
15  from the State treasury, upon bills of particulars, signed by
16  any one of the judges of the Supreme Court.
17    (b) Marshals are peace officers and have all the powers
18  possessed by police officers in cities and by sheriffs.
19  Marshals may exercise these powers throughout the State. No
20  marshal has peace officer status or may exercise police powers
21  unless: (i) he or she successfully completes the basic police
22  training course mandated and approved by the Illinois Law
23  Enforcement Training Standards Board; or (ii) the Illinois Law

    HB3138 Engrossed - 2 - LRB102 10630 LNS 15959 b

1  Enforcement Training Standards Board waives the training
2  requirement by reason of the marshal's prior law enforcement
3  experience or training or both.
4    (c) The office of marshal for the Supreme Court may also
5  employ court security officers to be responsible for
6  maintaining the security of any courthouse or courtroom
7  occupied by the Supreme or Appellate Court of this State. A
8  court security officer has the authority to arrest in the same
9  manner as authorized by similarly certified officers of a
10  county sheriff. However, the arrest powers of the court
11  security officer are limited to the performance of the
12  official duties of the court security officer. A court
13  security officer who is trained and qualified as permitted by
14  law may carry a weapon at his or her place of employment and to
15  and from his or her place of employment. No court security
16  officer authorized under this Section may exercise arrest
17  powers or carry a firearm unless: (i) he or she successfully
18  completes the basic court security officer training course
19  mandated and approved by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training
20  Standards Board; or (ii) the Illinois Law Enforcement Training
21  Standards Board waives the training requirement by reason of
22  the individual's prior experience or training or both.
23  (Source: P.A. 100-151, eff. 8-18-17.)

24    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
25  becoming law.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with judicial redistricting... in Cook County (or anywhere else)?

Absolutely nothing.

But... yesterday... things changed.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Ocasio appointed Acting Presiding Judge of the 4th Municipal District

Statement issued yesterday by the Office of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans:

The Hon. Ramon Ocasio has been named acting presiding judge of the Fourth Municipal District in Maywood, said Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Judge Ocasio to this new position of responsibility in our Fourth Municipal District, and I know he will strive for excellence, as he has done throughout his judicial career,” Judge Evans said.

Judge Ocasio was first elected in 2006, and has served in the Maywood branch for most of his judicial career. Currently a felony court judge, he has previously served in Central Bond Court (now the Pretrial Division) and in the First Municipal District.

A lifelong Chicago resident, Judge Ocasio received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. Before coming to the bench, he was a Cook County public defender and ran the Illinois attorney general’s regional consumer fraud office in Chicago. He also has served as president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and has served as the first president of the Illinois Latino Judges Association.

“I look forward to working with Chief Judge Evans to achieve our mutual goals of diversity, equity and justice in our courts and to understand and confront disparate outcomes,” Judge Ocasio said.

The appointment follows the announced retirement of the Hon. Cheryl D. Ingram, who had been the presiding judge of the Fourth Municipal District since 2010. She began her judicial career in 1992.

Judge Ingram's retirement, in turn, opens up that ninth countywide vacancy that the Cook County Democratic Party has already slated.

Judge Ingram was a recipient of the CBA's Dickerson Award in 2020.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

A new draft of the 20-subcircuit map has been posted on the Ilinois Redistricting website

That's the Redistricting page of the Illinois House Dems website. Lest there be any confusion.

The link to the latest map can be found by clicking here. But here is a screenshot of the new map for general illustrative purposes:

At some point someone is going to have to put down the crayons and markers and actually draw up enabling legislation. I have not been informed of any proposed legislation at this time.

And, remember, new subcircuits are going to have to be drawn in several collar counties, too.

So stay tuned.

Stephen A. Swedlow to make 8th Subcircuit bid

Stephen A. Swedlow is planning to run for judge in the 8th Subcircuit, and he's already kicked in a half million dollars into his campaign warchest in a bid to overwhelm potential competition. (His Notification of Self-Funding was filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections on December 22. That disclosed that he had put $400,000 into his campaign. Another hundred thousand went in the following day, according to the ISBE website.)

The Co-Managing Partner of the Chicago office of Quinn Emmanuel Trial Lawyers, Swedlow made national news in August 2020 when, on behalf of his firm, he asked for an attorney fee award of $185 million "for representing a group of health insurers who will be paid about $3.7 billion from the U.S. government, reimbursing them for never-made payments promised under Obamacare." (While the fee request was almost entirely approved by Judge Kathryn C. Davis of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on September 16, 2021, it is being challenged on appeal.)

Swedlow's campaign chair and treasurer is fellow Quinn Emmanuel partner Andrew H. Schapiro, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Licensed in Illinois since 1996, according to ARDC, Swedlow has not previously run for judge. He did, however, apply for associate judge in 2021.

Swedlow's campaign website, linked in the first sentence of this post, is still under construction as this is published. However, his firm biography notes that Swedlow "currently serves as court appointed lead counsel in multidistrict class action litigation against Facebook on behalf of all Facebook users for antitrust and privacy misrepresentations. He also serves as lead counsel in class actions against Amazon for privacy violations on behalf of children unlawfully recorded by Alexa." According to the firm biography Swedlow has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in over 100 class action cases in state and federal court across the country in technology, privacy, environmental and consumer protection cases. He has also served as a lecturer at Northwestern School of Law.