Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Over 40 hopefuls present credentials at Cook County Democratic Party's judicial Pre-Slating meeting

Catching up, slowly but surely, on stories that accumulated during my recent vacation....

The Cook County Democratic Party has confirmed the identities of persons who appeared before the Party's Pre-Slating meeting on June 15 and 16.

Two prospective candidates have expressed interest in Party slating for the Burke vacancy on the Illinois Supreme Court. These are Justice Joy V. Cunningham, who now holds the seat pursuant to appointment by the Illinois Supreme Court, and Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes.

Reyes was a candidate for the Supreme Court in 2020; Cunningham ran in 2012. Neither was slated by the Cook County Democratic Party in their previous Supreme Court campaigns.

Experience suggests that there will likely be more than two candidates for this vacancy in the March 2024 Democratic primary.

A total of seven candidates presented their credentials for the three known vacancies on the First District Appellate Court. All currently serve in the judiciary. Three, Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Mary L. Mikva, and Carl Anthony Walker, are Circuit Court judges sitting on the Appellate Court pursuant to Supreme Court assignment. But the assignments of Justices Cobbs and Mikva have been given termination dates -- December 2, 2024 -- meaning that, unless they run for, and win, election to the Appellate Court, they will return to the Circuit Court.

The other four prospective candidates seeking slating for the Appellate Court are all Circuit Court judges currently in leadership positions. In alphabetical order, these are Mary C. Marubio, the Acting Presiding Judge of the Pretrial Division of the Criminal Court; Leonard Murray, the Acting Suprevising Judge of the Housing Section in the 1st Municipal District; Ramon Ocasio III, the Acting Presiding Judge of the 4th Municipal District; and Rena Marie Van Tine, the Acting Presiding Judge of the County Division.

By FWIW's unofficial count, there are currently 10 countywide Circuit Court seats up for election in 2024. If there are not already more 10 vacancies, there will be.

Eight of those 10 vacancies have been temporarily filled by Supreme Court assignment. Unsurprisingly, all eight appeared at the Pre-Slating meeting in hopes of getting elected to those positions. The eight currently appointed judges are, in alphabetical order, Neil H. Cohen, Arlene Y. Coleman-Romero, Debjani D. Desai, Deidre M. Dyer, Corinne Cantwell Heggie, Sarah Rodak Johnson, Chloé G. Pedersen, and Edward J. Underhill.

As some past aspirants have learned to their sorrow, of course, getting appointed by the Supreme Court does not necessarily translate into slating by the Cook County Democratic Party. But it often works out that way; each of these eight judges hope to be among those who do get the nod.

Standing in their way, however, in addition to the 80 ward and township committeepersons who are charged with making the slate, are a host of other aspirants who made their claims to be slated at the Pre-Slating meeting. In alphabetical order, the candidates presenting their credentials for countywide vacancies are as follows:
  1. Loveleen K. Ahuja, a Cook County Assistant Public Defender,
  2. David Badillo, an attorney with the Illinois Commerce Commission,
  3. Deidre Baumann, of Baumann & Shuldiner, and a candidate for countywide vacancies in 2010, 2012, 2016, 2020, and 2022,
  4. Andrea V. Belard, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services,
  5. Daniel Calandriello, a solo practitioner from Palos Hills, a former Orland Park trustee, and the Democratic Party's nominee for the 17th Dist. seat on the Cook County Board in 2022 (he lost to incumbent Sean Morrison),
  6. Jennifer Callahan, an AJ finalist earlier this year, a countywide candidate in 2020, and the Cook County Democratic Party's third alternate choice in 2022 for a countywide vacancy that never opened up,
  7. Neil H. Cohen, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Mitchell vacancy,
  8. Arlene Y. Coleman-Romero, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Maras vacancy,
  9. Audrey Cosgrove, Deputy Counsel to the Illinois Lottery and an AJ finalist earlier this year,
  10. Pablo deCastro, a Loop solo practitioner and also an AJ finalist earlier this year,
  11. Debjani D. Desai, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Propes vacancy, an AJ finalist earlier this year, and the Democratic Party's 9th slated alternate in 2022,
  12. Elizabeth C. Dibler, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney,
  13. Deidre M. Dyer, curreint serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Hubbard vacancy,
  14. Joanne Fehn, an Illinois Assistant Attorney General, a countywide candidate in 2010, and the Democratic Party's 10th slated alternate in 2022,
  15. Koula Founier, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney who has also recently expressed interest in a 4th Subcircuit vacancy,
  16. Ava George Stewart, an Assistant Lake County State's Attorney
  17. Corinne Cantwell Heggie, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Gaughan vacancy and an AJ finalist earlier this year,
  18. Natalie Howse, Regional Counsel with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and a former President of the Cook County Bar Association,
  19. Sarah Rodak Johnson, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Haberkorn vacancy and an AJ finalist earlier this year,
  20. Paul Joyce, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney and a countywide candidate in 2022,
  21. Laura Zamudio Lopez, a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney,
  22. Kristen Marie Lyons, a Loop solo practitioner and a candidate for a 7th Subcircuit vacancy in 2020,
  23. Mischelle Y. Luckett, who practices with the Luckett Law Group on Chicago's South Side,
  24. Steve McKenzie, an Assistant Chicago Corporation Counsel and the Democratic Party's 7th slate alternate in 2022,
  25. Jennifer Moriarty, an attorney with the Law Offices of Ronald R. Aeschliman,
  26. James Murphy Aguilu, who was just appointed to a 10th Subcircuit vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court and the Democratic Party's 6th slated alternate in 2022,
  27. Antara Nath Rivera, an Arbitrator with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission,
  28. Ginger Odom, an attorney with the Office of the State Appellate Defender,
  29. Chloé G. Pedersen, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide Walker vacancy,
  30. Ashonta Rice, a 15th Subcircuit candidate in 2018, and the Democratic Party's 10th slated alternate in 2020 and its 4th slated alternate in 2022,
  31. Yolanda Sayre, slated by the Democratic Party for a countywide vacancy in 2022 after being the Party's 5th slated alternate in 2020, and
  32. Edward J. Underhill, currently serving by Supreme Court appointment in the countywide Murphy vacancy.
Democratic Party sources confirmed that Peter McNamara, an attorney with the Chicago Transit Authority, registered for the Pre-Slating meeting, but did not attend.

The Pre-Slating meeting gives the Democratic Party committeepersons some idea as to what candidates may be considering judicial runs. There are surely others who are considering countywide bids. Some of these may appear for slating in August; some will bypass the process entirely.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Mary Sevandal Cohen to make 13th Subcircuit judicial bid

A campaign website has been launched in support of Mary Sevandal Cohen's recently announced 13th Subcircuit judicial bid. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link will be added to the Candidate List in this site's Sidebar when that is set up. Sevandal Cohen also has campaign pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Licensed in Illinois since 2005, according to ARDC, Sevandal Cohen currently serves as in-house counsel for Pace, the suburban bus division of the RTA, handling civil litigation in Cook and surrounding counties, and representing Pace before various administrative agencies. Her campaign bio notes that Sevandal Cohen worked as a DeKalb County Assistant State's Attorney before joining Pace.

Sevandal Cohen's campaign bio also notes her extensive volunteer work with several charitable organizations and bar associations. A graduate of St. Ignatius High School, Sevandal Cohen did her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois and took her law degree from the University of Iowa. She has studied both Spanish and Arabic.

Sevandal Cohen resides in Barrington with her husband and three sons. She applied for associate judge in 2022.

Friday, June 23, 2023

James Murphy-Aguilu appointed to 10th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court today appointed James Murphy-Aguilu, currently Chief of Staff for the Circuit Court of Cook County, to a 10th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gregory J. Wojkowski. The appointment, which is effective July 7 and terminates on December 2, 2024, was made by the Court on the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham.

The Supreme Court's press release concerning the appointment is here.

Murphy-Aguilu has been with the Clerk's Office since January 2021, when he became Inspector General. He was named Chief of Staff in December 2022.

Licensed in Illinois since 2006, according to ARDC, Murphy-Aguilu began his legal career as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney, serving in that office for seven years before becoming an assistant professor at Ashford University from 2012 to 2014 before setting up in private practice in Chicago, first as O'Brien & Murphy-Aguilu, then as Murphy-Aguilu Law. He became a supervising investigator with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability from 2017 to 2020, becoming COPA's Deputy Chief Administrator for a time before moving to the Clerk's Office.

Murphy-Aguilu sought slating from the Democratic Pary in 2021 for a countywide vacancy. He was not slated, and did not run.

Accused of making racist comments, Judge Hooks recuses himself from domestic battery case

Most FWIW readers know more about the particulars of this story, or at least think they do, than I do. What I know I've learned from media accounts -- which, all too often, botch the simplest facts or, perhaps just as bad, fail to ask the most obvious questions.

Just one example. Experienced criminal practitioners probably knew the answer to this, but I hardly ever set foot in a criminal courtroom, so I had no clue: The alleged racist remarks came at a pretrial conference in January. The motion for substitution of judge was apparently quite recent. Was the motion timely?

I can infer, from the reference to affidavits in the media accounts, that the motion was brought under §114-5(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 725 ILCS 5/114-5(d), as opposed to §114-5(a), 725 ILCS 5/114-5(a), which requires a motion for substitution of judge to be brought "[w]ithin 10 days after a cause involving only one defendant has been placed on the trial call of a judge." In contrast, §114-5(d) allows the motion to be filed, for cause, with at least one supporting affidavit, at any time. Maybe the pretrial conference was set, and would typically be scheduled, after the 10-day deadline had passed. Experienced prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys would know the answer to this question without batting an eye. I would not. But it's still curious that it would take from January to June to put such a motion on file. If a judge made racist assertions, or not-so-very-veiled threats, about me or my client, or both, as is apparently the original allegation here, I would expect most attorneys would want to memorialize the misbehavior as soon as possible.

But what do I know?

What I do know -- and find interesting -- is the roundabout means by which I came upon the latest development in this story: The ISBA E-Clips in my email this morning led off with this story, citing to an account published in the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus. But this was not a dispatch filed from exotic Cook County by a Rock Island Dispatch-Argus reporter; rather, it was an apparent reprint of a story by Madeline Buckley, that first appeared in the Chicago Tribune. The Downstate paper apparently had a paywall that could be more easily breached, at least for a single story. And new, original content is so rare it must be shared. Such is media in the 21st Century.

I also know that recusal will prevent an immediate hearing on the merits of the motion.

Section 114-5(d) provides that, once a for-cause SOJ motion is filed, a hearing shall be conducted as soon as possible after its filing by a judge not named in the motion; provided, however, that the judge named in the motion need not testify, but may submit an affidavit if the judge wishes. If the motion is allowed, the case shall be assigned to a judge not named in the motion. If the motion is denied the case shall be assigned back to the judge named in the motion."

Counsel bringing the motion is reportedly upset that the recusal will derail that hearing -- but, under the statute, if the motion were denied, the case would have been returned to Judge Hooks. Which would have been awkward for all concerned.

I don't know, but I suspect, that this will not be the end of this story. Given the serious nature of the allegations, and counter-allegations, and allegations about the response to the allegations, there may well be inquiries opened by both ARDC and JIB. We won't hear about these unless public charges are brought. Which may never happen. But it seems likely that inquiries will continue.

Ray J. Koenig to be sworn in as 2023-24 CBA President at sold-out Annual Meeting

The Chicago Bar Association will welcome Ray J. Koenig III as its new President at its June 29 Annual Meeting at the Union League Club, a gathering which, according to this page of the CBA website, is now sold out.

From the CBA's press release about the event:
The meeting will highlight the past year's successes, welcome a new group of officers, and look ahead to the year-long commemoration of the CBA’s 150th Anniversary. Outgoing President Timothy S. Tomasik will pass the gavel of leadership to the CBA’s first openly gay president, Ray J. Koenig III.

Koenig’s focus for the upcoming bar year will be inclusion. “I think the legal profession has made—and continues to make—strong efforts to create a diverse workforce. Hiring folks from diverse backgrounds is only the first step on the way toward equity and true success. The second step is inclusion,” said Koenig. “Inclusion ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities and is treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their background or individual differences. It is essential for creating a just and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Ray J. Koenig III is a member of Clark Hill’s Litigation and Tax & Estate Planning groups and has decades of experience involving trusts, probate, guardianships, and related fiduciary issues. He is the Managing Member of Clark Hill’s Chicago office, Co-Leader of the firm’s Global Litigation Practice, Co-Chair of the firm’s PRIDE Committee, and an elected member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He serves as a Commissioner for the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and a Trustee for the Illinois State Employee Retirement Systems. He is a member of the Board of Directors at the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the Pride Action Tank Advisory Council and was the immediate past Chair of the Board at Chicago House and Social Service Agency.

Koenig will be joined by a new slate of CBA Officers, including First Vice President John Sciaccotta, Partner, Aronberg Goldgehn; Second Vice President Kathryn Carso Liss, Executive Director, Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center, DePaul University College of Law; Secretary Trisha Rich, Partner, Holland & Knight and Treasurer Nina Fain, Trust Counsel, JSS Family Trusts.

New members of the 2022-2023 Board of Managers will also be introduced at the meeting. Members include Hon. Louis G. Apostol, Tracy Brammeier, Margaret Mendenhall Casey, Naderh Elrabadi, Anthony F. Fata, Josie Gough, Cynthia S. Grandfield, Brian Haussmann, Hon. Margaret Stanton-McBride, Peter McNamara, John Mitchell Jeffrey Moskowitz, Hon. Mary Rowland, Eirene N. Salvi, Brendon Stark, Kevin Thompson, Hon. Allen P. Walker, and Matthew P. Walsh II.

The event will feature opening remarks from Timothy Tomasik, recognition for outgoing officers and board members, reports from the CBA Treasurer and Election Committee, introductions of new officers and board members, and closing remarks from Ray J. Koenig III.
Persons wishing to be added to the event wait list should contact Michele Spondarek at mspodarek@chicagobar.org.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Advocates celebrate Polish Heritage Night with the White Sox Tuesday

Limited vacation coverage continues on FWIW....

If you don't want to do another installation dinner (see item below), the Advocates Society is participating in the White Sox Polish Heritage Night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Here's the flyer for that one:
More information available at the Advocates events page.

My beloved, but very inconsistent, White Sox need all the support they can get.

Alliance of Illinois Judges Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers set for Tuesday

I have been on vacation with the whole family this week... but I did have time this morning, wending my way back to home and hearth, to post an item or two. Here's one:
This link will take you to the page of the AIJ web site where tickets may be purchased. Sorry for the limited coverage... regular programming will resume here shortly.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Former judge faces shocking ARDC charges

There was a challenge waiting for me in the comment queue this morning: "No Pat Martin post?"

I saw the WBBM Radio article about the charges against former Judge Patricia Manila Martin last night on Twitter, dutifully retweeting same.
This morning, before signing on to FWIW, I read with increasing dismay the Sun-Times article, by Tom Schuba and Matthew Hendrickson, "Ex-Cook County judge, accused of stealing decorated Tuskegee Airman’s life savings, is ordered to pay $1.2 million" (the photograph above is taken from the Sun-Times story).

I have since read the ARDC Complaint.

The person whose estate Judge Martin is alleged of looting, Oscar Lawton Wilkerson, Jr., referred to as OLW in the ARDC Complaint, was the last known surving Chicago-area member of the Tuskegee Airmen. He was also Martin's uncle, apparently, at least by marriage (the ARDC Complaint alleges that Martin is "the niece of OLW's former spouse").

Former Judge Martin is apparently not contesting these horrific charges. Today's Sun-Times article says Martin has been defaulted in a civil suit seeking recovery of the amounts Martin converted from Wilkerson's estate. The ARDC Complaint and the Sun-Times article about the civil suit both contend that Martin has failed to turn over records accounting for her use of Wilkerson's funds, but ¶15 of Count I of the ARDC Complaint alleges that Martin filed an Answer in the civil suit admiting "that she had wrongfully assumed control over OLW’s property, that she had no authority to use OLW’s funds for any purpose other than for his benefit, and that she had intentionally deprived OLW of funds to which he was entitled."

Other than adding my own astonishment at the seeming shameless brazenness of this behavior, is there anything I can contribute to meet the challenge of Anonymous in the comments this morning?

I certainly can not explain this conduct. But I can supply some additional facts that may be of interest or import at some point.

Martin was licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois in 1986. She spent a decade as an Assistant Public Defender before her election to the bench in 1996. She became Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division in 2000 and served in that capacity until her retirement at the end of 2020.

Martin was one of 18 judges on the retention ballot in 2014 that were deemed "Well Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

The CBA also rated Martin "Qualified" for retention in 2014. The Alliance bar associations were unanimous in support of Martin's retention... in 2014.

Martin had unanimous support for her retention bid in 2008, also, both from the CBA and the Alliance.

Marian Wright Edelman wrote a column in 2011, available on the Children's Defense Fund website, "Judge Patricia Martin: Family Matters." Edelman wrote about Judge Martin's Aunt Kitty, who played such a formative role in Martin's life after her mother passed. She quoted Martin, "My theory is if I had an Aunt Kitty who called me at six o’clock, every one of my children in foster care deserves an Aunt Kitty." Edelman concluded, "I am so grateful for Judge Martin’s caring leadership and work which has made such a difference in the lives of so many children. Every one of us can and must follow her good example."

That was 2011.

But, by 2020, something had obviously changed.

I'm not talking about the shocking allegations -- apparently uncontested -- now coming to light.

Rather, I'm talking about what we knew about Judge Martin in 2020.

We knew Martin was up for retention again. We knew that this person who had breezed through retention screening previously chose not to go through the process in 2020. But she had a reason: She was planning to retire.

It happens fairly often: A judge who might be up for retention chooses not to bother with the CBA or the Alliance because he or she plans to hang up the robe. Maybe they apply for retention and then change their mind. But they generally do not actually seek retention. We had a recent example of a judge who (after figuring out her pension situation) sought retention after failing to go through retention screening. In that case, the judge explained her situation.

Judge Martin explained nothing. She said she was resigning, but then she didn't. Because she did not participate in the screening process and remained on the ballot, Martin was not recommended for retention by the CBA. Every Alliance group reported that Martin told them she planned to retire, but did not. She won retention anyway. Only then did she quit... and we now know some, if not all, of the rest.

Was this refusal to commit to either retirement or bar screening a warning sign missed? Were there other behaviors or actions that colleagues or practitioners saw, or chose not to see? This was still early during COVID time, of course, and courts were not operating, or at least not operating normally. So opportunties for observation may have been limited.

None of this provides any excuse or justification for any conduct alleged in the current news cycle. But it may provide a challenge to us, to possibly prevent terrible stories like this in the future.

I know some readers will say that this is just the way that many judges are -- greedy, venal, predatory. But they're really not. Some are better than others. Some are wonderful. Some aren't very good at all. And never were. But this story seems to describe a precipitous fall from grace. That's unusual.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

CCBA Leadership Conference and Installation Gala set for June 15-17

Some bar groups have a dinner to mark the end of one bar year and the start of another. Others might have a dinner and a reception.

But, this year, the Cook County Bar Association has a kickoff party, a full day of CLE, the installation dinner, an after-dinner party, and an awards breakfast.

The CCBA Leadership Conference and Installation Gala is scheduled to run from June 15 to 17, mostly at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker.

I say "mostly" because the opening reception, on Thursday, June 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and sponsored by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will be held "offsite." To find out where, exactly, you have to sign up.

The CLE programs start at 8:00 a.m. on the 16th, ending in the mid-afternoon, giving attendees plenty of time to change into formal (black tie) attire for the Installation Gala, which starts at 5:30 p.m. The awards ceremony is scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m., with the "After-Hour Glow Up" running from 9:00 p.m. until midnight. The "Next Generation Awards Breakfast" will follow on Saturday, June 17, from 10:00 a.m. until noon.

The cost to attend all of these many and varied events -- the "all-access pass" -- is $350 per person.

For those who may lack the stamina to adhere to this ambitious schedule, or who may have other obligations during the course of these events, there is a la carte pricing: Tickets for the installation gala alone are $200 each. Tickets for the Saturday awards breakfast only are $75 apiece. Tickets for the CLE package alone are $100 each; individual sessions are priced at $25 each. All these options and more (you realize we haven't even mentioned sponsorships yet) are avaiable at this link.

And what are the individual CLE presentations, you ask?
  • 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. -- Wrongful Convictions: Ethics, Equity and Community Impact
  • 9:00 - 10:05 a.m. -- A Watershed Movement: Environmental Justice in 2023 and Beyond
  • 10:10 - 11:10 a.m. -- Vehicle Searches in Illinois 2023
  • 12:10 - 1:10 p.m. -- Advocacy Starts With Us: Prioritizing Mental Health and Well-Being in the Legal Profession
  • 1:15 - 2:15 p.m. -- Trending Issues in Employment Law
Friday's Installation Gala and Awards Ceremony will feature Laura Coates, an attorney, author, constitutional expert, CNN host and senior legal analyst; Bakari Sellers, an attorney, author, civil rights activist, and also a CNN analyst; Dartesia Pitts, an attorney, legal analyst, and CCBA Past President; and Lonita Baker, a civil rights attorney and current President of the National Bar Association. The keynote speaker at Saturday morning's Next Generation Awards Banquet will be Dominique Calhoun, the President-Elect of the NBA.

And I did promise to mention sponsorships: A table sponsorship at the Installation Gala can be had for $2,500. Table sponsorships are also available for the Next Generation Awards Breakfast for $1,000. The CCBA does have a number of rooms blocked at the Hyatt for the Gala weekend; click here to access that information.

Any questions about the Gala weekend that can't be answered on the event registration page should be directed to info@cookcountybar.org.

NSBA Judges Night set for June 14

The North Suburban Bar Association will hold its 2023 Judges Night on Wednesday, June 14, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the North Shore Country Club, 1340 Glenview Road, Glenview. Judge Megan Goldish, an NSBA Past President, will be the honoree at this event.

Registration is available at this link on the NSBA website.

Tickets are $150 each. Sponsorships are also available. The Silver Sponsorship comes with an option to buy an event ticket. For $200, sponsors can get verbal recognition at the event and a linked logo on the event registration page, but no ticket. With a ticket, the Silver Sponsorship is $325.

The Gold Sponsorship level is $500 (includes one event ticket) and the Platinum Sponsorship is $1,000 (includes two event tickets). Other sponsorship benefits are described on the registration page.

Tickets are selling out quickly; as this is posted, there are 71 spaces left.

396 (out of 400) associate judges retained statewide

The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts announced yesterday that 396 of the 400 Illinois associate judges who filed requests for reappointment to a new four-year term have been retained. That's a link to the press release in the preceding sentence.

Only one Cook County associate judge, Judge Gregory P. Vazquez, did not receive reappointment. Judge Vazquez was recently the subject of an article by Maya Dukmasova on Injustice Watch, "Videos of Cook County judge with massage parlor owner raise ethics questions." He had also been the subject of other articles on that site.

Pursuant to recently amended Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39, all Illinois associate judges wishing to remain in office must apply for new terms every four years. The terms of all Illinois associate judges end on June 30 of every fourth year subsequent to 1975. Pursuant to Rule 39(c), associate judges must receive a favorable vote from at least three-fifths of the judges of their circuit in order to be retained.

The high retention numbers this year are consistent with recent retention elections.

In 2019, for example, 386 out of 391 associate judges were retained statewide. Of the five who were not retained, only one was from Cook County. In 2015, 376 (out of a total of 384) associate judges were retained. All Cook County associate judges were retained in 2015.

What follows is a list of all Cook County associate judges whose retention has been certified by the AOIC:
  1. Carmen K. Aguilar
  2. Gregory Emmett Ahern, Jr.
  3. Maryam Ahmad
  4. Mohammad A. Ahmad
  5. Amee Alonso
  6. Marina E. Ammendola
  7. Frank John Andreou
  8. Sophia Atcherson
  9. David B. Atkins
  10. Hilda Bahena
  11. Callie Lynn Baird
  12. Patrice Ball-Reed
  13. Jerome C. Barrido
  14. Fredrick H. Bates
  15. Laura Bertucci Smith
  16. Sunil Shashikant Bhave
  17. Shauna L. Boliker
  18. Darron Edward Bowden
  19. Karen J. Bowes
  20. William Stewart Boyd
  21. Lloyd James Brooks
  22. Elizabeth M. Budzinski
  23. Joel D. Buikema
  24. Clarence L. Burch
  25. Anthony John Calabrese
  26. George L. Canellis, Jr.
  27. Matthew J. Carmody
  28. James R. Carroll
  29. Nicole Castillo
  30. Joseph Michael Cataldo
  31. Peggy Chiampas
  32. Vincenzo Chimera
  33. Jeffery G. Chrones
  34. Gerald V. Cleary
  35. Jean M. Cocozza
  36. Jennifer F. Coleman
  37. Thomas J. Condon
  38. Torrie L. Corbin
  39. Barbara Lynette Dawkins
  40. James Thomas Derico, Jr.
  41. Israel A. Desierto
  42. Geraldine A. D’Souza
  43. Melissa A. Durkin
  44. Sabra Lynne Ebersole
  45. Lauren Gottainer Edidin
  46. Carl Lauras Evans, Jr.
  47. William Nicholas Fahy
  48. John A. Fairman
  49. Brian K. Flaherty
  50. Lawrence Edward Flood
  51. Barbara Nubia Flores
  52. Athena James Frentzas
  53. Michele A. Gemskie
  54. Mohammed M. Ghouse
  55. Mitchell Benjamin Goldberg
  56. Jean M. Golden
  57. Renee G. Goldfarb
  58. Sanju Oommen Green
  59. Joel L. Greenblatt
  60. Maxwell Griffin, Jr.
  61. James E. Hanlon, Jr.
  62. David E. Haracz
  63. Patrick J. Heneghan
  64. Thomas J. Hennelly
  65. Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez
  66. Stanley L. Hill
  67. Michael James Hogan, Jr.
  68. Michael J. Hood
  69. Bridget Jane Hughes
  70. Matthew William Jannusch
  71. Lakshmi E. Jha
  72. Martha-Victoria Jimenez
  73. Moira S. Johnson
  74. Robert Wade Johnson
  75. Timothy Joseph Joyce
  76. Michael Joseph Kane
  77. Sharon Arnold Kanter
  78. Demetrios G. Kottaras
  79. Maria Kuriakos Ciesil
  80. Kevin T. Lee
  81. James B. Linn
  82. Myron F. Mackoff
  83. Alfredo Maldonado
  84. Edward J. Maloney
  85. Ellen Beth Mandeltort
  86. Marc W. Martin
  87. Patricia Mendoza
  88. Stephanie K. Miller
  89. Mary R. Minella
  90. Lisette Catherine Mojica
  91. Martin Paul Moltz
  92. Thomas A. Morrissey
  93. Scott Norris
  94. James Bryan Novy
  95. James Michael Obbish
  96. Margaret M. Ogarek
  97. Michael F. Otto
  98. Donald D. Panarese, Jr.
  99. Joseph D. Panarese
  100. Luciano Panici
  101. Michael N. Pattarozzi
  102. Linda J. Pauel
  103. Jennifer J. Payne
  104. Angela Munari Petrone
  105. Diane M. Pezanoski
  106. Michele M. Pitman
  107. Mary Anna Planey
  108. Brian R. Porter
  109. Mariano R. Reyna
  110. Jeanne Marie Reynolds
  111. Edward N. Robles
  112. Lori Rosen
  113. Geri Pinzur Rosenberg
  114. Steven Jay Rosenblum
  115. Stanley Sacks
  116. Pamela Saindon
  117. Eric Michael Sauceda
  118. Naomi H. Schuster
  119. Joseph M. Sconza
  120. Robert E. Senechalle, Jr.
  121. Rouhy J. Shalabi
  122. Terrence V. Sharkey
  123. John A. Simon
  124. Theresa Marie Smith Conyers
  125. Ankur Srivastava
  126. Patrick T. Stanton
  127. Domenica A. Stephenson
  128. Pamela J. Stratigakis
  129. Marita C. Sullivan
  130. Anthony C. Swanagan
  131. Sybil C. Thomas
  132. Daniel O. Tiernan
  133. Natosha C. Toller
  134. Daniel A. Trevino
  135. Mary S. Trew
  136. John J. Tully, Jr.
  137. Andreana Ann Turano
  138. Scott W. Tzinberg
  139. Peter J. Vilkelis
  140. Steven M. Wagner
  141. Allen Price Walker
  142. Neera Walsh
  143. Jeffrey L. Warnick
  144. John W. Wilson
  145. James A. Wright
  146. William Yu

Monday, June 05, 2023

Koula Fournier announces 4th Subcircuit bid

Koula Founier has announced plans to seek a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2024 election. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will also be included in the candidate list on the Sidebar of this site when it is set up. There is also a campaign Facebook page.

Fournier has been licensed to practice in Illinois since 2000, according to ARDC. Her campaign bio says that she has spent her entire legal career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, serving as a Sex Crimes Trial Specialist and also working in the Felony Trial, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), Juvenile Justice, and Narcotics units of that office.

A former president of the Hellenic Bar Association (2020-21), and Chairperson of the HBA Board of Directors (2021-22), Fournier has also served as Lyons Township Trustee of Schools and on the District 204 Parent Advisory Board, according to her campaign bio. A Chicago native, born of immigrant parents, Fournier is the mother of two daughters.

Fournier announced for a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in 2022 as well, but did not appear on the ballot in that election cycle.

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Who Sits Where: You Gotta Start Someplace Edition

Updated June 23, 2023
Updated June 5, 2023
Updated and bumped up June 4, 2023

I'm sure this list is incomplete, particularly with regard to subcircuit vacancies.

But it is as accurate as I can make it with the information I have collected. You gotta start someplace.

Non-lawyers (and maybe even some lawyers) may be surprised to learn that the list of judicial vacancies is not public -- not public, at least, until much, much later in the election cycle when the Illinois State Board of Elections posts an authoritative list.

When a judge decides to call it a career, said judge is supposed to submit a resignation letter to the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Chief Justice Theis could send me a copy of every letter... but I won't hold my breath waiting. The Supreme Court also requires that a retiring Cook County Circuit Court judge send copies of the resignation letter to the Director of AOIC and to Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans. It would be nice if the AOIC would send me an updated list, at least every now and then (and, if someone over there is reading, the email address is jackleyhane@yahoo.com). But that's a real long shot, too. And there's even less chance of getting word from Chief Judge Evans, sad to say.

And, in case you're wondering, I can't just FOIA a list. The judicial branch is exempt from FOIA. See, Bocock v. McGuire, 2017 IL App (3d) 150860, ¶21; see also, Nelson v. Kendall County, 2014 IL 116303, ¶29.

So I have to guess as best I can. I am eternally grateful to FWIW readers who send me reliable tips.

It's funny how the Cook County Democratic Party seems to be well informed about all possible vacancies. But... whatever.

One other final note: Some of the judges whose vacancies are listed below may still be coming into work -- but they have advised of their intent to leave, thus creating the vacancy. Admittedly -- once -- in a prior election cycle -- I mistakenly listed a vacancy in one of these lists, but the judge in question had not in fact resigned. And the judge in question was not in fact amused. And I heard about it. I was mortified; I certainly did not do it on purpose. I got incorrect information and I ran with it.

That said, all errors of omission or commission in the following list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided. This list will be updated periodically as event warrant in the coming weeks and months.

Supreme Court Vacancy

Vacancy of the Hon. Anne M. Burke -- Joy V. Cunningham

Appellate Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen E. Connors -- Mary L. Mikva
Vacancy of the Hon. Joy V. Cunningham -- Cynthia Y. Cobbs
Vacancy of the Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke -- Unfilled

Countywide Circuit Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Vincent Gaughan -- Corrine Cantwell Heggie
Vacancy of the Hon. Catherine Haberkorn -- Sarah Rodak Johnson
Vacancy of the Hon. Arnette Hubbard -- Deidre M. Dyer
Vacancy of the Hon. Marcia Maras -- Arlene Y. Coleman-Romeo
Vacancy of the Hon. Raymond W. Mitchell -- Neil H. Cohen
Vacancy of the Hon. Timothy P. Murphy -- Edward J. Underhill
Vacancy of the Hon. Lorna Propes -- Debjani D. Desai
Vacancy of the Hon. William Raines -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Laura M. Sullivan -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Debra B. Walker -- Chloé G. Pedersen

Subcircuit Vacancies

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward S. Harmening -- Unfilled

4th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward J. King -- Phillip J. Fowler
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward M. Maloney -- Unfilled

5th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Casandra Lewis -- Unfilled

7th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy* -- Owens J. Shelby

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Clare E. McWilliams -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Gregory J. Wojkowski -- James S. Murphy-Aguilu

11th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Ann Finley Collins -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Paula M. Daleo -- Unfilled

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Grace G. Dickler -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Andrea M. Schleifer -- Unfilled

13th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Samuel J. Betar III -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Ketki Shroff Steffen -- Unfilled

14th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. James N. O'Hara -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Daniel J. Pierce -- Unfilled

15th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy** -- Unfilled

Vacancies in the new 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Subcircuits will come into existence as associate judges leave office. No more than 10 such vacancies will be created in any one election cycle -- a maximum of two, that is, in each of the new five subcircuits.

*  This is the vacancy assigned to the 7th Subcircuit upon the resignation of Judge Irwin J. Solganick. Or upon the resignation of Judge Michael Toomin. See, note post.
**  This is the vacancy assigned to the 15th Subcircuit upon the resignation of Judge Michael P. Toomin. Or upon the resignation of Judge Irwin J. Solganick. It works either way. And, if I ever figure out which is correct, I'll update accordingly.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Two recent AJ finalists receive Circuit Court appointments

In separate Orders entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Corinne Cantwell Heggie to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Vincent M. Gaughan and Debjani D. Desai to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lorna E. Propes.

Both Desai and Heggie were short list finalists in the most recent associate judge selection process. The Supreme Court made both of these appointments on the recommendation of Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis.

Desai's appointment is effective July 14. It will terminate on December 2, 2024.

Since 2020, Desai has served as the General Counsel for the the Illinois Office of the Comptroller.

Licensed in Illinois since 2008, according to ARDC, Desai began her career as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. She subsequently became an administrative law judge for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and, thereafter, assistant general counsel in the Litigation and Eligibility Group of the department.

Desai is President of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago’s Foundation, a SABA Advisory Council member, an Honorary Board Member of the Asian American Bar Association, and a Board Member (Director) of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. She was a 2022 Vanguard Award recipient.

Outside of her role as General Counsel, Desai has served as a Special Prosecutor in child protection cases in juvenile court. She has taught also Counseling and Negotiations at UIC Law. In 2021, Desai was the Cook County Democratic Party's 9th alternate for countywide slating. A press release announcing Desai's appointment can be found here.

Heggie's appointment is effective June and it, too, will terminate on December 2, 2024. She has practiced with her own firm, Glenview's Heggie Wochner Law Firm, since 2018. Heggie has been licensed to practice in Illinois since 2002; she is also licensed in Missouri.

Heggie started her legal career with Hinshaw & Culbertson, rising from associate to partner before leaving to join Scharf Banks Marmor in 2016. She has been Affiliate Counsel with Scharf Banks Marmor since 2019.

A former president of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois (2019-20), Heggie has also held leadership positions in the North Suburban Bar Association. Among her many community activities, Heggie serves on the Board of the Glenview Jr. Titan Football program. She is also a member of the Glenview Park District Foundation. The Supreme Court's press release announcing Heggie's appointment is available here.

Friday, June 02, 2023

Alon Stein to make 2024 judicial bid

Alon Stein has announced his intention to seek a Cook County judicial vacancy in 2024. There's no campaign website yet, but there is a campaign Facebook page.

Stein has been licensed in Illinois since 2002, according to ARDC. He practices with the Stein Law Offices in Northbrook.

In an email to FWIW confirming his candidacy, Stein noted that he has been a litigator for over 21 years, trying cases in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Arizona. As an appellate attorney, he has recently presented oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He has served as an arbitrator in mandatory arbitration proceedings in Cook, Will, Kane, McHenry, and Lake Counties; he is also a Commercial Calendar Arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In addition to maintaining his own office, Stein has also been of counsel to Miller Berger and Hoeppner Wagner & Evans.

Stein also mentioned that he sponsors two community youth baseball teams in Northbrook and serves on the board of a Sunday School serving mostly immigrant or first-generation American children. He has been active with the Democrats of Northfield Township.

DuPage County candidates raising funds in Chicago. Is this a thing now? Was it always a thing?

Next Tuesday afternoon, June 6, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Tiffany Fordyce, a shareholder at Greenberg Taurig, will host a free Meet and Greet for DuPage County Judge Jennifer Barron.

Well, sort of free.

Donations are welcome.

So welcome, in fact, that, in addition to the $25 "suggested contribution", there are sponsorship levels ($100 - Champion, $500 - Sponsor). (Persons interested in attending have to register for the event. Email Denise Hernandez at hernandezden@gtlaw.com to register or obtain further information.)

Maybe I know about this event because I worked with Judge Barron at a couple of different stops along the way; maybe DuPage County judicial candidates (and, for all I know, Lake and Kane and Will County candidates also) have been raising funds in Chicago since forever.

But, in covering this beat since 2008, I have never once -- not once -- run a notice about a Cook County judicial candidate holding a fundraiser in Naperville or Wheaton.

By the way, pro tip: When mentioning Naperville, it is always best to mention Wheaton also.

I don't think they're as sensitive about it as they used to be but, at one time, Naperville and Wheaton nearly went to war -- I'm talking armed mobs here -- over which would be the DuPage County seat.

Things got so heated, in fact, that it was decided to remove the official DuPage County records to a neutral location.

This turned out be a bad idea, because things got more heated still: The neutral location was Chicago. The year was 1871.

Currier & Ives lithograph obtained from the Chicago Historical Society
So if you're ever asked what two Illinois counties lost their records in the Chicago Fire, now you know the answer. If you win some money with this one, and you want to send me my share, there's a PayPal button in the Sidebar of this site that you can use....

Anyway, getting back to the original question: Do non-Cook County judicial candidates routinely solicit campaign funds in Cook County? Readers, what say you?

FWIW readers know I will run articles about Cook County judicial candidates' fundraisers. Not all campaigns take advantage. But let me make a special plea: If you are raising funds for a Cook County judicial candidate outside Cook County, please be sure to let me know in advance. I really want to run that post....

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Judge Neil H. Cohen to seek countywide vacancy

Neil H. Cohen was appointed to the countywide Mitchell vacancy last September. He will be seeking nomination and election to a countywide vacancy in the 2024 primary.

A campaign website has been launched in support of Cohen's campaign. That's a link to Judge Cohen's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will added in due course to the Candidate Sidebar on this site as we move deeper into this election cycle.

Cohen served as an associate judge from 2009 until his appointment as a full Circuit judge last year.

His campaign bio notes his long judicial service, including his service in the prestigious Chancery Division since 2011. Most regular FWIW readers will understand the Chancery appointment as a significant career achievement, especially for an associate judge. But members of the general public may not appreciate that, not that long ago, it was considered impossible for an associate judge to hold such a position.

When Cohen became a judge, in 2009, he was working as a criminal defense attorney. His campaign bio touts his 20 years in private practice, as well as 10 years' service in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Cohen also serves as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court's Judicial College Committee on Judicial Education. He has previously served on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference and was the Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court's Historic Preservation Commission's 'History on Trial' Program, according to his campaign bio. He is the current President of the Jewish Judges Association.