Courts to be closed due to sub-zero weather

Cook County has announced that courts will be closed Wednesday, January 30, 2019 and Thursday, January 31, 2019 due to expected sub-zero degree temperatures.  The only exception will be bond court at 26th Street and 555 W. Harrison.

This link will take you to Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ order, which includes information concerning rescheduled court dates.

Other courts have officially announced that they will be closed Wednesday, including the Federal Court in Chicago and state courts in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties.  You can find information about court closures here:


Two Chicago Branch Court locations have closed

As of yesterday, January 7, 2019, two Chicago Branch Courts have been officially closed.  The courthouses were located at Belmont and Western and at 51st Street and Wentworth.

Misdemeanor cases from Belmont and Western (Branch 29), will now be heard at Branch 23, located at Grand and Central.

Felony cases from Belmont and Western (Branch 45), will now be heard at the Second Municipal District Courthouse located at 5600 Old Orchard Road in Skokie.

Cases that were previously heard at 51st and Wentworth will be divided up between the Branch courthouses located at 3150 W. Flournoy (Flournoy and Kedzie) and at 727 E. 111th Street.  If you are not sure which courthouse to go to, call the criminal court clerk at (312) 603-4641.

Cook County Branch Courts at Belmont and Western and at 51st St to close January 4th

From the Cook County Courts website:

The Circuit Court and Cook County have finalized the scheduled closing of two Chicago branch court locations – 155 W. 51st St. and 2452 W. Belmont Ave.  – to take effect after court concludes on January 4, 2019.

The two branch court closings, which were finalized as part of the budget litigation settlement between the county and the court, will help the county avoid $9.2 million in repairs, renovations and maintenance that would be necessary to keep the two buildings safe, operational and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The matters now heard at each city branch court are misdemeanor bail hearings, misdemeanor trials and felony preliminary hearings.

The upcoming changes are:

  • Starting on December 10, 2018, all misdemeanor bail hearings at all five city branch court locations will move to the Leighton Criminal Court Building, 2600 S. California Ave. This brings all Chicago bail hearings to one location, as is currently done on weekends and holidays.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) and felony preliminary hearings at 155 W. 51st St. will move – depending on the location of the alleged offense – either to the branch court location at 727 E. 111th St. or the branch court location at 3150 W. Flournoy St.
  • Starting on January 7, 2019, all other misdemeanor matters (such as misdemeanor trials) at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. will move to 5555 W. Grand Ave. The felony preliminary hearings at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. and 5555 W. Grand Ave. will move to the Skokie courthouse, 5600 Old Orchard Road, which is where those two branch courts’ cases already go when they advance to trial. Felony matters that arise in Chicago and are already heard in Skokie do not include Chicago murder charges and Chicago sexual assault charges, which are currently only heard at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Defendants should check their bail bond slip, summons, ticket or notice-to-appear documents for the correct court location. Those whose court locations may change will receive notice by mail from the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Defendants may also contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Criminal Department at (312) 603-4641.


Chicago Bar Association Judicial Ratings are now available

Early voting has begun and the Chicago Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) has released its findings for Cook County Judicial Races.  I am on the executive committee of the JEC and I am in a perfect position to inform you that these ratings are based on detailed investigations of all the candidates, which includes contacting numerous attorneys who have appeared before the candidate, reference and background checks, reviews of appellate court decisions, and holding a hearing in which the candidate appears to answers questions before the committee.

You can find the CBA’s ratings at but for convenience, I have cut and pasted the results below.

The CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) invites you to view its evaluations of judicial candidates running for vacancies on the Circuit Court of Cook County in the upcoming election to be held on November 6, 2018. The Chicago Bar Association urges voters to elect only candidates found Highly Qualified or Qualified for judge. Judge Lisa Ann Marino was found Not Recommended for Retention by the JEC, punch ballot # 314 to vote “NO.”

Cook County Circuit Court and Subcircuit Vacancies:

Cook Circuit – Brewer Vacancy
111 | Kathryn Maloney Vahey | Q

Cook Circuit – Clay Vacancy
112 | Kathaleen Theresa Lanahan | Q

Cook Circuit – Dooling Vacancy
113 | Tom Sam Sianis | Q

Cook Circuit – Egan Vacancy
114 |Rosa Maria Silva | Q

Cook Circuit – Dunford Vacancy
115 | Thomas F. McGuire | Q

Cook Circuit – Flanagan Vacancy
116 | Preston Jones Jr. | HQ

Cook Circuit – Hartigan Vacancy
117 | Cecilia Anne Horan | Q

Cook Circuit – Jordan Vacancy
118 | Clare Joyce Quish | Q

Cook Circuit – McGinnis Vacancy
119 | Peter Michael Gonzalez | Q

Cook Circuit – Rooney Vacancy
120 | Jack Hagerty | HQ

Cook – 1st Subcircuit – Hambright, Jr. Vacancy
121 | Erika Orr | Q

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Lampkin Vacancy
121 | Tiana Ellis Blakely | Q

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Laws Vacancy
122 | Adrienne Elaine Davis | HQ

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Rhodes Vacancy
123 | Toya T. Harvey | HQ

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Turner, Jr. Vacancy
124 | Ieshia Gray | Q

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Willis Vacancy
125 | Debra A. Seaton | HQ

Cook – 2nd Subcircuit – Turner Vacancy
126 | Arthur Wesley Willis | NR

Cook – 3rd Subcircuit – Delehanty Vacancy
121 | Kevin Patrick Cunningham | Q

Cook – 4th Subcircuit – Davy  Vacancy
121 | David R. Navarro | HQ

Cook – 4th Subcircuit – Riley  Vacancy
122 | Elizabeth Ciaccia-Lezza | Q

Cook – 5th Subcircuit – Banks  Vacancy
121 | H. Yvonne Coleman | Q

Cook – 5th Subcircuit – Jones  Vacancy
122 | Marian Emily Perkins | NR

Cook – 5th Subcircuit – Washington, II  Vacancy
123 | Robert Harris | HQ

Cook – 6th Subcircuit –  Chevere Vacancy
121 | Kent Delgado HQ

Cook – 6th Subcircuit – Cooke Vacancy
122 | Andrea Michelle Webber | Q

Cook – 6th Subcircuit – Lopez Cepero Vacancy
123 | Linda Perez | Q

Cook – 8th Subcircuit – Fabri  Vacancy
121 | James “Jamie” Shapiro | HQ

Cook – 8th Subcircuit – Liu Vacancy
122 | Lindsay Huge | Q

Cook – 8th Subcircuit – Pethers  Vacancy
123 | Jeanne Marie Wrenn | Q

Cook – 10th Subcircuit – O’Neill Burke Vacancy
121 | Stephanie Saltouros | Q

Cook – 10th Subcircuit – Suriano Vacancy
122 | Colleen Reardon Daly | Q

Cook – 11th Subcircuit – Kennedy Vacancy
121 | Joanne F. Rosado | Q

Cook – 12th Subcircuit – Maki Vacancy
121 | Joel Chupack (D) | HQ
122 | David Studenroth (R) | Q

Cook – 13th Subcircuit – Crane Vacancy
121 | Ketki “Kay” Steffen (D) | Q
122 | Gary William Seyring (R) | Q

Cook – 13th Subcircuit – Lawrence Vacancy
123 | Shannon P. O’Malley (D) | NR
124 | Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald (R) | NR

Cook – 13th Subcircuit – O’Donnell Vacancy
125 | Samuel J. Betar, III (D) | HQ
126 | Christine Svenson (R) | NR

Cook – 14th Subcircuit – Garcia Vacancy
121 | Beatriz A. Frausto-Sandoval | NR

Cook – 15th Subcircuit – Scully, Jr. Vacancy
121 | Michael B. Barrett | HQ

Cook – 15th Subcircuit – Zelezinski Vacancy
122 | Scott Mckenna (D) | Q
123 | Karla Marie Fiaoni (R) | HQ

Supreme Court Retention
201 | Anne M. Burke | Q

Appellate Court Retention
203 | Margaret Stanton McBride | Q

Circuit Court Retention
205 | Kathy M. Flanagan | Q
207 | Moshe Jacobius | Q
209 | Stuart F. Lubin | Q
211 | Martin S. Agran | Q
213 | Ronald F. Bartkowicz | Q
215 | E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. | Q
217 | Catherine Marie Haberkorn | Q
219 | James M. Varga | Q
221 | Marcia Maras | Q
223 | Peter Flynn | Q
225 | Paul A. Karkula | Q
227 | Maura Slattery Boyle | Q
229 | Mary Margaret Brosnahan | Q
231 | Matthew E. Coghlan | Q
233 | Joyce Marie Murphy Gorman |Q
235 | Joan Margaret O’Brien | Q
237 | Thomas David Roti | Q
239 | Colleen F. Sheehan | Q
241 | Carl Anthony Walker | Q
243 | Daniel Patrick Brennan | Q
245 | Grace G. Dickler | Q
247 | Ellen L. Flannigan | Q
249 | Carol M. Howard | Q
251 | Jill C. Marisie | Q
253 | James Michael McGing | Q
255 | Mike McHale | Q
257 | James Patrick Murphy | Q
259 | Thomas W. Murphy | Q
261 | Ramon Ocasio, III | Q
263 | Mary Colleen Roberts | Q
265 | Diane M. Shelley | Q
269 | Celia Louise Gamrath | Q
271 | Lorna Ellen Propes | Q
273 | Tommy Brewer | Q
275 | Andrea M. Schleifer | Q
277 | Thomas R. Allen | Q
279 | Erica L. Reddick | Q
281 | Aicha Marie MacCarthy | Q
283 | Lionel Jean-Baptiste | Q
285 | Michael R. Clancy | Q
287 | Regina Ann Scannicchio | Q
289 | Diann Karen Marsalek | Q
291 | Pamela M. Leeming | Q
293 | Larry G. Axelrood | Q
295 | Carl B. Boyd | Q
297 | Daniel R. Degnan | Q
299 | John H. Ehrlich | Q
301 |Terry Gallagher | Q
303 |William G. Gamboney | Q
305 | Elizabeth Mary Hayes | Q
307 | Martin C. Kelley | Q
309 | Kimberly D. Lewis | Q
311 | Edward M. Maloney | Q
314 | Lisa Ann Marino | NR 
315 | Michael Tully Mullen | Q
319 | Karen Lynn O’Malley | Q
321 | Paul S. Pavlus | Q
323 | Cynthia Ramirez | Q
325 | Beatriz Santiago | Q


Meanwhile, in Cook County, two judges in hot water over statements

While the nation was watching the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle, two judges in Cook County made local news for their comments.

The first involves a judge who handles a felony call at 26th Street.  From the Sun-Times:

A Cook County judge has been reassigned after he was accused of calling a female prosecutor a “b–ch” and suggesting that he may have had sex with her.

Judge Mauricio Araujo, a criminal court judge, allegedly made the comments on Sept. 11 when the female assistant state’s attorney appeared in his courtroom…

Attached to Foxx’s letter to Martin was a memo that had been sent to Foxx from Steven Block, a bureau chief in the state’s attorney’s office…

According to the memo, the female prosecutor and Araujo were law school classmates more than two decades ago. In law school, Araujo made “unwanted sexual advances” that the prosecutor rejected, the memo says.

“To this day, [the female prosecutor] recalls in detail one of the incidents because of the particularly crude nature of Araujo’s conduct,” Block wrote.

Since that time, the female prosecutor had seen Araujo around the courthouse, but they had not spoken, the memo said.

On the Sept. 11 incident, the female prosecutor was in Araujo’s courtroom for a hearing in a murder case that had been reassigned to Araujo when another judge retired.

Araujo was overheard speaking to his clerk in Spanish and appeared upset and agitated, the memo said. A person interviewed by Brock reported that the judge commented: “She walked in and didn’t give me any congrats or acknowledge me. She acted like she didn’t know who I was.”

Araujo then walked off the bench and into his chambers.

Another assistant state’s attorney in the courtroom was later called into Araujo’s chambers that day with a Chicago police officer to discuss a case. As the judge signed an order for that assistant state’s attorney, he appeared upset and said, “You think you went to f—ing law school with someone, you would think she would say ‘hi’ to you,” according to the memo. Araujo then allegedly called the female prosecutor a “b–ch.”

According to the memo, that assistant state’s attorney did not initially know the judge was referring to a fellow prosecutor and replied, “Maybe she didn’t recognize you in your robe.”

Araujo allegedly responded, “Our law school class had only about 50 people and she can’t say ‘hi’ to me,” and “Well, maybe it’s because I didn’t have sex with her or maybe it’s because I did have sex with her.”

The assistant state’s attorney who heard the comments was “uncomfortable with this interaction and Araujo’s behavior,” and later informed the female prosecutor of the interaction with the judge, the memo says.

Araujo has been reassigned to administrative duty for the time being.  Read the entire story here:

You can read State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s letter and ASA Steven Block’s memo about Judge Araujo here:

The second involves a judge who rotates between felony and misdemeanor calls in Rolling Meadows.  From WBEZ:

While presiding in a courtroom in Rolling Meadows in July, a white Cook County Circuit Court judge told an African-American criminal defendant, “You were never a slave,” according to court transcripts obtained by WBEZ.

The racially charged comment came from Judge Richard D. Schwind as he sentenced 31-year-old Deon Lindsey in a misdemeanor battery case.

Lindsey admitted hitting his ex-girlfriend’s white brother at her apartment in Hoffman Estates in May. But Lindsey told police he was provoked by being called the N-word, records show.

But the transcript shows Schwind then told Lindsey, “You take offense to a word that — you, you were never a slave, but you take offense to it. And I understand that. But the bigger man walks away. You don’t resort to violence. That’s why society is the way it is now.”

According to a Hoffman Estates police report, Lindsey came to the station on May 25 and told officers that his ex-girlfriend’s brother “called him a ‘n—–.’”

After hearing cases Wednesday in Courtroom 101 in the Rolling Meadows branch, Schwind declined to comment.

But on Thursday, the spokesman for Chief Judge Timothy Evans told WBEZ that the court system’s executive committee will review the matter at its Oct. 3 meeting.

Read the full story here:

Two Cook County Branch courthouses to close

It is official:  the Cook County branch courthouses at “Belmont and Western” and “51st and Wentworth” are going to be closed in cost-cutting moves.  Both locations have two courtrooms, one for misdemeanors and the other for felony preliminary hearings.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Despite the closings, no Circuit Court of Cook County workers will face layoffs this year. But all employees will have to take 10 unpaid furlough days, a move that will save the county $6.2 million. The settlement between Preckwinkle and Chief Circuit Court Judge Timothy Evans also will close one housing unit within the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and its 22 vacant positions will be eliminated.

It has not yet been announced when the courthouses will close, or where the cases will be transferred.  It is expected that the closings will occur by the end of August.

In Memoriam: Richard Cohen, defense attorney extraordinaire

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of DUI defense attorney Richard Cohen. He was a great lawyer and the best DUI defense attorney that I’ve ever seen. He was a great cross-examiner and loved doing legal research. He excelled at finding “technicalities” – like the moment when an officer conducted a seizure before having sufficient evidence, or a breath test device that was improperly calibrated.

Richard gave me first job out of law school and I worked with him for six years, handling DUI and other criminal defense, personal injury and the occasional divorce, paternity or other matter. In the 18 years since we parted ways, we continued to regularly meet or speak to discuss cases that we were working on and of course to catch up on each others lives.

Richard always used to say that it was a great honor whenever someone would place their trust in him to handle their case, and I keep that in mind every time I accept a new matter.

He always harped on the need for hard work. Richard grew up in Buffalo, New York and was a big Bills fan. One day in the office, he was still fuming because the night before he saw a baseball playoff game on tv, and Jim Kelly, the Bills’ quarterback, was sitting in the stands. “He should be home preparing for his next game, not out at a baseball game.” I said, “Its Tuesday, all the players get the day off!” That didn’t matter to Richard. If the player had been home, he’d have more time to prepare and maybe get an insight that would make a difference the following Sunday. That was the way Richard thought. He never wanted to lose at trial because he hadn’t planned and prepared for every eventuality. And you can’t plan and prepare if you are out having a good time.

Richard had been a professor of special education before deciding to go to law school. He was a State’s Attorney in Lake County, then went to work as an insurance defense attorney for Stern and Rotheiser, an insurance defense firm in Chicago. This is where he originally made his reputation, saving his carrier from potentially large verdicts in the Cook County Law Division. He then switched over to plaintiff’s work, at Kugler, De Leo and D’Arco, which became Kugler, Cohen and Sammarco, and then established his own firm, Richard Cohen & Associates.

Here are just a few of Richard’s highlights:

All Illinois DUI defense attorneys will be familiar with the Boomer case. This is a case from DeKalb County that Richard won, both at the trial court and on appeal. Mr. Boomer was found in a ditch about 15 feet from a motorcycle. At the hospital, the arresting officer tried to get consent for a blood draw, based solely on the accident and an odor of alcohol on Mr. Boomer’s breath. The trial court found that the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest and the case was upheld on appeal.

Another memorable moment for him was when he sued the then Cook County State’s Attorney, Cecil Partee, in a paternity suit on behalf of a mother and her child.

A case that Richard remembered fondly was one where the police went to a suspect’s apartment and claimed to have seen contraband through the slightly opened door, thus allowing them to enter and conduct a seizure. Richard had photos proving that the officer could not have seen what he claimed he saw from where he stood at the doorway. The case was before Judge Nicholas Pomaro in Rolling Meadows. Judge Pomaro, now retired, is blind. That didn’t stop Richard, even though his case depended on demonstrating that the contraband was out of the officer’s line of sight.  He had the witnesses testify to what was on the photos, and the Judge ruled in his favor.

More recently, Richard had a case in Bridgeview where his client blew around twice the legal limit. As the case progressed, he would call me frequently to run his ideas past me. To my way of thinking, this was the type of case to take before a jury. But Richard thought otherwise. He felt that the breath test was not properly calibrated, and that a judge would agree. He spent months working up his theory, and preparing his cross-examination. He won the case, and as he was walking back to his car, a law student, who was interning with the State’s Attorney’s office, ran up to him to ask him how he achieved this amazing result. Richard told me that this case was probably his finest moment, and if he never tried another case again, that would be fine. I’m not sure if it was his last trial (he did at least one successful Motion to Suppress after that), but it was one of his last. We were just talking about it again last month.

Of course, the biggest moment of his life was when his son was born.  I will never forget Richard talking about how everything for him changed the instant he first saw his son Rennie.  He was a devoted father, and I know he was very proud to see his son enrolled in his alma mater, Indiana University.  I wish he had a few more years to see his son graduate and become the accomplished man that I am sure he will become, but as life often cruelly reminds us, each day is a gift and we must cherish the few days that we get to have.

Richard, you were a hard person to work for, but I am glad that I did and I will miss you very much.