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 https://www.chicagobar.org/chicagobar/votejudges 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:  https://chicago.suntimes.com/?post_type=cst_article&p=1384789

You can read State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s letter and ASA Steven Block’s memo about Judge Araujo here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-read-memo-judge-mauricio-araujo-20180925-htmlstory.html

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:  https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/white-cook-county-judge-tells-black-defendant-you-were-never-a-slave/56832403-3305-488a-ac7d-90cd6115dc98?utm_source=email&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Web-Share

2018 Chicago Bar Association Judicial Elections Guide is Now Online

As a member of the Chicago Bar Associations’ Judicial Evaluation Committee for over 15 years, I am happy to announce that our ratings for the 2018 March Primaries are now available.  These evaluations are non-partisan.

From the CBA website:

March 2018 Primary Election: CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee Findings

 

Candidates for judge appearing on the ballot in Cook County have been evaluated by the CBA’s Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC). In the Judge Smart Guide to Judicial Elections, the JEC offers evaluations of each candidate with the rationale for the evaluation as well as an in-depth explanation of the evaluation process. The separate Pocket Guide is a two-page document that can be printed out and carried into the voting booth for easy reference when you vote. Please share this information with your coworkers, friends and family.

 

 

 

Please Note:
The Chicago Bar Association urges voters to elect only candidates found Highly Qualified or Qualified for judge.

 

Paid for by The Chicago Bar Association 2018 Judicial Evaluation Fund. A copy of the CBA Report is available from the State Board of Elections.

Remembering Judge Raymond Myles

Myles

The entire Cook County legal community is shocked and saddened to learn about the murder of Judge Raymond Myles.

Judge Myles was a Cook County Judge for nearly 20 years.  He was assigned to the Criminal Division.  Over the years, I appeared before him many times, and tried two cases before him.  He was a very good trial judge, well versed in the law.  He was fair and impartial.  He was open-minded and did not pre-judge cases until he heard all of the evidence.  He was big-hearted and street smart.  In short, he was everything that you would want in a judge.

Just a few weeks ago it was reported that Judge Myles had been seriously injured a year a half ago, after a motor vehicle accident, when the other driver assaulted him, fracturing his nose among other injuries which required reconstructive surgery.

Police are still investigating the murder, and preliminary reports indicate that they believe that this was a robbery gone wrong, unrelated to the assault case or any other matter before him.

My condolences to his family.  He did so much for our community and will be missed tremendously.

Lawyer who donned robes indicted, may still take bench as a real judge soon

Rhonda Crawford, the law clerk who was was running unopposed for judge this November and was allowed to put on a judge’s robes and hear traffic cases as part of an unofficial “training” has been indicted and charged with official misconduct, according to the Tribune.

She is still running in the election, although now she is opposed by write-in candidate Maryam Ahmad.  Assuming that Crawford wins election, she will be sworn in as a judge but will probably be put on administrative duty while this is pending.

Cook County Judge Censured for false mortgage application

The Illinois Courts Commission has censured Cook County Judge Beatriz Santiago for making false statement on a mortgage application.  The full text of the order can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/321625953/Santiago-order

The gist of the complaint was that Santiago has owned a home since 2005.  In 2012, she decided to run for a the Sixth Judicial Subcircuit, even though her home was outside the subcircuit.  She claimed to have solved the residency issue by moving in with her parents, who do live in the subcircuit.  She did not sell the house.  There was a residency challenge to her candidacy, which she defeated, and then she went on to win her election.

After being sworn in, she then sought to re-finance her house.  As part of this process, she affirmed several times that the house was her principal place of residence.  This helped her obtain FHA loan approval for the refinance.  It also was revealed by a WGN investigation that the Judge had claimed a homeowner’s tax exemption on the property in 2012, which she later paid back.

In her defense, she claimed that she did not read the paperwork closely, and had quickly signed it during a lunch break.  She was a former public defender not familiar with real estate law.  She claimed that she in fact lives with her parents in the subcircuit, does not live at the house, and that it is currently being used by members of her family.  Several attorneys attested to her good character and reputation for honesty.

The Judge was charged with failing to maintain high standards of conduct and failing to respect and comply with the law.  As a sanction, she was censured.

Markham Judge in hot water after allowing an attorney (and Judge to be) to handle her court call

I was absolutely stunned to see this story posted on the online edition of the Chicago Tribune today:

 A veteran Cook County Circuit Court judge allegedly allowed a lawyer who is running for election to the bench to wear her robe and hear some of her cases at the Markham courthouse late last week, a breach of judicial ethics as well as a potential violation of the law.

The move prompted the county’s chief judge, Timothy Evans, to remove the judge from the bench Wednesday until further notice.

The incident occurred in the courtroom of Judge Valarie Turner, who allegedly allowed lawyer Rhonda Crawford to take her place on the bench during her morning call of cases, Evans said in a statement. It is not clear if people appearing for cases knew of the situation in the courtroom.

Turner, a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago law school, is a former federal prosecutor who also worked as an associate with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm. First elected to the bench in 2002, she hears municipal cases in Markham.

Crawford, records show, works for the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans. In March, she handily defeated two opponents in the Democratic primary for the 1st Judicial Subcircuit, which includes parts of the South Side of Chicago and some of the south suburbs.

She is unopposed in the November general election.

Pat Milhizer, a court spokesman, declined to say if Evans referred the matter to criminal authorities for investigation or to the disciplinary agencies that handle misconduct allegations made against lawyers and judges. He also would not say the types of cases Crawford improperly presided over or what now happens to those cases.

The incident shocked judicial ethics experts, who said it would be such an ethical lapse — and possibly a violation of the law for the impersonation of a judge — they were surprised any judge would allow it, and any lawyer would actually take the bench. It also raised a host of issues, from questions about the validity of any judgment Crawford might have rendered to the cost and inconvenience of rehearing cases she handled…

Evans also suspended Crawford from her job pending an internal investigation. She has been a law clerk/staff attorney in his office since 2011, and makes nearly $57,000 a year.

Evans made the move after a meeting with his executive committee.

“The public’s confidence in the judiciary is the cornerstone of our system of justice, and I have taken the steps necessary to preserve that confidence,” Evans said in the statement. “Because the investigation is pending, I believe it is inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Chief Judge Timothy Evans has removed Judge Valarie Turner from her current duties in Markham and has reassigned her to restricted non-judicial duty in Chicago for the time being.

I have appeared in front of Judge Turner many times (as well as her husband, who is also a Judge) and just saw both of them yesterday.  I have nothing bad to say about this judge, and I hope this turns out to be a mistake.

The only time that I have ever heard of something like this is  former Cook County Judge Ray Sodini, one of the judges who was caught up in the Greylord scandal, who is also remembered mostly for calling in and having a court bailiff handle his morning court call when he was too hung over to make it to court.  (Which is not meant to imply that Judge Valarie Turner is anything like Judge Ray Sodini, who was both an alcoholic and corrupt.  I imagine that Judge Turner’s mistake, assuming that this is true, is that she made a serious lapse in judgement.).