Thursday, April 10, 2014

Judicial blogger appears on this week's North Town News Magazine



I am a guest on this week's edition of North Town News Magazine, talking about the results of the March judicial primary with host and moderator Avy Meyers.

My thanks to Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh for allowing me to appear.

The program airs tonight at 7:30 on CAN-TV, Channel 19 on Chicago cable systems, with a rebroadcast tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. The show is also seen in Evanston on Channel 6 tonight at 5:00 and Sunday night at 10:30. NTNM is also broadcast on a number of other suburban cable systems on Mondays at 6:00 p.m. Check your local listings for air times in your area.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Definitely not a good sign

Non Sequitur comic, by Wiley Miller, obtained from Yahoo! Comics.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The burdens outweigh any benefit of MLB’s new ‘security’ procedure

At first, I thought it was an early April Fool’s joke.

I got off the Red Line a good 25 minutes before the scheduled first pitch yesterday, passing the usual Opening Day phalanx of police officers on my way to Gate 5 where I planned to get to my seat in plenty of time for the National Anthem.

The operative word in the preceding sentence is “planned.”

It soon became evident that the lines to get into U.S. Cellular Field were outrageously long – and not moving in any appreciable way.

My host suggested we try the Stadium Club (he’s a member), and we crossed 35th Street, passing many other peace officers en route. But the line for the Stadium Club was also extremely long, and it funnels into a small elevator (or maybe two – I don’t get out much), so we got in the adjacent line for Gate 2. Eventually, after the game was well underway, because we had 100-level tickets, we were allowed to go to Gate 1, where we were wanded and finally allowed to climb the stairs into the park – where, as usual, we still had to show our tickets to at least two other ushers before we could finally get to our seats. I didn’t see as many uniformed police officers after we got in line – we saw some – but mostly, at that point, we saw Sox Security personnel (many of whom are moonlighting police officers).

The long lines weren’t an early April Fool’s joke: According to the Sun-Times this morning, the debacle at the Cell yesterday is a manifestation of MLB’s new security program, which we are all encouraged to accept with stoic passivity.

I dissent.

Seriously, who came up with this brilliant plan for MLB – Jeffrey Loria?

It’s one thing to turn a trip to the airport into an excursion into one of the outer circles of Dante’s Inferno; it doesn’t matter, much, because at the end of the TSA ordeal is the soul-crushing tedium of modern airline travel. But now misguided security guidelines are messing with America’s Pastime. That’s serious.

I suspect that the MLB plan is probably a reaction to the tragedy last April at the Boston Marathon. That was an unspeakably awful crime. According to Wikipedia, three people were killed, and 264 more were injured, many of them horribly. People in Boston and around the nation felt deeply for the victims and their families; Americans took the losses personally. The whole nation paused a few days later as we watched the unfolding news of the manhunt for the surviving bomber.

But there were roughly 500,000 people at the Boston Marathon last year. Necessarily, almost all of them got home safely that day. You may recall news reports about many runners or spectators who didn’t even learn of the tragedy until after they’d returned to their homes or hotels.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my professional career dealing with insurance companies, but, for me, everything comes down to analyzing risks and burdens.

I am not a statistician or an actuary. Like almost everyone else (except, possibly, for professional statisticians and actuaries), my sense of risk is at least partially informed by my ‘gut feelings.’ Because of my background, though, my gut feelings are not unduly fueled by hysterical news outlets. And I have perhaps a greater appreciation for risk statistics than most, even if I lack the ability to calculate the odds myself.

I therefore find it significant when the odds of dying in a terrorist attack are calculated at 1 in 20,000,000, as Ronald Bailey calculated in this 2011 piece on Reason.com. (I tracked down that link after seeing it cited in an April 2013 Wonkblog post on the Washington Post website.

You can compare the relative risks of death by terrorism with death by other causes by following either of those links.

I also looked at the publication Injury Facts (2013 edition), published by the National Safety Council, for comparison purposes. The NSC did not provide a calculation for the risk of death at the hands of a terrorist. The NSC’s figures were based on 2009 mortality figures and there were no deaths in America caused by terrorism to use as a basis for calculation of the odds in that year. (According to the NSC methodology, unless at least 20 people die annually from a given risk, any calculation of odds would likely be “unstable from year to year” and the calculations were not included for that reason. The article on Reason.com used cumulative figures from five years, from 2005-2010, and included Americans killed in terrorist attacks overseas, before taking an average.)

According to the NSC, over 36,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents in 2009, making the annual odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident 1 in 8,477. So the risk of death from traveling by motor vehicle is orders of magnitude greater than the risk of dying in a terrorist attack (1 in 20,000,000).

If safety is the real goal, we should perhaps prohibit people from driving to ballgames. But people can die using public transportation as well – again, using the 2013 edition of Injury Facts – Americans had a 1 in 13,954,843 chance of dying in a bus accident and (here’s a coincidence) the exact same chance of dying in a railroad accident. Not a lot of risk, admittedly – but the odds are still better that you might die in an accident on the way to the ballpark as opposed to dying in a terrorist attack at the ballpark.

You are at least twice as likely to die from a lightning strike (1 in 9,903,437) as be killed by terrorists.

But here’s where the ‘gut feelings’ come in: We know we can virtually eliminate the risk of getting struck by lightning if we stay inside during a storm. On the other hand, if we venture from our homes to go to the ballpark, we can’t avoid the risk of terrorism. Also, we can intuit that ‘soft targets’ like ballparks may be attractive to terrorists; therefore, however low the risk of terrorism generally, we find it easy to believe that the risk would be far greater when people are concentrated together at a ballgame or a concert or a shopping mall or a school or a movie theater or a railroad station or a church or.... Hey, wait a minute: There are so many ‘soft targets’ that maybe we shouldn’t consider the risk of being in this place any greater than the risk of being in any other place. There have been terrible tragedies in several of these types of places, of course – not caused by terrorists, actually, but by deranged lunatics with guns and opportunity who, sadly, were lucid enough to pick out targets where there weren’t a lot of armed police officers on the lookout for trouble. So the police presence yesterday at the Cell provided some real security.

On the other hand – back to those nervous gut feelings again – wouldn’t special occasions like the Super Bowl or Opening Day be more attractive targets for terrorists? Well, maybe so – except that these kinds of events present the least soft of any soft target you can imagine even without subjecting patrons to wanding at the entrance gates. Because once again there’s that problem (for the wannabe terrorist) of lugging his bombs or other weapons past all those police officers. What do you think those police officers were doing all along 35th Street and around the stadium? Do you think they were just soaking up atmosphere?

If a person is hellbent on committing some heinous act in the name of some cause, and if that odious person is truly prepared to die in the effort, he will find a place and time to commit his crime whether people are wanded at the entrance to sports arenas or not. But the terrorist or armed lunatic is not going to go anyplace where he must run a gauntlet of uniformed police in order to reach his ‘soft target.’ In my experience, there are always lots of police in attendance in the vicinity of U.S. Cellular Field when the White Sox have a home game. The extreme slowdowns caused by yesterday’s enhanced security wanding exercise, therefore, were a waste of time and effort and failed to make anyone safer.

The burden imposed (keeping thousands outside the stadium until the second or third inning) did not outweigh the benefit of reducing the already minuscule risk of terrorism. Besides, it must have cost the White Sox tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost concession sales.

I’m all in favor of staying safe. But I want real safety, not an illusion, and particularly not an illusion that takes 45 minutes to navigate.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Facts and figures show the Associate Judge applicant pool was very deep

In announcing the 26 Associate Judge finalists, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans stated, "These candidates are capable, talented individuals. All of them were found either 'Qualified' or 'Recommended' by all of the bar organizations participating in the process."

But, in addition to announcing the successful applicants, the Nominating Committee also released a fact sheet about the entire applicant pool. These were figures for the 236 applicants that completed the process (41 applicants withdrew, for one reason or another, presumably including the 12 applicants who won nomination in the primary). The numbers show that the Nominating Committee had a plethora of well-qualified individuals from which to choose.

In short, while every one of the 26 finalists was rated Qualified or Recommended by every evaluating bar association (the Chicago Bar Association and the member bar groups of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening), a lot of the candidates passed over can say the same. According to the Nominating Committee's figures, some 88.14% of the applicant class were found qualified by the Chicago Bar Association (the figures for the CBA aren't broken down further, but I can think of at least three unsuccessful applicants who were deemed Highly Qualified by the CBA).

The Nominating Committee did provide a more detailed breakdown for the Chicago Council of Lawyers evaluations of the associate judge applicants. Some 83.06% of the applicants were deemed Qualified or better by the CCL. The CCL deemed two of these Highly Qualified (neither was chosen by the Nominating Committee). The Council found 29 applicants Well Qualified (nine of these made the short list, according to figures provided by the Nominating Committee).

The Cook County Bar Association gave favorable marks to 91.95% of the applicants. Five candidates were deemed Highly Qualified; none of these made the short list, according to the Nominating Committee fact sheet.

The Illinois State Bar Association deemed 88.13% of the applicants Qualified or better. Nine were rated Highly Qualified by the ISBA. Only one of these, however (James Robert Carroll), made the short list.

The Decalogue Society of Lawyers found 87.72% of the applicants Recommended or better. The Decalogue Society found 39 applicants Highly Recommended; eight of these (Carroll, Shauna Louise Boliker, Kevin Thomas Lee, Myron Franklin Mackoff, Sanju David Oommen, Linda Johanna Pauel, Debra Ann Seaton, and Stephen Stern) are on the short list. Of course, that necessarily means that 31 are not.

There are seven candidates on the short list who were rated Highly Recommended by the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (Carroll, Bolliker, Oomen, Pauel, Stern, Gregory Emmett Ahern, Jr. and Devlin Joseph Schoop). But LAGBAC found 28 candidates Highly Recommended (83.05% of the applicants being deemed Recommended or batter).

The Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois found 89.41% of the applicants qualified, 18 of these deemed Highly Qualified per the Nominating Committee's fact sheet. Only two of these (Carroll and Alfredo Maldonado) made the short list. The Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois gave favorable marks to 89.41% of the applicants. Nineteen of these were considered Highly Recommended by the PRBA but only one (Stern) is among the finalists.

Several Alliance members have only one favorable rating (Qualified or Recommended is the best rating given). The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area found 89.41% of the applicants Qualified. The Black Women Lawyers' Association found 83.47% of applicants Recommended. The Hellenic Bar association found 87.29% of the applicants Recommended, while the 89.83% of the applicants were Recommended by the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

Looking at the list myself, I believe there were 13 current judges in this pool of applicants, including one recalled Associate Judge. Four of these won their primary races. Of the nine remaining, only two (Ahern and Michael Francis Otto) made the short list. There were nine former judges in the applicant pool as well; none of these made the short list.

By my calculations, eight of the nine finalists who were not selected in 2012 (the last time Associate Judges were chosen) reapplied. But only two of these former finalists (Maldonado and Rossana Patricia Fernandez) made the short list.

Sixty-six percent of the applicants were male, 34% female, according to the Nominating Committee. The Nominating also reported that 77% of the applicants were Caucasian, 16% African-American, 4% Hispanic, and 3% Asian.

After the short list was announced Friday I heard from some disappointed applicants, some of whom were kind enough to offer me condolences as well (I was an also an unsuccessful applicant -- again). It took me awhile to think of an appropriate response, but this is what I eventually came up with: We may not be in select company, but we are in good company. The facts and figures bear this out.

Spring cleaning -- time to archive the candidate websites

Hard to believe the primary was only two weeks ago. Almost two weeks ago.

But several of the candidate websites have already come down, and it's time for them to be retired from the Sidebar on Page One as well.

I'm keeping the list here for archival purposes. Some of the sites will be live indefinitely and those looking for ideas for the future may find in these some ideas to imitate (or reject).

Without further adieu then, herewith the list of 2014 Appellate Court candidate websites:
And here is the list of 2014 Circuit Court candidates:

Friday, March 28, 2014

41st Ward electonics recycling event tomorrow

It doesn't look anything like Spring outside at the moment, but (according to the calendar, at least, if not the climate) it's time again for Spring Cleaning.

Tomorrow, 41st Ward Alderman Mary O'Connor is hosting an electronics recycling event at St. Thecla's Church, 6725 W. Devon. Here is your chance to get rid of those old TVs and printers and other electronic stuff gathering dust in your garage -- and to do so responsibly and in compliance with state law which prohibits sending these kinds of electronics to landfills.

If you're not certain what will be acceptable for drop-off, contact the 41st Ward office at (773) 594-8341 or email ward41@cityofchicago.org.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pictures from yesterday's Northwest Side Irish Parade

More coverage of yesterday's parade in this post on Page One.

You'd think, as cold as it was, that there'd be no competition for good spots on the parade floats. These kids were taking no chances, however; they had their places staked out on the Sheet Metal Workers Union float early on.

Ditto for these kids promoting the St. Baldrick's Foundation:


Sure, everyone thinks it must be all sorts of glamorous fun to be the Queen of a parade or a member of her court. But maybe not when you have to sit in the back of a convertible a half hour before the parade begins. Especially when the temperature isn't quite 20 degrees.


And you have to keep smiling all the way down the parade route, too.

If it was tough for the parade queen and court, how much tougher must it have been for the Irish dancers? You can't have a St. Patrick's Day parade without at least three schools of Irish dancing -- but Sunday had to have been difficult.


Here are some of the dancers from the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance waiting with their parents before the parade.


And here are some of the dancers and their parents from the Mullane Healy Godley School.

I was still there when the Trinity Dancers came down the street.




I had to leave before any of the marching bands made it down Northwest Highway. This is the Notre Dame and Resurrection Marching Band assembling near Onahan School.


I was there when the St. Patrick's High School Jazz Band came down Northwest Highway.


All parades bog down at times. If delays yesterday seemed pronounced because of the cold, these were merely moments of opportunity for the kids watching the proceedings -- a chance to make sure that not a single piece of candy tossed from those trolley buses or floats went to waste.

The photographer may have succumbed to the chill, but the parade-goers faced the elements with indefatigable good cheer.












But, dear St. Patrick, would it be too much to ask for things to be just a little warmer next year?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chicago Citizen Newspapers Judicial Candidate Forum March 8

L-R Atty. Nyshana Sumner, Judge Alfred Swanson; Judge Freddrenna M. Lyle; Atty. Mary Alice Melchor; Judge Andrea M. Buford; Judge Lewis Nixon; Larissa M. Tyler, Managing Editor, Chicago Citizen Newspaper/QBG Foundation Exec. Dir.; Judge LaGuina Clay-Herron; Atty. Patricia S. Spratt; Atty. Kristal Rivers; Atty. William "Bill" Raines; Judge Sharon O. Johnson; Atty. Steven G. Watkins; Atty. Diana Rosario and Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs.

The Chicago Citizen Newspaper held a candidate forum on March 8. Here is a link to newspaper's coverage of the event. The accompanying photograph and caption are taken from the Citizen website.

If they didn't already know about it (regular FWIW readers are extremely well informed), FWIW readers learned of the forum in this February 11 post.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Judge Freddremma M. Lyle interviewed on an NTNM election special



Appellate Court candidate Freddrenna M. Lyle (Gordon vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Organizing the Data: Appellate Court - Murphy vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

David Ellis -- #134


Campaign Website

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
David W. Ellis is “Qualified” for the office of Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court. Mr. Ellis was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1993 and has experience in complex commercial litigation, legislative drafting, and appellate practice. Mr. Ellis has excellent writing skills and has authored ethical opinions, briefs, and legal memoranda used in the legislative process. Mr. Ellis is well regarded for his knowledge of the law, analytical skills, and even temperament.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
David Wayne Ellis was admitted to practice in 1993. He is the Chief Counsel to the Illinois Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. He represents the Speaker in litigation matters, advises the Speaker on legislative issues such as legislative redistricting cases and the recent lawsuit against Governor Quinn over his line-item veto of legislative salaries. He also negotiates various legislative provisions. He served as House Prosecutor in the Blagojevich Senate Impeachment trial and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General defending the 2011 Illinois redistricting map in federal court against alleged violations of the federal Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause. From 1996 to 1998 he was an associate with Cahill, Christian & Kunkle doing civil litigation. From 1993 to 1996 he was an associate with Phelan Pope & John doing civil litigation. Mr. Ellis is reported to have good legal ability and temperament. He has extensive legislative experience as Chief Council to Speaker Michael Madigan and has significant experience in litigation-related matters. He has experience in substantial number of community activities, including pro bono representation in litigation matters. Mr. Ellis reports handling four appellate matters as principal counsel and many respondents noted the high quality of his written work. The Council finds him Qualified for the Illinois Appellate Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisHighly Qualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisHighly Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

Brian Alexander interviewd on an NTNM election special



Ninth Subcircuit candidate Brian Alexander (Preston vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the second time that Forte has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see his earlier interview by following this link.

Organizing the Data: countywide Burke vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Maritza Martinez -- #143

Campaign Website

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Maritza Martinez is “Not Recommended” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Martinez was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1989 and was previously evaluated and found “Qualified.” Based on newly discovered information involving Ms. Martinez’s conduct in a court proceeding, the candidate was re-evaluated. Ms. Martinez’s poor judgment and lack of candor resulted in a “Not Recommended” finding.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Maritza Martinez was admitted to practice in 1989. She is an Associate in the Law Offices of Victor J. Cacciatore where she has a litigation practice in criminal defense, civil law, and administrative matters. She is a Commissioner for the Illinois Court of Claims. She has been an associate at the Law Offices of Robert Fisher doing criminal defense work. In 2004, she was at a small firm doing insurance defense and catastrophic loss work, and from 1991 until 2004, she was with the City of Chicago Department of Law doing prosecution and civil rights defense. Prior to 1991, she spent two years at a small firm doing real estate work. Since November 2007, she has also served part-time as a hearing officer and Commissioner with the Illinois Court of Claims, conducting trials and making recommendations to the Court of Claims judges regarding the disposition of various claims against the State of Illinois. She also currently serves on the Inquiry Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Ms. Martinez has litigation experience in both state and federal courts. In 2009 the Council stated in its evaluation: “Ms. Martinez is reported to have good legal ability and is considered knowledgeable about her areas of practice. She has had litigation experience in a variety of areas and she is reported to possess a good temperament. She is active in community activities. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.” The results from the current evaluation show that Ms. Martinez has had additional litigation experience in complex areas and she continues to be praised for her temperament, her fairness as a Commissioner, and for her skills as a lawyer. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

Monica A. Forte interviewed on an NTNM election special



Ninth Subcircuit candidate Monica A. Forte (Meyer vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the second time that Forte has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see her earlier interview by following this link.

Organizing the Data: countywide Egan vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Donald J. Kubasiak -- #147


Campaign Website

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Daniel Kubasiak is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Kubasiak was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1981 and concentrated his practice in corporate and tax matters. Judge Kubasiak was appointed to the bench in 2012 and is currently assigned to Traffic Court in the First Municipal Division. Judge Kubasiak is well regarded for his knowledge of the law, diligence, and even temperament.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Daniel J. Kubasiak was admitted to practice in 1981. He was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2012 and is currently assigned to Traffic Court. Before becoming a judge, he had been in private practice for most of his career with the exception of serving as Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Chicago between 1983 and 1987. He had substantial experience in more complex litigation matters. As a lawyer, he is considered as having good legal ability and temperament. He is praised for his litigation skills. As a judge, he is praised as being diligent and respectful to all those before him. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersHighly Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisHighly Qualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationHighly Qualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs interviewed on an NTNM election special



Countywide candidate Cynthia Y. Cobbs (McDonald vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

Organizing the data: countywide Felton vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.
Updated 3/13/14

Patricia O'Brien Sheahan -- #148


Campaign Website

Candidate Statement: Patricia O'Brien Sheahan: In her own words

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Patricia O’Brien Sheahan is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Sheahan was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1996 and was engaged in private practice as an Associate in a large law firm before becoming Associate General Counsel of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Ms. Sheahan has a wide range of practice experience and supervises and handles litigation for the Rehabilitation Institute. Ms. Sheahan possesses the requisite qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Patricia O’Brien Sheahan was admitted to practice in 1996. She is currently the Associate General Counsel of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she oversees all litigation and claims made against her employer and its employees. She handles case investigations, pretrial discovery, and settlement negotiation. She handles and defends all employment/labor matters and claims before the EEOC, Illinois Department of Human Rights, and other administrative tribunals, including preparation and questioning of witnesses. She has prepared appellate briefs filed in both the Illinois Supreme Court and in the Illinois Appellate Court. From 1996 to 1999 she was a litigation associate with Baker & McKenzie in Chicago, working in the litigation and employment litigation practice groups. She reports that during her time at Baker, she first chaired a jury trial, represented clients in evidentiary proceedings, defended and took more than 50 depositions, and had an active motion practice. She is active in community affairs. Lawyers report that she has good legal ability and is praised for the quality of her work product. She is considered to be knowledgeable, and always prepared. In general, Ms. Sheahan is considered to be a very good lawyer and case manager with experience in a variety of state and federal litigation matters. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Not Evaluated
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoNot Evaluated
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisNot Recommended
Illinois State Bar AssociationNot Qualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

James Patrick Crawley interviewed on an NTNM Election Special



Countywide candidate James Patrick Crawley (Veal vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the second time that Crawley has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see his earlier interview by following this link.

Organizing the Data: countywide Howse vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Caroline Kate Moreland -- #149

Campaign Website

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Caroline Kate Moreland is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Moreland was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1995 and served as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney for 14 years before becoming a judge. Judge Moreland is well respected and possesses all the requisite qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Caroline Moreland was admitted to practice in Illinois in November 1995. From 1996-2010 she worked as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. She was appointed to the bench to fill a judicial vacancy in September 2010. As a prosecutor, Judge Moreland was considered to have good legal ability and temperament. She prosecuted felony matters as a First Chair prosecutor. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersHighly Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"


Katherine A. O'Dell interviewed on an NTNM Election Special



Tenth Subcircuit candidate Katherine A. O'Dell was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the third time that O'Dell has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see her earlier interviews here and here.

Organizing the Data: countywide Lowrance vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Thomas J. Carroll -- #150

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Thomas Joseph Carroll is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Carroll was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1988 and was appointed a judge in September 2011. Judge Carroll is currently assigned to Traffic Court and has received favorable reviews from lawyers appearing in his court. Judge Carroll has a fine temperament and possesses the legal knowledge and experience to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Thomas Joseph Carroll was admitted in 1988. He was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2011. He was an Assistant Public Defender for four years, moving from juvenile to misdemeanor to felony work. He had been a sole practitioner specializing in criminal defense. Mr. Carroll is reported to have good legal ability and temperament. Before becoming a judge he had substantial litigation experience in both civil and criminal law matters.
He is praised as being hard-working and well prepared. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

Anjana Hansen interviewed on an NTNM Election Special



Ninth Subcircuit candidate Anjana Hansen (Meyer vacancy) was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the second time that Hansen has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see her earlier interview by following this link.

Organizing the Data: 7th Subcircuit, Hardy-Campbell vacancy

This candidate is unopposed in the upcoming Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.
Robert D. Kuzas -- #171

Campaign Website

Bar Association Evaluations
The Chicago Bar Association says:
Robert D. Kuzas is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Kuzas was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1989 and is engaged in private practice concentrating in criminal law and personal injury matters. Mr. Kuzas has both criminal and civil jury trial experience and is well regarded by opposing counsel and the judges before whom he appears. Mr. Kuzas has an outstanding temperament and possesses the depth and breadth of experience to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Robert Kuzas was admitted to practice in 1989. He is currently a solo practitioner where he focuses on criminal defense, personal injury, and labor relations cases. He has been in private practice throughout his career. Mr. Kuzas has substantial experience in a variety of more complex litigation matters. He is considered to have good legal ability and temperament. He is praised for his litigation skills. He is reported to be exceptionally hard-working and knowledgeable. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisHighly Qualified
Illinois State Bar AssociationQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoHighly Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------
Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every Cook County judicial contest"

Judge Peter Vilkelis interviewd on an NTNM Election Special



Judge Peter J. Vilkelis, a candidate for the countywide Connors vacancy, was interviewed by Avy Meyers for a North Town News Magazine Election Special and this interview has now been posted online. With the permission of NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh, you can watch the interview here.

This is the second time that Vilkelis has been interviewed on NTNM in this election cycle. You can see his earlier interview by following this link.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's in a name? King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite denied British passport


The Briton formerly known as Mathew Whelan, a 34-year old Lib Dem activist from Birmingham, changed his name to King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite in 2009, according to Sara Malm's story posted Sunday on The Daily Mail. Malm writes that "Body Art" (that's the tattooed one's choice of diminutive for King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite) was able to procure a driver's license bearing his adopted appellation (one wonders whether the length of the driver's license had to be extended as an accommodation) but not a passport.

King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite's old passport had expired, you see, and when he went to renew it using his new name the office had a problem. When the Passport Office questioned the name, requesting further documentation, King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite sent in his driver's license, a registered letter that had been sent and delivered to him (one wonders if the name took up one line or two on the envelope), and a letter from his local MP.

Yes, King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite is being supported in his quest for a new passport bearing this name by his local Member of Parliament. (Several Monty Python sketches come to mind, don't they?)

But Body Art is quite serious about his quest; he insists that denying him his choice of name is a violation of his "human rights."

Malm's article says the Passport Office refused to comment specifically about why it has so far refused to grant a new passport in King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite's name. However, Malm quotes office policy as follows:
Where an applicant changes his or her name to a string of words or phrases that would not normally be recognised as a name, this should not be entered onto the personal details page of the passport.

For example, the names "New Year" "Happy Easter" or "Good Bye" are unacceptable as, when put together, they became a recognised phrase or saying.
I'm not certain how recognizable a phrase or saying "King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite" might be, but I can certainly understand that this string of words might not be normally recognized as a name.

Interestingly, King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite claims to be Britain's most tattooed person, with tattoos over 90% of his body. According to the Daily Mail, King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite even had his left eyeball tattooed black. Body Art has spent more than £25,000 on his extraordinarily personal art project. The reason he's looking for a new passport is that "he has been offered work abroad to turn his hobby into a job," according to the article.

Clerk Brown's office posts virus warning

Click to enlarge
Visitors to the website of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown may have noticed the warning reproduced above in recent days. In case you're reading this post on a device that doesn't have a screen large enough to make that snippet legible, here is what the notice says:
IMPORTANT WARNING REGARDING “COURT HEARING” EMAIL SCAM

Please be aware that there is an email scam currently targeting individuals with the following subject line: “Hearing of your case in Court (followed by a number).” The email has an ATTACHMENT, which, if opened, CONTAINS A MALICIOUS COMPUTER VIRUS that will infect your Windows computer. This message is NOT sent by any Court. DO NOT OPEN under any circumstance, DELETE IT from your mailbox.

More information about this virus can be found at: http://www.onlinethreatalerts.com/article/2013/12/23/hearing-of-your-case-in-court-nr-virus-emails.
If you follow the link provided on Clerk Brown's website you will see that this warning does not stem from any compromise in the online notification system that we were all required to sign up for just last year. The Clerk's office is simply providing this warning as a public service for attorneys and others who may not be wise in the ways of technology.

Still... no virus has ever compromised any of the paper files in my office. I have spilled the occasional cup of coffee, but the resulting stains don't necessarily compromise the information stored on the printed pages. I embrace the brave new digital world -- I'm out here in the Ether with you, aren't I? -- but my love of technology is not unconditional. I still worry that so much of our personal and business and professional lives is just one power surge away from destruction, or else at the mercy of some bright, but bored, teenager in Eastern Europe. I don't think that makes me a Luddite, does it?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Corporate lawyer achieves escape velocity

Image obtained from EVE Online
Debra Cassens Weiss has an article this morning on ABA Journal Law News Now entitled "Lawyer-turned-galactic overlord leaves BigLaw and achieves online success."

Alex Gianturco had a career defending white-collar crime cases for Washington, D.C.-based megafirm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. But he was dissatisfied. He craved escape.

When James Thurber wrote "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the careworn Mr. Mitty could only imagine alternate realities. Mr. Gianturco could immerse himself in computer games. In Gianturco's case, the game of choice was something called EVE Online. In the Wall Street Journal article that inspired Ms. Weiss's post this morning, David Román describes EVE Online as a "popular space-combat game," a "rarity among games based on virtual universes" because, a decade after launch, it has a still-growing subscriber base (at a cost of $14.95 a month).

Gianturco's game persona, The Mittani, scratched and clawed his way to the head of the Goonswarm Alliance, leading, Román writes, "the 37,000 players of the larger CFC coalition." His path to the top of the virtual heap apparently involved stealth and espionage, not swashbuckling and weaponry. But he was still practicing law on his way up. Once Gianturco achieved his virtual success, he jettisoned the day job and moved, with his (presumably very understanding) wife, to Madison, Wisconsin, planning to live off his savings and maintain his precarious hold at the top of the EVE Online heap.

An incident at a 2011 gaming conference in Iceland -- Gianturco admits to being inebriated and "berating" another player -- led him to found his own website, TheMittani.com, covering games generally and the EVE Online universe in particular.

I don't pretend to understand any of this. My kids will tell you that I couldn't get the hang of the most basic Playstation controls when they were growing up. They made fun of my attempts to avoid conflicts and build trade routes in various editions of Sid Meier's Civilization. (You're supposed to start wars, they'd tell me.) And, of course, when I want to escape to a different world, I still sometimes read books. With actual pages and bindings and such.

But I understood this much: Mr. Gianturco has built such a successful website that he has attracted the attention of the Wall Street Journal. He admits to making a "comfortable living" from the ads on TheMittani.com. As the proprietor of a couple of websites, that's certainly enough to fire my imagination....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Woman sues divorce lawer for failing to advise her that divorce would end her marriage

Several British newspapers -- the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, and the Independent, to name three -- are reporting today that a British woman is suing her lawyers for professional negligence (malpractice) because they 'failed' to tell her that getting a divorce would, in fact, end her marriage.

Tomas Jivanda's story in the Independent reports that, among her malpractice claims, Jane Mulcahy charged that her "lawyers failed to regard her Roman Catholic faith and should have recommended judicial separation - a step down from full divorce - as an alternative course of action."

The case did not attract public attention when it was initially dismissed; the story got picked up when the appeal was likewise thrown out.

The story is amusing, another illustration of the idea that people sue for the darndest reasons, and it gives readers something to feel smug about (how could anyone not know that divorce ends marriage? we chortle).

Except, of course, if Mrs. Mulcahy were so devout a Catholic, she would know that even a legal divorce would not end her marriage, not in the eyes of the Church. Perhaps what really upset her was that, once divorced, her ex-husband was free to marry in the eyes of the law, if not the Church -- maybe he did marry -- when a "judicial separation" would have prevented it.

Whatever it might be, there is surely a more accurate explanation for Mrs. Mulcahy's quixotic suit against her divorce lawyers than her (allegedly) not knowing that divorce ends a marriage. The truth probably wouldn't be nearly as amusing; newspapers -- and bloggers -- probably wouldn't be nearly as interested.

But there is a cautionary tale in here for lawyers generally: Clients come to us and tell us what they think they want. Our job isn't just to give them what they ask for, assuming that we can, but to ascertain what they may really want and need. That might not be what they asked for at all. On the Illinois license it says we are attorneys and counselors. Often, we need to be both.

Two steps forward and one step back: Singing the Blue Cart Blues

We were thrilled, of course, when we finally got our genuine, official Chicago blue cart for recycling, the first serious recycling program here on the Northwest Side of Chicago since our pilot "blue bins" program was discontinued some 20 years ago or more.

You'll note that I do not mention the "blue bag" fantasy years. Even those who believed firmly in faerie circles and unicorn glades had trouble accepting the idea that recyclables protected only by blue plastic bags would really be recycled when they saw them smashed in the back of the same truck that compacted the rest of the garbage. Especially when the mandatory blue bags were just a bit thinner than the typical plastic trash bag, and significantly more expensive.

Anyway, for years and years, anyone wanting to really recycle had to bring their stuff to giant bins set up at a handful of locations around the City -- Caldwell Woods, for example, at Milwaukee and Devon. These were almost always overflowing. (Recently, perhaps in recognition of this fact, the City had set up another bin at the 41st Ward yard on Higgins.) The alternative was to bring the family recycling to the homes of friends and relatives in more enlightened municipalities. Park Ridge is close by. Park Ridge has had blue carts for years.

But, finally, we had our own blue cart. It seemed the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Except...

Well, the first disappointment was that the blue carts would only be picked up every other week. We didn't realize, at first, the problems that this would cause.

Our blue cart was proudly stuffed to overflowing for the first pick-up. It was overflowing, too, for the second pick-up. And the third. In the meantime, stuff that wouldn't fit was piling up in the garage. Fortunately, Hoarders has been cancelled; I was starting to worry that their location scouts would start prowling around.

Finally, on a snowy weekend afternoon around Christmas, my son Jim and I filled the family van with cardboard and shredded paper and other recyclables that never seemed to fit in the blue cart and headed over to the 41st Ward Yard to get rid of the surplus.

But the giant bin was gone.

We went to Caldwell Woods.

Both giant bins were gone.

Why? Why would the City discontinue collecting stuff it can sell? Did the City tie itself up with a non-compete clause when it signed up with Waste Management to belatedly expand the blue cart program?

Defeated, we returned all our stuff to the garage.

We got rid of it today.

The City did not make our regular garbage pickup yesterday. That was no surprise, not even a disappointment. We've had some extreme weather in these parts, two feet of snow and freezing cold, and these recent "Chiberian" conditions stretched the resources of the Department of Streets and San to the breaking point. But looking out at the curb this morning, looking at the overflowing blue cart and the half empty black cart, and knowing there was another entirely empty black cart emerging from a melting snowdrift on the side of the house, something in me snapped.

I threw all the cardboard out. Anything I couldn't wedge in the blue cart went into the black carts. All were overflowing before I was done. I know it was wrong. But I think it was necessary.

Now if we could just get an electronics recycling day scheduled somewhere nearby, I might get my garage back. Meanwhile I'm singing the Blue Cart Blues....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

'What did you do at work today' can be a dangerous (and expensive) question for a lawyer: A likely case in point

The Chicago Tribune reports this evening that the Solicitors Regulation Authority has "issued a written rebuke" and hit a British lawyer, Chris Gossage, a partner at Russells Solicitors, with a fine of £1,000 (roughly $1,650) for revealing that J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series, had published a detective novel last year under a pseudonym.

Rowling wanted to publish a book without having it compared to her Harry Potter heptalogy. So, just like any self-respecting billionaire author, Rowling arranged with her publisher, Little Brown, to have The Cuckoo's Calling published under the fictitious name of Robert Galbraith, complete with an extensive publicity campaign about the "first-time" author, supposedly a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left the force in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry.

"Galbraith's" book got good reviews -- which Ms. Rowling found quite gratifying -- but not many copies were sold (somewhere between 500 and 1,500 depending on the source consulted).

Sales were weak, that is, until lawyer Gossage let slip to his wife, or to his wife's BFF, one Judith Callegari, that Rowling was the real author. Either way, Callegari tweeted the juicy tidbit to a British journalist and author, India Knight, and the secret unraveled soon thereafter. Once this happened, Wikipedia notes, "sales of the book rose by 4000 percent, and Little Brown printed an additional 140,000 copies to meet the increase in demand."

Naturally, Rowling was devastated by the unauthorized disclosure, and infuriated. She sued Callegari, Gossage and Gossage's firm.

OK, the rich really are different from you and me. (Rowling's suit settled with the firm making a substantial donation to a charity designated by Rowling.)

But the point is that Rowling had the right to publish her book under any name she wanted -- and she had every reason to expect that her lawyers would respect her right to use the pseudonym. With few exceptions, lawyers in Britain and Illinois alike are required to maintain client confidences.

In Illinois, lawyers confidentiality obligations are set out at Rule 1.6 of our Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 1.6 provides:
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) or required by paragraph (c).

(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:
(1) to prevent the client from committing a crime in circumstances other than those specified in paragraph (c);

(2) to prevent the client from committing fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer’s services;

(3) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer’s services;

(4) to secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules;

(5) to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client; or

(6) to comply with other law or a court order.
(c) A lawyer shall reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm.

(d) Information received by a lawyer participating in a meeting or proceeding with a trained intervener or panel of trained interveners of an approved lawyers’ assistance program, or in an intermediary program approved by a circuit court in which nondisciplinary complaints against judges or lawyers can be referred, shall be considered information relating to the representation of a client for purposes of these Rules.
Even the casual reader will note that there is no exception in the rule for telling your spouse or significant other a really good story. There is no such exemption in Britain either, which is why Mr. Gossage is out £1,000 tonight.

So, to any non-lawyers married or in a relationship with a lawyer: When you ask how things are going at work, or whether anything interesting happened at the office today, and you get a grunt or a shrug or a few meaningless syllables in response, please don't take offense.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Judicial blogger appears on NTNM



The final round of BCS bowl games will get nearly all the viewers this week, but North Town News Magazine gamely counterprograms with a program including this interview of a cranky old lawyer and judicial blogger.

My thanks to NTNM host and moderator Avy Meyers and his entire technical crew Sonny Hersh for allowing me to repost this interview. You could, in theory, watch this interview when the show is broadcast in its entirety on CAN TV 19 in Chicago on Thursday, January 2 at 7:30 p.m. (that's when Alabama and Oklahoma are scheduled to kickoff in the Sugar Bowl) or Friday, January 3 at 2:30 p.m. This NTNM program will also air in Evanston on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 p.m. and on a number of suburban cable systems on Monday, January 6.