Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A stunning admission from any writer

In today's Pearls Before Swine, recovering lawyer Stephan Pastis has something nice to say about editors.

At least, sorta-kinda indirectly.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blogger rants about Blogger



I'm not Andy Rooney, but I'm feeling cantankerous and curmudgeonly these days and, like the late Mr. Rooney, I'm not afraid to tell you about it.

The immediate cause of my grumpiness is Blogger. Not a blogger, mind you, not some individual spewing his or her opinions into a largely indifferent Internet, but Blogger the blog publishing service that has been a Google brand since 2003. These guys:


Generally, I like Blogger. From 2006 until this afternoon, I've put up 2,667 posts on Page One of this blog and (since 2008) another 459 (this is post #460) here on Page Two. Blogger is in my price range -- free -- and it has been fairly easy to use. Despite the fact that I'm no 'techie', I've been able to insert photos and graphics and embed videos and customize my text -- it's not WordPerfect, mind you, but it's not bad.

However, lately, Blogger has made my blogging life miserable -- and today provides a perfect illustration.

Over the past 10 years I've covered Cook County judicial elections in some detail. I've got some substantial archives built up. Put it this way, if there is news about Cook County judicial candidate Joan Smith, and I want to do a post, the first place I look for background is my own archives. Until recently, I could put Smith's name into the search box on my "All Posts" page -- something you don't see -- and, presto!, I'd have every post I'd ever done in which her name was mentioned.

Recently, though, Blogger messed this function up. Now, searches only go back four years or so. Well, Smith may have run unsuccessfully for a subcircuit seat in 2010; that datum might be relevant to my current post. She might have been appointed to a seat in 2012; I'd have a biographical sketch in the post about her appointment that I could update for my new post. But Blogger's search was no longer producing these results.

The first time I noticed this, after some time-consuming work-arounds, I dutifully pressed the "send feedback" button (see below) that resides in the lower right hand corner of my screen when I create a post.


I sent my feedback -- hey you've made it impossible for me to properly search my archives! -- and resumed my daily activities. I didn't expect to hear back from anybody at Blogger -- and I didn't -- but I harbored some small hope that my concern might be addressed and my search function restored.

It wasn't.

Today I wanted to pull up information about persons receiving appointments -- I knew I had a lot of background in my archives on at least two of the three appointees -- but all the stuff I wanted predated 2014 and so was left out of the search results. Once again, I figured out how to work around my problem -- but it took a lot of time that I shouldn't have had to waste.

Blogger has no customer service number -- no 800 number for bloggers to call -- and I suppose I understand that no one would be eager to volunteer to field calls from little old ladies who can't figure out how to publish videos of their adorable kittens playing with yarn. Or from 'political theorists' living in their mothers' basements who would just accuse the call-taker of being in on the conspiracy anyway.

But an email address might be nice. So there could be a paper trail. And maybe even an eventual response from an actual human.

I did try and peruse the "Official Blogger Blog" to see if I could puzzle something out. I learned more changes are coming -- but I can't tell if they'll create new problems for me -- I don't think so -- but nothing about why the internal search function was rendered useless.

I could push the send feedback button again, of course. But, as Einstein didn't say, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I probably won't hear from Blogger now either. But my grousing about this has already made me feel better. And maybe someone from Blogger will see this -- something about 'spiders' searching web pages -- and fix the problem. Which is all I really want anyway.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Time to clear out the Page One candidate sidebar

The March primary is pretty much ancient history at this point.

However, as I've done in the past, I'm preserving this list of 2018 candidate websites for archival purposes.

Several of these candidate websites have already been abandoned, even repurposed. But some of the candidate websites will stay up, anticipating 2020. Some may just stay 'live' because the fees have been prepaid.

No matter why they remain, interested persons (i.e., prospective candidates and their likely core supporters) can browse these sites and harvest ideas for their own campaigns to come.

Call it "research," if you like.

Without further prologue, then, here is the list:
Meanwhile, the Page One sidebar will be pruned so that only those few candidates who face contests in November will remain.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Paying for journalism -- and refusing to pay -- and why

I am obviously in favor of writers getting paid for their work.

What writer would be, could be, against that?

But, when it comes to newspapers, I have a problem.

For 30 years I was a loyal subscriber to the Chicago Tribune. I could pick it up off the front porch and read it on the train going to work. Sometimes I had more to read going home.

But, one day, some years back, when finances were unusually tight at home, even for me, I got mad. I stopped paying for my subscription.

I'd just received a bill for my annual renewal. The Tribune wanted $400 I didn't have. (If that's not the actual amount, it's close -- whatever it was, I didn't have it.)

Now anyone who is not a billionaire knows that sometimes, even when one doesn't have the funds, if the object is of sufficient import, priorities will be arranged to find a way to pay. As I was scheming about how I'd come up with the scratch for Mother Tribune.

But then one day my wife came home from school (she's the Spanish teacher at the parish grade school) and told me what her colleague had done to resolve her big renewal bill from the Tribune. Catholic grade school teachers can teach 40 years and never make what a rookie CPS teacher does. So, as pressing a problem as 400 smackers was for me, it was an even greater problem for my wife's colleague. And my wife's colleague did something about it, too. As my wife recounted the story, her friend called the Tribune subscription office and complained about the price -- and, lo and behold, she got it knocked down by more than half.

In hindsight, I've come to realize that my wife was telling me the story so that I, too, might call and complain and knock down the price. But, at that moment, I could only see red. This is how the Tribune treats loyal customers? I'd paid cheerfully and without complaint for all these years, despite the real sacrifice that the subscription cost required, when all I really had to do was beef loud enough and get the price knocked down by more than half? How much money had I wasted over the years?

If the price of a subscription is something that can be bargained for, like a piece of cloth in the bazaar, what was its real value? How could I know that I was not getting swindled at $200? At $150?

So I refused to pay the bill and I refused to call and barter.

I made do for awhile, picking up the Incredibly Shrinking Sun-Times at the L station in the morning -- by this time, the Tribune had stopped, or was just about to stop, selling on the street -- but, eventually, even the Sun-Times stopped selling through street vendors. Over time, I've gotten news increasingly from online sources -- the Tribune included -- but the erection of pay walls and monthly article limits has made this an increasingly difficult challenge. Instead of reading a newspaper -- the product of an industry that I am highly motivated to support -- I am ruining my eyesight reading Twitter posts on my phone.

The Tribune is desperately marketing its online product -- but still with fluid pricing. Why the heck should an 'introductory' subscriber get one price, while a returning customer must pay more -- and perhaps considerably more?

Another paper that allegedly covets my online subscription -- the Washington Post (the illustration here is from a recent email I received) -- apparently uses the same seemingly random pricing method.

And I am resisting. Why is it OK for me to pay $80 if the next guy has to pay $100 for the exact same product?

I sometimes fantasize about trying to make a living off my own writing. And I know I'd have to find a way to get paid in that case. As I said at the outset, I'm entirely in favor of writers getting paid for their work. Meanwhile, newspapers, with their subscription by negotiation policies, are vanishing like the dodo. I wonder if, in the years to come, when historians ponder the decline and fall of the newspaper industry, they will agree that arbitrary pricing was a factor in the industry's extinction.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A few words about "judicial temperament"

If you've been browsing through the bar association narrative candidate evaluations in the Organizing the Data posts here and on page one, you've no doubt noticed the term "judicial temperament."

The Chicago Bar Association says that "judicial temperament" is one of the eight criteria it considers when reviewing the merits of a judicial candidate (for the record, the eight categories are "integrity, legal knowledge, legal ability, professional experience, judicial temperament, diligence, punctuality, and health factors").

The Chicago Council of Lawyers likewise considers "judicial temperament" as one of the 12 factors it considers in regards to judicial candidates (the CCL's 12 categories being "fairness, including sensitivity to diversity and bias; legal knowledge and skills (competence); integrity; experience; diligence; impartiality; judicial temperament; respect for the rule of law; independence from political and institutional influences; professional conduct; character; and community service").

But what is judicial temperament and how important is it to determining a person's ability to serve (or continue to serve) as a judge?

For What It's Worth endorses no candidates and makes no recommendations about candidates. But I've been around, practicing in courts around this state for 38 years.

I can tell you that a temperate judge treats all persons in front of the bench with respect and courtesy and that a temperate judge expects and usually receives courtesy and civil behavior from those who appear in his or her court.

Nobody likes being bullied. But, sadly, a judge with a poor temperament is often a bully, pushing people around simply because he or she can, embarrassing lawyers in front of their clients, and in general not treating the people who appear in court with the respect and civility which one might expect.

On the other hand, I've appeared in front of judges who had awful temperament... and were good judges... and I've appeared in front of judges who were the distilled essence of excellent judicial temperament... and were terrible judges.

No, I'm not naming names. But one judge comes to mind -- and this was a long time ago and not in Cook County -- who was grouchy, irascible, sour, and even downright mean to everyone. In that county, at that time, some judges treated Cook County lawyers with disdain, openly favoring the members of the local bar. Not this judge. This judge didn't seem to like anyone, no matter where they maintained an office.

Now, don't get me wrong: I didn't exactly enjoy my visits to this courtroom. But, temperament aside, I thought this was a pretty good judge: From what I could observe, the judge's rulings were based on the law, sound, and understandable -- even when they went against me. I could live with that.

It beat the heck out of the alternative.

Again, years ago, there was a judge who was good temperament personified. I appeared on a regular basis in front of this judge and was always treated civilly and with respect. But I often left that courtroom coming thisclose to losing my temper. (There were a number of incidents in this courtroom where other lawyers actually did lose their tempers.) The problem was that, while this judge was a decent, nice, caring person, this judge was also indecisive, inconsistent and unpredictable.

No, the law is not an exact science. One can never predict with absolute certainty that this motion will be granted or that another motion will be denied. This is one of the many reasons why lawyers can not ethically guarantee results in any case. But many things in most cases are pretty predictable -- or should be. Judges are guided by statutes and the common law, as set out in the reported cases. In many instances, therefore, when judges follow the law, the results should be fairly predictable.

Clients hire lawyers because of the lawyer's perceived expertise and skill. A lawyer who tells a client she has a great case -- and then loses -- will likely not get more business from that client. But how do we know what is a 'good case' or a 'close case" or a 'great case' or a 'tough case'? We know the law (or we've looked it up) and we evaluate how a court or jury should respond to the facts and the governing law. I've done a lot of insurance coverage work in my time. Much of my career has been spent evaluating how a court should rule in particular circumstances and recommending client actions based on those evaluations. When I think my client has a close case, I say so, and the client decides how, or whether, to proceed. But when I evaluate a case as a strong one, one in which the statutes and cases predict victory, I expect to win.

From my perspective, therefore, if a judge doesn't follow the law and rules unpredictably, especially when I believe (in the best exercise of my professional judgment) that I have a strong case, I don't care how nice the judge may be, or how good his or her temperament is: Legal knowledge, ability, skills and respect for the law and precedent trumps temperament, in my opinion, every time.

Given my druthers, of course, I'd take both.

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What 2018 Cook County judicial race are you interested in?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Organizing the Data: 13th Subcircuit - Lawrence Vacancy

Updated March 14, 2018
Two candidates filed in the Republican primary for this vacancy; only one candidate filed in the Democratic primary. The Republican candidates are listed first.

Republican Candidates

Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald - #153



Campaign Website

Tribune Questionnaire

ICJL Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald is “Not Recommended” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Fitzgerald was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1991 and is currently senior in-house counsel for a large corporation. Mr. Fitzgerald has worked as an in-house counsel for twelve (12) years and represents the company in a variety of civil litigation matters. Mr. Fitzgerald’s prior legal experience includes: serving as a law clerk to a Cook County Chancery Court Judge (2 years); Chicago’s Office of Inspector General (3 years); General Counsel, Illinois Racing Board (3 years); and Assistant Illinois Attorney General (6 years). While Mr. Fitzgerald has had a broad range of experience, his court and trial experience is limited. He does not possess the depth and breadth of legal knowledge and practice to effectively serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Daniel P. Fitzgerald was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1991. Since 2005, he has worked as a litigation attorney for the Walgreen Company, where he currently serves as Senior Counsel. He focuses on health care litigation but has also handled employment law and environmental law cases. Previously, he was Chief Legal Counsel and Chief of the Bureau of Administrative Litigation of the Office of the Inspector General, Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services (2002-2005); General Counsel to the Illinois Racing Board (1999-2002); Assistant State’s Attorney in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office (1993-1999); and Judicial Law Clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court, Chancery Division (1991-1993).

Mr. Fitzgerald is considered to have good legal ability with a wide range of litigation and other legal experience. He has handled complex litigation on his own and as a supervisor of outside counsel. His is reported to possess a good temperament. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1991. He is currently a litigation attorney for the Walgreen's Corporation, focusing on health care litigation from case evaluation to settlement. Prior to that position, he was on the staff of the Office of inspector General, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services; General Counsel for the Illinois Racing Board; and an assistant attorney general. Attorneys reported that he has a thorough understanding of the entire legal process, and is very good at analyzing legal issues, with high integrity. He has been active with the Northwest Suburban Bar association and active with civic affairs in Barrington Township. Mr. Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoNot Evaluated
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Cook County Republican Party, 13th Subcircuit Committeemen
Highly Recommended - Illinois Civil Justice League

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Michael Perry Gerber - #154



Campaign Website

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Michael P. Gerber is “Highly Qualified” for the office Circuit Court Judge. Judge Gerber was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1980 and served as a Cook County Assistant Public Defender for four years and as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for 32 years before his appointment to the Circuit Court in 2016. Judge Gerber is highly regarded for his knowledge of the law, judicial ability, commitment to fairness, and excellent temperament.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Michael P. Gerber was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1980. He was appointed to the bench as a Circuit Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2016. He presides over criminal misdemeanors, felony preliminary hearings, and traffic matters. Previously, he worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, where he prosecuted criminal matters (1984-2016); an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County (1981-1984), where he handled motions and trials and, during his last 18 months there, felony preliminary hearings; and as an associate for Martin S. Gerber (1980-1981), where he handled civil municipal and misdemeanor cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

As a lawyer, Judge Gerber was considered to be an outstanding practitioner with very good legal ability and temperament. He was respected for his litigation skills and he had substantial litigation experience in more complex matters. He is reported to be exceptionally knowledgeable. As a judge he is reported to be handling a high volume call with efficiency and fairness. On the basis of this 2017 evaluation the Council would have found Judge Gerber to be Well Qualified.

However, subsequent to the evaluation the Council conducted in 2017, the Council notes that a post conviction judge vacated a murder case conviction that then Mr. Gerber had prosecuted many years earlier. In vacating the conviction, the judge stated in regard to Mr. Gerber, as the prosecutor, that he had made “factually false arguments to the jury” about a key piece of evidence. The judge further stated,

"This Court cannot say the prosecutor's improper remarks did not contribute to petitioner's conviction; a jury could have reached a contrary verdict had the improper remarks not been made. * * * Indeed, such statements amounted to a purposeful due process violation that led to petitioner's conviction. As such, petitioner was prejudiced by appellate counsel's failure to raise this claim."
The defendant was exonerated. The Council considers these findings to be exceptionally serious. However, the Council also must consider the totality of Judge Gerber’s well-respected career. In a close call, the Council finds Judge Gerber to be Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Michael Perry Gerber was admitted in 1980. He was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2016, and is currently assigned to the Second District (Skokie) as a Municipal Department judge. Prior to his appointment, he spent over thirty years as an assistant state's attorney after a short stint in private practice and as an assistant public defender. As a prosecutor, he had extensive criminal jury trial experience; he was cited, however, several times for improper closing arguments. As a judge, attorneys report that he makes thoughtful rulings, is very knowledgeable, researches the law and runs his courtroom efficiently. Judge Gerber is found to be Highly Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Evaluated
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Chicago Tribune
The Advocates Society (recommended)
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Democratic Candidate

Shannon P. O'Malley - #152

No Campaign Website or Campaign Facebook Page known. (According to ARDC, Mr. O'Malley, who has been licensed in Illinois since 1992, was originally licensed as Phillip Spiwak.)

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Shannon P. O’Malley declined to participate in the Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) screening process and, therefore, according to The Chicago Bar Association’s governing resolution for the JEC, is automatically found NOT RECOMMENDED.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Shannon P. O’Malley did not participate in the evaluation process. The Council finds her Not Recommended for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Shannon P. O’Malley declined to participate in the judicial evaluation process. Pursuant to ISBA guidelines, Mr. Shannon P. O’Malley is found to be Not Recommended for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Not Recommended
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoNot Recommended
Cook County Bar AssociationNot Recommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersNot Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationNot Recommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisNot Qualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisNot Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisNot Recommended

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Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every 2018 Cook County judicial race"

Organizing the Data: 6th Subcircuit - Lopez Cepero Vacancy

Updated March 19, 2018
Candidates are listed in the order that they appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Linda Perez - #157



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Linda Perez is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Perez was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 2001 and has served as a Cook County Assistant Public Defender since her admission to the bar. Ms. Perez has had varied assignments in the Public Defender’s Office including probation, juvenile justice, traffic and specialty courts. Ms. Perez is well regarded for her excellent demeanor and possesses the requisite depth and breadth of legal knowledge and experience to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Linda Perez was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2001.Since 2002, she has worked at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, where her current title is Assistant Public Defender III. She has held positions in the Felony Trial Division (2013-2018), the Juvenile Justice Division (2012-2013, 2004), the Misdemeanor Division (2005-2012), and the Civil Child Protection Division (2002-2004).

Ms. Perez is considered to have good legal ability and has a professional demeanor. She has had a variety of experiences as an Assistant Public Defender and has defended more complex matters as part of her assignment to the Felony Trial Division for the past five years. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Linda Perez has been licensed since 2001. She is a career assistant public defender who is currently assigned to Felony Trial. She is considered to be a hard-working zealous advocate. Concerns were raised, however about her lack of recent litigation and the lack of complex litigation, as well as the depth and breadth of her total experience. Ms. Linda Perez is found to be Not Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationHighly Recommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Chicago Federation of Labor
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Stephanie K. Miller - #158



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Stephanie Miller is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Miller was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1999 and is serving as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, First Chair, in the Felony Trial Division at the Leighton Criminal Court. Ms. Miller has extensive trial and court experience and is well regarded for her knowledge of law and legal ability. Ms. Miller is dedicated to public service and is actively engaged in community and bar association work.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Stephanie K. Miller was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1999. In January 2017 the Illinois Supreme Court appointed her a Circuit Court Judge to fill the Lopez-Cepero vacancy in the 6th Judicial Subcircuit. She currently presides in Central Bond Court, and served previous assignments in traffic court, as well as misdemeanor and felony preliminary hearings courtrooms. From 2001 to 2017, she was an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, where she worked in Juvenile Court, Preliminary Hearings, Felony Review, the Felony Trial Division, and the Sex Crimes Division. From 1999 to 2001 she was an Assistant Public Guardian in the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office.

As a lawyer, Judge Miller was considered to have good legal ability and temperament. She had a well-respected career as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office with substantial litigation experience in complex matters. She has earned praise for her work as a judge. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Stephanie K. Miller was admitted in 1999. She was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2017, and is currently assigned to Pretrial matters at the Leighton Criminal Court building. Prior to her appointment, Judge Miller spent 16 years as an assistant state's attorney prosecuting juvenile, felony and sex crimes. She has extensive criminal jury and bench trial experience, and is known for her solid legal knowledge and ability. She is considered to be professional with a good judicial temperament. She has been involved with bar association and community activities. Judge Stephanie K. Miller is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoHighly Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Chicago Tribune
IVI-IPO
Chicago NOW
Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7
Polish American Police Association

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Back to "Start here for the most complete information about every 2018 Cook County judicial race"

Organizing the Data: 10th Subcircuit - O'Neill Burke Vacancy

Updated March 19, 2018
Updated March 14, 2018
Candidates are listed in the order that they appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Stephanie Saltouros - #151

Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Website

ILCJ Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Stephanie Saltouros is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Saltouros was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1996 and served as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney for 12 years before entering private practice. Ms. Saltouros has substantial felony and misdemeanor trial experience. Ms. Saltouros is well regarded for her knowledge of the law, integrity, fine temperament, diligence, work ethic, good communication skills and punctuality.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Hon. Stephanie D. Saltouros was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1996. In September 2016 the Illinois Supreme Court appointed her as a Circuit Judge. She is currently a assigned to the First Municipal District in Cook County Circuit Court. Previously, she was a solo practitioner with a practice focused on criminal defense (2008-2016), and an Assistant Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office (1996-2008), where she prosecuted criminal and traffic cases. She is a member of the Pensions and Benefits Committee of the Illinois Judges Association.

Judge Saltouros is considered to have good legal ability. Respondents praised her as a prosecutor, a criminal defense practitioner, and as a judge. She is reported to have a professional demeanor. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Stephanie Saltouros has been licensed since 1996. She was appointed to the circuit court in September 2016 and is currently assigned to Domestic Violence. She was in private practice since 2008 until her appointment, after twelve years as an assistant state’s attorney. Her practice focused on criminal, domestic and traffic defense, and some civil work. She is considered to be very smart and quick to grasp legal issues, practical and even-tempered. Judge Stephanie Saltouros is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Recommended
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisHighly Qualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoHighly Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisHighly Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Cook County Democratic Party 10th Subcircuit Committeemen
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Federation of Labor
Chicago NOW
Personal PAC
The Advocates Society (recommended)
Polish American Police Association
United Hellenic Voters of America
Recommended - Illinois Civil Justice League
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Gwyn E. Ward Brown - #152


Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

ICJL Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Gwynn E. Ward Brown is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Brown was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1991 and has served as a Cook County Assistant Public Defender for 26 years. Ms. Brown has extensive experience in post-convictions and appeals and possesses the requisite legal knowledge and experience to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Gwyn E. Ward-Brown was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in 1989 and to the Illinois Bar in 1991. She is an Assistant Public Defender in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.

Ms. Brown is considered to have good legal ability who is knowledgeable about her area of law. She is reported to be a mentor in her office of other lawyers. She has substantial litigation experience, although she has been handling post conviction and appellate matters for the past five years. She is praised for her temperament. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Gwyndolette E. Ward-Brown has been licensed in Illinois since 1991, in Wisconsin since 1989. She had a solo practice in Wisconsin before moving to Illinois and becoming an assistant public defender. She has been assigned for a number of years to the Legal Resources Division, handling appeals and post-conviction matters. While she is considered to be diligent and knowledgeable in her area, she has very limited jury trial experience, all dating from approximately twenty years ago. Ms. Gwyn E. Ward-Brown is found to be Not Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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 LawyersNot Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisNot Recommended
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

------------------------------------------------------

Lorraine Murphy - #153



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Lorraine Murphy is “Not Recommended” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Murphy was admitted to practice law in 2003 and is serving as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney in the Felony Trial Division at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court. Ms. Murphy was serving as a member of the Judicial Evaluation Committee when the committee began its investigative work for candidates running in the March 2018 primary. Ms. Murphy’s “Not Recommended” finding is based on Rule 17.5 of the Judicial Evaluation Committee’s governing resolution, which reads in pertinent part “…a candidate’s participation in the evaluation shall be deemed to have occurred if the candidate is still a member of the committee on the date investigation files are first distributed to investigation teams for other judicial candidates in the same primary or general election.”
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Lorraine Lynnot Murphy was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2003. She is an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, where she currently is First Chair in a felony courtroom at the George Leighton Criminal Courthouse. She is a member of several bar associations, including the Chicago Bar Association, where she served on the Judicial Evaluation Committee.

Ms. Murphy is considered to have good legal ability. She is reported to have a good temperament and is praised for her trial skills. She has substantial experience in complex litigation matters and is currently a lead prosecutor in a felony trial courtroom. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Lorraine Murphy has been licensed since 2003. She is an assistant state’s attorney assigned to Felony Trial at the Leighton Criminal Court building. She is considered to be very accomplished attorney with substantial jury and bench trial experience and to treat all with respect. Ms. Lorraine Murphy is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoNot Evaluated
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoHighly Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisHighly Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7
IVI-IPO
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Organizing the Data: 13th Subcircuit - Crane Vacancy

Updated March 19, 2018
Updated March 17, 2018
Two Republicans and one Democrat filed for this vacancy. The Republican candidates are listed first.

Republican Candidates

Gary William Seyring - #151



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Gary William Seyring is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Seyring was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1978 and is currently engaged in private practice concentrating in family law, real estate, business law, and wills, trusts and estates. Mr. Seyring has commercial litigation experience and is well regarded for his knowledge of probate, tax and family law. Mr. Seyring is actively involved in community service and highly regarded by the judges before whom he has appeared.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Gary W. Seyring was admitted to practice in 1978. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. He is a solo practitioner focusing on domestic relations, real estate, estate planning, tax planning, and business law. A substantial percentage of Mr. Seyring’s practice involves litigation. He is considered to have good legal ability and temperament. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Gary W. Seyring has been licensed since 1978. He is a sole practitioner and a CPA focusing on domestic relations, real estate, estate planning, and business law. He does have litigation experience in those areas. It is reported that he has good legal knowledge and is diligent with a good demeanor. Mr. Gary W. Seyring is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Evaluated
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsement
Chicago Tribune

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Susanne Groebner - #152



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Susanne Groebner is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Groebner was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 2000 and is currently serving as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney in the Third Municipal District. Ms. Groebner has tried many complex cases and is well respected by judges and lawyers for her knowledge of the law, outstanding trial skills, fine demeanor and temperament.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Susanne Groebner was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2000. Since 2001, she has worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, where she currently works in the Felony Trial Division in Rolling Meadows, IL (2013-present). She previously served in the Felony Trial Division in Chicago (2008-2013); in the Felony Review, Preliminary Hearings, and Grand Jury Units (2004-2008); in the Juvenile Division (Abuse and Neglect/Delinquency, 2001-2004); and in the Child Support Division (2001).

Ms. Groebner is considered to have good legal ability. Respondents to this evaluation say that she has good litigation skills and that she is an honest and fair prosecutor. She has substantial litigation experience in more complex matters. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Susanne Groebner has been licensed since 2000. She is a career assistant state's attorney, and is currently assigned to felony courthouses in District 3 (Rolling Meadows). She has tried close to 50 criminal juries as lead counsel and hundreds of bench trials. She is considered to have a thorough knowledge of the legal process, and to be diligent, even-keeled and open-minded. In general, she is seen as honest and respectful; early campaign materials, however, improperly appeared to refer to her as a sitting judge, and the material was corrected after a complaint was filed. She is active in local youth sports activities. Ms. Susanne Groebner is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsement
Italian-American Political Coalition
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Democratic Candidate

Ketki "Kay" Steffen - #151



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Ketki Shroff Steffen is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Steffen was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1991 and was first appointed to the Circuit Court in 2010. Judge Steffen served on the bench for two years and presided over traffic, civil and criminal domestic violence cases. From 2013 to November 2015, she served as an Administrative Law Judge Arbitrator for the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Judge Steffen was reappointed to the Circuit Court in 2015 and is currently assigned to the First Municipal District where she presides over forcible detainer cases. Judge Steffen is diligent and highly regarded her knowledge of the law, judicial ability, and integrity.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Ketki Shroff Steffen was admitted to practice in 1991. She was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015 and served until December 2016. She was a career Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County. She reports being lead counsel in 30 trials that have gone to a jury verdict and over 500 that have gone to a bench verdict. She has litigated 13 cases on appeal. Ms. Steffen is reported to have good legal ability and temperament. She enjoys a reputation as a trusted and experienced criminal law litigator. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Ketki “Kay” Steffen has been licensed since 1991. In November 2015 she was appointed to the circuit court, assigned to the Third District, until December 2016. She is currently an arbitrator for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. She also served as a circuit court judge by appointment from 2010 – 2013 and was then appointed to be an Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Compensation Commission from 2013 – 2015. Before her original appointment to the bench, Ms. Steffen spent nineteen years with the State’s Attorney’s Office where she obtained extensive litigation experience. She is considered knowledgeable in a variety of areas of law and is highly regarded by attorneys who have appeared before her. Ms. Ketki Steffen is found to be Highly Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Recommended
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationRecommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersHighly Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationHighly Qualified
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoHighly Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

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Organizing the Data: 5th Subcircuit - Jones Vacancy

Updated March 19, 2018
Candidates are listed in the order that they appear on the ballot in the Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this vacancy.

Marian Emily Perkins - #155


Campaign Website (newly added)

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Judge Marian Emily Perkins is “Not Recommended” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Perkins was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1987 and served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and as staff attorney with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Judge Perkins entered private practice in 1998 and concentrated her practice largely in criminal matters. Judge Perkins was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2017 and is currently assigned to Traffic Court. While Judge Perkins is recognized for her integrity and excellent temperament, concerns about the depth of her legal knowledge and judicial ability resulted in a “Not Recommended” finding.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Marian Emily Perkins was admitted to practice in 1987. She was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court. Before taking the bench, she was a sole practitioner doing criminal law and domestic violence cases. She reports having been a trial advisor at the University of Chicago Mandel Clinic Intensive Trial Techniques Course. She was also a Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness and a Commissioner on the 2009 State of Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission. Judge Perkins, as a lawyer, had been lead counsel in more complex jury and bench trials, including a recent three day trial, and bench trials in juvenile and felony trial courtrooms. She had substantial recent experience in more complex litigation matters. Judge Perkins is reported to have good legal ability and temperament. She was praised for her trial skills as well as for her civic activities. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Marian E. Perkins was admitted in 1987. She was appointed to the Circuit Court in July, 2017, and is currently assigned to the Municipal Department, First District, Traffic section. Prior to her appointment, Judge Perkins was a sole practitioner concentrating in criminal defense and family law. Before opening her practice, she had been an assistant state's attorney, on the staff of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and an attorney with the State Appellate Defender. She has substantial jury and bench trial experience both criminal and civil, and received high marks from attorneys for her litigation skills, disposition, integrity and legal knowledge. She is a former president of the Cook County Bar Association, is active in bar association activities, and was awarded the John McAdams Pro Bono Award from the Illinois State Bar Association. Judge Marian E. Perkins is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Qualified
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoRecommended
Cook County Bar AssociationHighly Recommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersRecommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationRecommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisQualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsements
Chicago Federation of Labor
IVI-IPO
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Jenetia Marshall - #156



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
Jenetia Marshall declined to participate in the Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) screening process and, therefore, according to The Chicago Bar Association’s governing resolution for the JEC, is automatically found NOT RECOMMENDED.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
Jenetia Marshall did not participate in the evaluation process. The Council finds her Not Recommended for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
Jenetia Marshall declined to participate in the judicial evaluation process. Pursuant to ISBA guidelines, Ms. Jenetia Marshall is found to be Not Recommended for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Other Bar Association Evaluations:
Asian American Bar Association of the
Greater Chicago Area
Not Recommended
Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater ChicagoNot Recommended
Cook County Bar AssociationNot Recommended
Decalogue Society of LawyersNot Recommended
Hellenic Bar AssociationNot Recommended
Hispanic Lawyers Association of IllinoisNot Qualified
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoNot Recommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisNot Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisNot Recommended

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David L. Kelly - #157



Campaign Website

Law Bulletin Questionnaire

Tribune Questionnaire

Bar Association Evaluations

The Chicago Bar Association says:
David L. Kelly is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Kelly was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 2001 and is currently engaged in private practice concentrating in civil and criminal matters. Mr. Kelly is active in bar and community work and is well regarded for his knowledge of the law, legal experience, integrity, fine temperament, and excellent demeanor.
The Chicago Council of Lawyers says:
David Lewis Kelly was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2001. Since 2006, he has been a Solo Practitioner primarily focused on criminal defense, civil litigation, and real estate. Previously he was Of Counsel at the Property Law Group, LLC (2013-2015), where represented landlords and condominium associations, and investors and individuals in real estate transactions; and served as an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office (2001-2006). He is a member of the Cook County Bar Association, where he has served as Executive Board Member/Secretary (2013-2015) and provided pro bono services in Expungement Workshops and the Legal Assistance Program for low-income individuals.

Mr. Kelly is considered to have good legal ability. He is reported to be very knowledgeable with a good temperament. He has substantial litigation experience in more complex matters. He is praised for his litigation skills and for his integrity. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
The Illinois State Bar Association says:
David L. Kelly has been licensed since 2001. After serving as an assistant state’s attorney, he opened his own general practice in 2006, focusing on criminal defense and real estate. He has both criminal and civil trial experience. He is well-regarded for his litigation skills, knowledge and temperament, and is considered to be ethical and respectful. He is active in bar associations and legal clinics. Mr. David L. Kelly is found to be Qualified for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
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
Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of ChicagoRecommended
Puerto Rican Bar Association of IllinoisHighly Recommended
Women’s Bar Association of IllinoisRecommended

Endorsement
Chicago Tribune

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