Saturday, August 01, 2015

ISBE publishes 2016 Candidate Guide, Election and Campaign Finance Calendar

If you're going to play the game, you've got to know the rules.

The Illinois State Board of Elections has published the rulebooks for the current election cycle. Here is a link to the 2016 Candidate Guide. Here, too, a link to the 2016 Election and Campaign Finance Calendar (both of these are .pdf documents).

Judicial candidates can begin circulating petitions as soon as one month from today -- September 1. The regular filing period opens November 23 and closes November 30.

Nominating petitions for judicial vacancies occurring during the interval from November 9 through November 30 will be accepted from December 14 through December 21.

The ISBE has not yet posted a list of Cook County judicial vacancies -- but if this election cycle is like the last one, we can expect a list to go up sometime in August. Whenever the list does go up, it will still be subject to change if and when new vacancies are posted.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Devlin J. Schoop appointed to the Cook County Circuit Court

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Devlin J. Schoop to the Cook County Circuit Court vacancy that will be created at the end of this month, when Judge Themis N. Karzenis retires.

The appointment, which was announced by Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Supreme Court in a press release dated July 22, is effective August 10 and will expire on December 5, 2016.

Schoop has been a partner with the law firm of Laner Muchin since 2008. He was a finalist for Associate Judge in 2014. Licensed in Illinois since 1997, Schoop began his legal career as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Blanche M. Manning. Before joining Laner Muchin in 2003, Schoop worked for the firm of Wildman Harrold.

The Supreme Court had previously appointed Schoop to serve on the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; he has served as a panel chair for the ARDC Hearing Board since 2011. He has also volunteered his time for the Cook County Bar Association Criminal Expungement Project and the Center for Elder and Disability Law. Schoop has sat on the boards of the Center for Conflict Resolution and the Cy Pres Award Committee for the Chicago Bar Foundation. He served on the associate board of the Jane Addams Hull House association and recently completed a term on the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rossana Fernandez campaign website launched

Supporters of Judge Rossana Fernandez's bid to remain on the Cook County Circuit Court bench have launched a campaign website. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Fernandez to the countywide Elrod vacancy earlier this year. Fernandez's website notes that she is the daughter of immigrant parents for Uruguay and Guatemala. Before establishing her own firm, Fernandez became the "first Latina Partner" at the law firm of Sanchez & Daniels (in 2007) (Manuel "Manny" Sanchez is co-chairing her campaign).

According to her campaign website, prior to her appointment, Fernandez served on the Board of Governors for the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel and was an active member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel and Defense Research Institute. Fernandez continues to serve on the Board of Governors for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and is an active member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Justinian Society of Lawyers and Women’s Bar Association.

Judge Fernandez graduated from Chicago Kent IIT College of Law in 1996. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois (in English literature and history). She is a graduate of Chicago's Lane Technical High School. Growing up in Chicago, according to her campaign website, Fernandez was a member of the Erie Neighborhood House Drill Team. She later volunteered there and served as a mentor where she later volunteered and served as a mentor. Fernandez continues to serve as a volunteer with Chicago Cares, "assisting with customized service projects that benefit the Chicago community, particularly the Chicago Public School System," according to her campaign website.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maryam Ahmad campaign website up and running

A campaign website has been established for Judge Maryam Ahmad. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Ahmad's campaign website touts her "15 years of legal experience and an additional 14 years of service in higher education," noting that she has served as both an Assistant Public Defender and as an Assistant State's Attorney and also "represented plaintiffs and defendants in corporate and civil litigation cases."

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Ahmad to the Brim vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit late last year.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 23 kick off for Judge Rossana P. Fernandez campaign

Supporters of Judge Rossana P. Fernandez are planning a kick off fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, July 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at La Taberna, 1301 S. Halsted. Co-hosting the event are Manuel "Manny" Sanchez and Jim Morici.

Tickets for the fundraiser are priced at $100 each, and sponsorships are available (Chair - $1,000, Host - $500, or Patron - $250). For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, contact Aaron Sofian at (773) 414-5156, or by email at

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Fernandez to the countywide Elrod vacancy earlier this year.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

AUSA Carrie Hamilton appointed to 12th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie E. Hamilton to the 12th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Sandra Tristano.

Hamilton's appointment is effective July 17 and terminates December 5, 2016.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996, Hamilton has been involved in a number of high profile public corruption cases while with the U.S. Attorney's Office, including the trials of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Tony Rezko. More recently, Hamilton was involved in the pending prosecution of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Justice Theis announces application process for 6th Subcircuit vacancy

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis has announced that applications will be accepted to fill a 6th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Leida J. Gonzalez Santiago.

The application deadline is 4:00 p.m., Friday, July 31. In order to be eligible for consideration by Justice Theis's screening committee, an applicant "must be a lawyer in good standing licensed to practice law in Illinois and a resident of the Sixth Subcircuit."

Interested lawyers will find instructions on how to request an application on the Supreme Court's website at From there, follow the instructions on the "Latest News" scroller announcing the Sixth Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County vacancy.

According to the Supreme Court's press release, completed applications may be submitted by mail to the attention of Ms. Laurie Marino at the Supreme Court's Chicago office, 160 N. LaSalle Street, Suite N2013, or by email to

Saturday, July 04, 2015

John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr. appointed to Biebel vacancy

Updated 7/8/15 to provide link to Supreme Court press release

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Hyde Park criminal defense attorney John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr. to the countywide vacancy created by the imminent retirement of Criminal Division Presiding Judge Paul P. Biebel, Jr. The Illinois Supreme Court issued a press release about the appointment on July 7.

Judge Biebel's retirement is effective Monday (per the July 1 edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin).* Lyke's appointment is effective July 16, and terminates December 5, 2016. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1994, Lyke served as a prosecutor before entering private practice, according to his firm website.
* A subscription is ordinarily required to access Law Bulletin stories, but this article was posted on the paper's website as a "free read."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lindsay Hugé announces 2016 judicial bid

Lindsay Hugé, a veteran Assistant Public Defender, has announced his intent to run for the Cook County Circuit Court in the 2016 Democratic Primary. That's a link to Hugé's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog sidebar.

Hugé has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1989, and has been with the Public Defender's office throughout his career. According to his campaign website, Hugé also taught history at DePaul University from 2001 to 2003 and has taught law and history at Columbia College since 1998. While still teaching and practicing law, Hugé found time to earn a second M.A. in literature from DePaul in 2008 (he earned an M.A. in history from Loyola University Chicago in 2000) and an LLM in intellectual property from John Marshall Law School in 2014.

According to his campaign website, Hugé also serves on the boards of the Cliff Dwellers Club and the City Lit Theater.

Hugé resides in Uptown with his wife and son. He has launched his campaign with a $50,000 donation, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fundraiser for Judge Edward J. King set for Wednesday, June 24

Supporters of Judge Edward J. King's bid to hold his 4th Subcircuit seat are planning a fundraiser for their candidate this Wednesday, June 24, starting at 5:00 p.m. at the Via Bella Restaurant, 5412 S. LaGrange Road in Countryside.

Tickets for the event are $75 apiece and will be available at the door.

For more information about the event, or to reserve tickets, call (630) 247-1890 or email

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed King to the Kunkle vacancy in the 4th Subcircuit last October.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Brendan O'Brien campaign website launched

Brendan O'Brien's judicial campaign now has launched a campaign website. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

O'Brien has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996. He was an appropriations and research analyst on the staff of House Speaker Mike Madigan in 1991-1992, after taking his bachelor's degree at Illinois State and before starting his law school career at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. O'Brien has practiced with Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP since 1999.

Brendan O'Brien is the grandson of Judge Donald J. O'Brien, the longtime presiding judge of the Chancery Division, and the son of retired Judge Donald J. O'Brien, Jr. Brendan is married to Jessica A. O'Brien, who was elected to the Cook County bench in 2012.

Campaign website found for Judge Jerry Esrig

Judge Jerry Esrig is running to hold onto the Berman vacancy in the 9th Judicial Subcircuit. That's a link to Esrig's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the candidate list in the blog Sidebar as well.

Judge Esrig is serving in his second appointment to the Circuit Court. First appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2013, Esrig ran unsuccessfully in the 2014 primary, falling short in a race that, in the opinions of the several screening bar associations, featured two of the most highly qualified or recommended candidates (Esrig being one of them) in the entire 2014 primary field.

As a judge, Esrig's "assignments have included the Municipal Jury Trial Assignment Call," described by his campaign website as "a challenging, high-volume call which includes emergency motion, case management, status, assignment, motions of course and fully briefed substantive motion calls." Esrig was licensed as an attorney in 1978 and, before his appointment to the bence, was a founding partner in the firm of Zaideman & Esrig, P.C.. From roughly 1985-1999 the firm was known as Epstein, Zaideman & Esrig, PC. (former Appellate Court Justice James Epstein, was a partner in that firm before he went on the bench). According to his website, Esrig "represented individuals who have been profoundly injured in catastrophic events" and "small and medium sized businesses and associations in commercial matters."

According to his campaign website, Esrig served as secretary and then president of Am Yisrael Synagogue. As president, he helped initiate construction of the Rabbi William and Toby Frankel Religious Education Center. He has also coached AYSO soccer and Evanston Youth Baseball.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Found on the Internet: 2016 Campaign website for Maureen O'Donoghue Hannon

Found on the Internet: A campaign website has been put up for Assistant State's Attorney Maureen O'Donoghue Hannon. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; the link will be added to the blog Sidebar (which I am obviously going to have to put up soon).

Hannon was briefly a candidate in the 2014 election cycle, withdrawing in January 2014 and leaving the Democratic Party's slated candidate (and the eventual victor) Diana Rosario in a one-on-one contest with Stephen J. Feldman. Hannon's campaign website at this point is an updated version of her 2014 site; she has also launched a 2016 campaign page on Facebook.

Licensed in Illinois since 1991, Hannon's website notes that for the past four years she has served as Supervisor of the Conflicts Counsel Unit in the State's Attorney's Office, representing "County defendants in cases with a potential conflict of interest that were formerly sent out to private firms." Hannon has worked in several different capacities in the State's Attorney's Civil Action Bureau during the course of her career.

Cook County Democrats to "pre-slate" judicial candidates next week

From the Cook County Democratic Party website:
Pre-Slating will be held June 25-26 for offices up for election in 2016. Please contact the Cook County Democratic Party for the information needed to be submitted prior to receiving a scheduled time for this process. Slating will be held in August of 2015, dates to be announced. For questions or further information please contact the office at (312) 263-0575.
Appearing at the "pre-slating" process is, of course, no substitute for a close, personal relationship with one or more, or preferably dozens, of ward and township committeemen. But, for the candidate interested in obtaining Party support, what can it hurt?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Judge Shoffner's campaign announces June 23 fundraiser, campaign website

Supporters of Judge Robin D. Shoffer's bid to remain on the bench are planning a Tuesday, June 23 fundraiser for their candidate, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Metropolitan Club on the 67th floor of the Willis Tower.

The suggested donation for the event is $250. Persons interested in attending are encouraged to email or call (312) 288-7265 as soon as possible for tickets or more information.

Meanwhile, as the hyperlink in the first sentence of this post indicates, Judge Shoffner's campaign now has a website; that's a link to it. (The link will be added to the blog Sidebar when the list of candidate websites is put up.)

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Judge Shoffner to the Williams-Hayes vacancy in the 5th Subcircuit late last year. Before becoming a judge, Shoffner served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago. Shoffner's campaign bio clarifies that she served two stints in the Corporation Counsel's office, the first time early in her career. Shoffner began her legal career working as a law clerk for then-Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Mackoff; later, before moving onto the City Department of Law, Shoffner served as a law clerk to the late Appellate Court Justice Glenn T. Johnson. In between stints with the Corp Counsel's office, Shoffner worked in a number of private-sector positions including a seven year hitch with Aon Service Corporation as senior litigation counsel.

According to her campaign website, Judge Shoffner served as president of the Black Women Lawyers Association (in 1996). She has also served on the board of the Cook County Bar Association and, among many other community activities, as a member of the Pastoral Council and Finance Council of Holy Angels Church.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 18 fundraiser for Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke

Supporters of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke's bid for the Illinois Appellate Court are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Thursday, June 18 at fadó Irish Pub, 100 W. Grand Ave., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Individual tickets for the event are $150 each, but sponsorships are available (Bronze - $250, Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000, or Platinum - $5,400).

To reserve tickets for the event, visit Judge Burke's campaign website. For more information concerning the event, email

Saturday, June 13, 2015

All Cook County Associate Judges retained for new four-year terms; some Downstate judges rejected by their colleagues

Three hundred seventy six of the 384 associate judges who sought new terms were reelected to the bench by their full-circuit colleagues, according to election results announced this week by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. Every one of the 140 Cook County associate judges who applied was chosen for a new four-year term.

Of the eight Downstate judges who sought retention unsuccessfully, one was from Will County (12th Judicial Circuit) and another was from the 6th Judicial Circuit (the circuit which includes Champaign County). According to Beth Hundsdorfer's article in the June 11 editions of the Belleville News-Democrat, the other six were from Madison and St. Clair Counties, including the only African-American jurist in St. Clair County, Laninya Cason, and the only two African-American judges in Madison County, Duane Bailey and Ben Beyers.

According to Hunsdorfer's article, every one of the six judges not retained in Madison and St. Clair Counties had been recommended for retention by the Illinois State Bar Association with the sole exception of Judge Cason. "In recent years," Hunsdorfer reported, "Cason switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican."

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39(a)(1) provides, in pertinent part, "The terms of all associate judges in office shall expire on June 30th of every fourth year subsequent to 1975, regardless of the date on which any judge is appointed."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke announces Appellate Court bid

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Eileen O'Neill Burke has announced plans to seek a seat on the Appellate Court in the 2016 Democratic Primary. That's a link to Judge Burke's campaign website in the preceding sentence; the link will be added to a blog Sidebar when enough Appellate Court candidate websites are accumulated.

Judge Burke currently presides over an individual calendar in the Commercial Calendar Section of the Law Division. Since her election to the Circuit Court in 2008, Judge Burke has served in a number of assignments, including a Law Division motion call. Burke's website notes that, before becoming a judge, Burke had her own firm, handling both criminal defense and civil matters. She began her career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, serving there for 10 years and, along the way, writing "more than 100 appellate briefs, and [arguing] more than 35 times in the 1st District Appellate Court." Also, according to her campaign website, Burke has also argued three cases before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Judge Burke has served on the Alumni Board of Directors of her law school alma mater, IIT Chicago Kent Law School, since 2012. Her campaign website also notes that she has served as a "host judge" for Women Everywhere, welcoming underprivileged high school girls to the courthouse and presenting information about different career options. Judge Burke has also participated, according to her campaign website, as a presenter in the "Civics in the Classroom" and "7 Reasons to Leave the Party" programs sponsored by the Illinois Judges Association (on which she serves as a member of the Board of Directors).

According to Judge Burke's campaign website, her campaign is being co-chaired by retired Appellate Court Justice Michael Gallagher and retired Circuit Court Judge Maureen Durkin Roy. Her Finance Committee Co-Chairs are Robert Cooney, Terrence J. Sheahan, and Matthew Walsh, II.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Richard C. Cooke kicks off 2016 campaign -- and the potential unintended consequences of a campaign loan

Appearing before the Cook County Democratic Party's judicial slatemakers in August 2013, Richard C. Cooke did not flinch when asked whether he would run against the Party if left off the ticket. If you don't slate me today, Cooke said, "consider this my 2016 kick-off then."

Cooke wasn't slated in 2013, but he has kicked-off his 2016 judicial candidacy in a big way -- one that may have an impact on many Cook County judicial campaigns this primary season -- or maybe not -- but we will come to that in time.

First, we introduce Cooke. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1992, Cooke began his legal career doing subrogation work for Northbrook attorney Michael R. Kuzel and, later, in-house for CNA Insurance Companies. Since 1997, Cooke has operated his own firm, carving out a niche for himself in the petroleum industry, with a focus on Illinois EPA regulatory statutes and underground storage tank issues. His résumé notes that he's drafted sample facility EPA compliance and operation manuals that are in use at gas stations throughout Illinois. Along the way, Cooke says he's had over 200 bench trials and over 25 jury verdicts -- and, since 2008, he's operated a self-funded free legal aid clinic for needy families and individuals in the Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.

Cooke's current campaign committee was set up on April 16, 2015, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. It's what he did on April 21, however, that is newsworthy. On that date, Cooke loaned his committee $500,000.

No, that's not a misprint.

I confirmed the loan in a conversation with Cooke earlier this week. Cooke is serious about winning election to the bench, he told me, but reluctant to hit up friends, family and clients for campaign donations. He had the wherewithal, Cooke said, to self-fund a strong, credible campaign -- and so he loaned his campaign the half a million.

Nice story, right? The independence and impartiality of the judiciary is of vital import to continued public confidence in our courts. Many serious observers are worried about the potentially corrupting influence of money in electoral politics and particularly in judicial elections. Raising campaign funds makes a lot of potential judicial candidates uneasy. So it's tempting to stop the story right here -- with a candidate who has (spectacularly) demonstrated an ability to avoid the whole troublesome question of fundraising.

But this is Illinois. And Cooke's actions -- well-intentioned as they may be -- may have unintended consequences.

Readers may recall the name William J. Kelly from the Chicago mayoral election just past. No, his name never appeared on the ballot, even in the primary (he never filed nominating petitions). But Kelly announced that he was running for Mayor of Chicago, formed a committee, and, last October, loaned his campaign $100,000.

Kelly told the Tribune last October that he intended by his action "to level the playing field" in the mayoral race, and perhaps that was his intention -- but it had the effect of blowing the caps off all campaign contributions for all mayoral candidates under Illinois law.

Here's why. Section 9-8.5(h) of the Illinois Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/9-8.5(h), provides, in pertinent part, "If a public official, a candidate, or the public official's or candidate's immediate family contributes or loans to the public official's or candidate's political committee or to other political committees that transfer funds to the public official's or candidate's political committee or makes independent expenditures for the benefit of the public official's or candidate's campaign during the 12 months prior to an election in an aggregate amount of more than (i) $ 250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $ 100,000 for all other elective offices, then * * * all candidates for that office, including the nominee who filed the notification of self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limit imposed by subsection (b) for the subsequent election cycle." There are notices that have to be filed, and posted on the ISBE website, and given to other candidates -- but the bottom line is that, once one candidate for a particular office self-funds beyond the statutory limit, all candidates for that office are exempt from contribution limits.

That's easy enough to follow when one is running for mayor or governor -- there's only one of each -- but there are a number of Cook County judicial vacancies. We don't even know all of the judicial vacancies that will be up for election in the 2016 Primary.

So... did a gesture meant to express independence from the arguably corrosive, corrupting influence of campaign donations inadvertently blow the lid off all campaign contribution limits in all Cook County judicial races?

Section 9.8-5(h) is not entirely clear, acknowledged Ken Menzel, General Counsel of the Illinois State Board of Elections. In a telephone conversation with FWIW yesterday, Menzel explained that there would have been less of a problem if the loan had come much later in the election cycle. Right now judicial candidates are, theoretically, potential candidates for many possible vacancies. However, Menzel pointed our that regulations were recently adopted (on May 19, in fact) that may provide guidance. Menzel cited FWIW to Title 26 of the Illinois Administrative Code, Section 100.75. Section 100.75(j)(2) states that, "'Candidate for the same office' shall be determined by candidate petition filings. Prior to the actual filing of petitions for a particular office, a candidate for that office wishing to receive official notice of a Self-Funding Notification from the Board must inform the Board in writing of his or her intention to seek nomination or election to the office in question."

At this point -- since Cooke has not declared for any specific vacancy and petitions can not yet be legally circulated -- it is probably safe to say that campaign finance caps (currently $5,400 from individuals, $10,800 from corporations, labor organizations or associations) remain in place for all judicial campaign committees except Cooke's -- and he's not looking for more money. "That's almost certainly the legislative intent," one prominent election law attorney told me, though he would not comment for the record because of the possibility that this issue might be settled in the courts.

Hopefully, it won't get that far. Judicial candidates are more "risk-averse" than candidates for most offices, Ken Menzel observed, and therefore might not press the issue by seeking or accepting over-large donations. And, even if the ISBE might not cite a judicial campaign committee for accepting campaign contributions in excess of the caps because of the Cooke campaign loan, Menzel noted that, under §9-20 of the Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/9-20, any person who believes that the campaign finance laws have been violated may file a verified complaint with the ISBE, triggering a an administrative process that could wind up in court.

For his part, Cooke has not set his sights on a particular vacancy. In 2013 Cooke said he wouldn't run against the Democratic Party in 2014 if he was not slated, and he didn't. This week Cooke told me that nothing has changed; he still does not plan to run against the Party if he is not slated. On the other hand, the Democratic Party has a half million reasons to listen carefully to Cooke's pitch at the next slating meeting.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Celeste Jones announces 2016 judicial bid

A reader alerted me to the 2016 judicial candidacy of Celeste Jones, an attorney in the Public Guardian's Office (Jones is listed in the current Sullivan's as Supervisor of Accounts and Assistant Public Guardian in the Adult Guardianship Division). That's a link to Jones' campaign website in the preceding sentence. Her site will be added to the list in a blog Sidebar when enough of these accumulate.

Jones has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1995. According to her campaign website, Jones has been with the Public Guardian's Office for her entire career, starting in the Juvenile Division, representing "hundreds of child clients affected by the child welfare system," winning promotion to "Lead Attorney" and handling child abuse cases. Jones moved to the Adult Guardianship Division over 12 years ago, managing, according to her campaign site, "the personal and financial affairs of people with disabilities, most of whom were elderly."

Jones' campaign site notes that she "is a past Committee Chair and currently serves on the planning committee for Women Everywhere: Partners In Service Project" and also serves as a board member of Our Community of Illinois. A graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Loyola Chicago School of Law, Jones is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

FAQ's about FWIW

Now that Cook County judicial candidates are starting to reveal their 2016 plans, this seems an appropriate time to address some questions prospective candidates or their supporters may have about this blog. (A lot of this stuff is already addressed in the blog Sidebar, but it may not hurt to spell it out here, too.)
  1. This is a non-partisan blog. I want to cover all candidates running for judge in Cook County. Because Democratic candidates have historically enjoyed such tremendous success in this county, most of the posts here will be about candidates in the Democratic primary. But I will gladly cover Republican candidates, too. If a candidate has a website, I will link to it and (when I get it set up) post it in the blog Sidebar.
  2. This blog does not make endorsements. I'm sure to know some of the candidates who will be covered here, whether I've had cases with or against them over the years, or we've officed together, or because we've met through bar functions, or because we've met through this blog. I will mention significant connections, but I don't think the public cares how many candidates I've met and I am certain the public does not care who I intend to vote for. I've made an editorial decision to try and present all candidates in the most positive light that I can, especially in my first post about a campaign. When the bar association evaluations come out, later in the election cycle, I will also report these -- and, of course, not all of the evaluations will be positive. But I'm not going to go out of my way to slam anyone.

    I believe the best candidates will distinguish themselves when as much information about all candidates as possible is presented for the voters' consideration. In addition to bar evaluations, I will advise of newspaper endorsements (if they're made) or community group or union endorsements (when I can verify them). On the other hand, while I won't make individual endorsements, I have been a lawyer for 35 years and I have fairly well-developed opinions about what I want for my clients when I appear in court. I reserve the right to talk about that -- in general terms -- in future posts.
  3. I want to publicize candidates' events. I'm happy to put up information about candidate fundraisers. But I will cheerfully publicize other candidate events as well. (Organizers of candidate forums are encouraged to contact this blog so I can promote their events.) If a candidate wants to promote a speaking engagement or publicize a petition party, I'll run that, too. I will try and include photographs if the candidate or his or her campaign provides them. Please keep in mind that I have my own practice to run and I can't possibly find out about all candidate events on my own. That means I rely on candidate requests for publicity. I'm sure I'll hear from some campaigns ten times or more; there will probably be others that I'll never hear from once. That does not mean I'm playing favorites; I'm merely responding to the email I receive.
  4. Judicial candidates and committees do not pay for posts appearing on this blog. I do not book the Google ads on that appear on this page, and candidate ads may sometimes appear in those spaces, but I personally do not accept candidate ads. (I will accept ads from persons or companies looking to offer products or services to judicial candidates; see the blog Sidebar for additional information.)

    In this early stage of the election cycle, judicial election posts on FWIW are read primarily by candidates, their supporters, and persons who are thinking about running for judge in the future. A lot of judges tell me that they visit here regularly; so do persons affiliated with the various bar association judicial evaluation committees. Ultimately, however, as the primary date draws close, this site will be increasingly visited by voters looking for information. The information that candidates and their supporters have provided, post by post, will be collected and 'packaged' for the voters. Candidates may want to look at past Organizing the Data posts to get a feel for the kind of information has been collected and posted. I'm always looking to enhance the functionality of this site and I reserve the right to make any improvements within my abilities.)
  5. I am a lawyer, not a professional journalist. However, since professional journalists insist on ignoring judicial elections, I will do the best I can. Having run for judge twice myself (in 1994 and 1996) I appreciate just how little opportunity judicial candidates have to get their credentials before the public. I've already stated my editorial bias in favor of trying to present candidates in the best possible light, at least in my initial post about any given campaign. However, I reserve the right to fact-check information provided, to add information I've discovered on my own, to combine or even ignore duplicative releases. In short, I reserve the right to edit.
  6. Comments on this blog are 'moderated.' This means I read any comment that anyone cares to leave and decide whether or not it will get posted. I will not automatically exclude anonymous comments, but I'd greatly prefer you leave a name. I don't think that comments from friends and family like "he's the best" or "she's the most qualified" are going to really sway any voters when the time comes -- but I will generally let these kinds of comments through. I will, however, block "attack" comments, especially from anonymous commenters.

    I understand that this is a blog and there is an expectation, for better or worse, that all Internet commentary should be freewheeling and even pungent. But this is my blog and I reserve the right to have my own expectations.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pat Heneghan announces Cook County judicial bid

Commercial litigator Pat Heneghan has announced plans to seek a countywide judicial vacancy in the March 2016 Democratic primary. That's a link to Heneghan's campaign website in the preceding sentence. (When I collect enough of these, there will be an alphabetical list of candidate websites in a sidebar to this blog.)

Heneghan is currently a partner in the law firm of Schopf & Weiss LLP. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1983, Heneghan is a graduate of The Catholic University School of Law. Heneghan began his legal career as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Vining (N.D. Ga.) and 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jerre Williams. Among other career accomplishments, Heneghan was one of the lead counsel for Ehlco Liquidating Trust in the case of Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Ehlco Liquidating Trust, 186 Ill.2d 127 (1999).

According to his campaign website, Heneghan is the immediate past President of the Northeast Illinois Council (NEIC) of the Boy Scouts of America, former Chairman of the NEIC Eagle Scout Committee, a member of the NEIC Executive Board, and an Assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 156 in Glenview. An Eagle Scout himself, according to his campaign website, Heneghan "has mentored hundreds of young men and women by teaching them outdoor skills and citizenship values."

Heneghan's campaign is being chaired by Thomas Vasiljevich, a shareholder in the Chicago office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Norwood Park remembers -- Memorial Day 2015

The rain held off just long enough for the annual Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade today.  Herewith some photos of the occasion.

The parade's Grand Marshal was Air Force veteran Ramina Oraha, a 2003 graduate of Resurrection High School who served in Iraq.  This story, on DNAinfo Chicago, explains why Oraha was chosen.

No neighborhood parade is complete without a large contingent of scout groups.  The first such group in Monday's parade was Pack 3926 from Immaculate Conception Grade School

It wouldn't be a Chicago parade without politicians.  Newly elected 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano had a group wedged in between the IC scout groups.

The IC Girl Scouts

More of today's parade pictures follow on Page Two.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Brendan O'Brien plans June 17 fundraiser

Hinshaw & Culbertson partner Brendan O'Brien is planning a 2016 judicial bid. O'Brien's campaign committee has announced a fundraiser in support of this effort for Wednesday, June 17, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Chicago offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, 222 North LaSalle Street, Suite 300.

Tickets for the event are $100 each, and sponsorships are available for $500. To order tickets, or for more information about the event, email by June 10.

O'Brien has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996. He was an appropriations and research analyst on the staff of House Speaker Mike Madigan in 1991-1992, after taking his bachelor's degree at Illinois State and before starting his law school career at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Brendan is the grandson of Judge Donald J. O'Brien, who was the longtime presiding judge of the Chancery Division, and the son of retired Judge Donald J. O'Brien, Jr. Brendan is married to Jessica A. O'Brien, who was elected to the Cook County bench in 2012.

Who sits where -- not as early as I thought 2016 edition

Updated and corrected 5/21/15. My thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who corrected my error regarding the origin of the 12th Subcircuit vacancy.

What follows is not a comprehensive list of Cook County judicial vacancies, but rather a list of vacancies that have been filled by Supreme Court appointment. There may be (and often are) vacancies which the Supreme Court has not filled. There will be additional vacancies, and additional appointments between now and late fall when the Illinois State Board of Elections posts an authoritative list of judicial vacancies in anticipation of the 2016 primary.

As always, errors or omissions in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Appellate Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. James R. Epstein -- Stuart E. Palmer
Vacancy of the Hon. Patrick J. Quinn -- Bertina E. Lampkin

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Richard J. Elrod -- Rossana P. Fernandez
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas L. Hogan -- Alison Conlon
Vacancy of the Hon. Michael J. Howlett, Jr. -- Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie
Vacancy of the Hon. Noreen Valeria Love -- Jean Margaret Cocozza
Vacancy of the Hon. Patrick W. O'Brien -- James L. Kaplan
Vacancy of the Hon. Susan Ruscitti-Grussel -- Daniel J. Duffy

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Cynthia Y. Brim -- Maryam Ahmad
Vacancy of the Hon. Vanessa A. Hopkins -- Anthony E. Simpkins

4th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. William J. Kunkle -- Edward John King

5th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Jane L. Stuart -- Freddrenna M. Lyle
Vacancy of the Hon. Shelli Williams-Hayes -- Robin D. Shoffner

6th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy* -- Anna M. Loftus

7th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Anthony L. Burrell -- Marianne Jackson

9th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Andrew Berman -- Jerry A. Esrig

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Garritt E. Howard -- Eve M. Reilly

11th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Carol A. Kelly -- Marc William Martin
Vacancy of the Hon. Susan F. Zwick -- William B. Sullivan

12th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy** -- Roger G. Fein

I will update this list periodically, as new vacancies are announced or filled. I captioned this the 'not as early as I thought' edition because -- although I'd heard from a number of people asking when I'd get around to putting this list up -- I was certain that it was to soon to do so. This morning, however, when I looked in my archives, I realized that I'd put up a similar list in anticipation of the March 2014 primary in March 2013. But we didn't have a mayoral election in 2013. Apparently, I'm still suffering from election fatigue. Perhaps you are as well.

But the 2016 election cycle is -- however early you may think it is -- absolutely underway.

A navigation tip that blog newcomers may find helpful: If you click on one of the subjects at the bottom of this post, e.g., "2016 Judicial Primary," you will get a page filled with blog posts similarly tabbed, starting with the most recent post at the top.

* This is the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William J. Maddux. Vacancies of judges elected to city-only or suburbs-only judicial vacancies prior to the adoption of the subcircuit system in the early 1990s are assigned to subcircuits as they occur pursuant to a schedule included in the original subcircuit legislation.

** This is the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert J. Quinn. Like Judge Maddux, Judge Quinn was elected to a 'Chicago-only' Circuit Court vacancy in 1992, the last time judges were elected on a citywide or suburbs-only basis (and also the first time judges were elected from Cook County Subcircuits).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Oak Park solo appointed to 11th Subcircuit vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court yesterday announced the appointment of Oak Park solo practitioner William B. Sullivan to the Susan F. Zwick vacancy in the 11th Judicial Subcircuit. The appointment is effective June 11 and terminates on December 5, 2016.

The Supreme Court appointed Sullivan pursuant to the recommendation of Justice Mary Jane Theis, after screening of applications for the vacancy by her bi-partisan judicial screening committee.

The Supreme Court's press release notes Sullivan's practice experience in a "variety of civil matters including real estate, bank and business transactions, estate planning, landlord-tenant disputes and probate and trust administration." Sullivan has also served as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, De Paul University Law School (he's a 1992 graduate), as a hearing officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections, and was twice elected President of the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools, according to the Supreme Court.

In addition to pro bono work assisting pro se litigants in small claims matters, Sullivan has served as president of the Oak Park-River Forest High School Alumni Association; vice-president of the Oak Park Area Arts Council; president of the Oak Park Huskies Baseball Club; and as a member of the Board of Directors of L'Arche Chicago, a not-for-profit social services organization; and the Oak Park Township Senior Services Committee. Sullivan is a cantor and lector at St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy Parish, according to the Supreme Court.

Updated to provide more current photograph

Judicial Evaluation Committees looking for new members

Both the Chicago Bar Association and the members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening are looking for help.

The CBA is looking for members to serve in the Investigation Division of its Judicial Evaluation Committee. Current members need not reapply; interested newcomers should download this application from the CBA website and return it to Therese Kurth by fax at 312-554-2054 or by email at by May 15.

Members of Alliance bar groups looking to volunteer for a JEC should contact Alliance Administrator Joyce Williams at 312-920-4676 or email her at

The CBA says that this is one of its busiest years in a long time; there are a lot of persons interested in becoming a judge (full disclosure: I have applied for associate judge).

The CBA also says JEC investigators "will learn a great deal about the legal profession while assisting in the JEC's mission to improve the Cook County judiciary." To this I would add -- as long-time FWIW readers already know -- a great many current judges were, at one time, members of one or more judicial evaluation committees. If you are interested in becoming a judge some day (i.e., not in 2016) service on a JEC would (in addition to providing a useful service to the local bench and bar) provide an opportunity to learn more about the judicial selection process and, perhaps, forge connections that may be helpful in someday realizing your own ambitions.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Illinois Judges Foundation Comedy Night set for April 29

The Illinois Judges Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois Judges Association, is presenting a Comedy Night on Wednesday, April 29, at the ISBA's Chicago office, 20 South Clark Street, 9th floor. A reception precedes the show at 5:00 p.m.; the show starts at 6:15 p.m.

Pat McGann Jr. (pictured at left) is the evening's headliner, but other comedians will also perform. The pre-show reception will feature refreshments and a silent auction.

Tickets are $100 each and proceeds support the charitable initiatives of the Illinois Judges Foundation. To buy tickets in advance, click this link to be connected to the payment page on the IJF website.

Monday, March 23, 2015

IRS phone scammer trolling for victims

We've gotten this call twice now at home in the past week or so. The message is delivered by a woman with no discernible accent:
Final notice from IRS, Internal Revenue Services.

The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department number (360) 663-4445. I repeat, (360) 663-4445.* Thank you.
I laughed it off the first time I heard it. The reason of this call? IRS is filing lawsuit against you? Even without an accent, I could not help but visualize Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle when I played the message back. But my wife got to the answering machine first the second time the call came in and she was not initially inclined to laugh off the grammar.

"It's a scam," I said, attempting to reassure her.

"Are you sure?" she asked.

Yes, I'm sure, and the IRS is also sure. I spoke this morning with Joe Muñoz in the Chicago office of IRS media relations, and he directed me to this statement from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: "If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling. The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business."

The IRS says it will never do any of the following:
  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If someone calls and says they are from the IRS and yet does one or more of these things, it's a scam. The IRS asks that anyone getting such a call should contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration toll-free at (800) 366-4484. There's even an online form that persons contacted by a scammer can complete. The IRS also recommends that persons receiving calls of this kind also make a report to the FTC.

Granted, regular FWIW readers are among the least likely persons to fall victims to this sort of scam -- but many of us have elderly relatives or clients who may be more vulnerable. For their sake, be aware.

* For what it's worth, Area Code 360 is the area code for western Washington State outside Seattle. Sounds like someone doesn't quite know the difference between Washington State and Washington, D.C. But you may be assured that, were you gullible enough to return that call, someone on the other end would be savvy enough to try and coax credit card or bank account information from you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just another delay on the CTA....

*Ding! Ding!*
We are experiencing a delay
and we regret the inconvenience.
We expect to be moving shortly.

Well, I expect to be moving right now. That's why I take the train and not the Kennedy. That, and parking every day would bankrupt me inside of a month. Even with a discount.

Time passes.

*Ding! Ding!*
We are experiencing a delay
and we regret the inconvenience.
We expect to be moving shortly.

A delay? Is that what you call it? If it lasts much longer it will amount to a wildcat strike. Does the CTA know what my desk looks like?

More time passes.

*Ding! Ding!*
We are experiencing a delay
and we regret the inconvenience.
We expect to be moving shortly.

This time, the motorman breaks in to announce that there is a sick passenger on a train ahead and they are waiting for paramedics to arrive. At least there's a reason for all this inactivity. I'm sure I'm not the only one on the car who hopes that it's not too serious for the poor passenger.

I wish they would get Internet service in the subway like they keep promising. I could at least look at my Twitter feed while we wait.

I know, I know. There was a time when I could read a newspaper in the subway. They used to sell newspapers at the train stations once upon a time. And no one ever swiped those. (Occasionally, someone might ask to borrow the sports page if you were through with it....)

*Ding! Ding!*
We are experiencing a delay
and we regret the inconvenience.
We expect to be moving shortly.

At this point, haven't the least perceptive among us noticed that we haven't been moving for some time now? Are the chimes really necessary at this point?

The motorman (motorperson is really too cumbersome, even if this motorman is a woman) chimes in again: Paramedics have arrived and the stricken passenger is being removed. We will be moving again just as soon as the trains in front of us start moving.

That's a relief. We don't want to start moving before the trains in front of us. That could create even more work for the paramedics.

Back to Solitaire. Scoff if you must. The woman sitting next to me is playing Candy Crush.

*Ding! Ding!*
We are experiencing a delay
and we regret the inconvenience.
We expect to be moving shortly.

Moments later, the train starts moving! Predict the same thing often enough, eventually you'll get it right.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

City: Early voting results are not counted until the polls close tonight, despite any 'results' you may have seen already

I had an email from a northwest side aldermanic candidate Saturday morning: "Early vote returns through Friday show that we have 49.2 percent of the vote," the email read, "just short of the 50 percent plus one we need to avoid Round 2 in March and April." Then, in bold type, "We need just 53 more votes from voters like you by 5:00 today to win the early vote." Saturday, of course, was the last day for early voting ahead of today's Chicago primary.

I'm wary of early voting. I've always thought that the best chance for my vote to be counted was to cast my ballot in my home precinct on Election Day. Why take chances?

But Saturday's email really rocked me. Could someone really be looking at early returns and feeding them to some candidates? That struck me as highly objectionable -- but (as I have stated here on numerous occasions) I am not an election law specialist.

I asked election attorney James P. Nally about the candidate's claims to be winning the early vote in the most general of terms (not identifying the candidate in any way). Nally responded, "Early votes are not counted until after the polls close at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday," he advised, adding, "Early votes are logged into the touchscreens as they are voted. Early voting does provide a record of which voters have cast an early vote, and the information on what voters voted an absentee paper ballot is also compiled. However none of these votes, either early votes on the touch screen or the paper absentee ballots, are actually tabulated until after 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. These totals are then rolled into the numbers coming out of the in precinct voting that begin reporting after 7:00 p.m. via modem to the central office of the Chicago Board of Elections."

Although that was comforting, and entirely consistent with press reports about greater turnout for early voting this year that do not hint who might be benefiting from these votes, I double-checked with the City of Chicago Board of Elections. I forwarded the email to Jim Allen, the Board's press contact, and he was quick to respond: "We do not process or count any ballots until election day. We know which voters have cast ballots, as that’s public information, but not how anyone has voted. We have no idea what the email that you supplied is referencing."

Therefore, I have to assume that the candidate in question made it up. But why bother?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

But would we feel the same way if we lived in Oregon or Minnesota?

When a person is appointed to a judicial post, is it acceptable or appropriate for that person to thank the Supreme Court, any nominating committee involved, and the elected officials who may have lobbied the Court or a justice's nominating committee on the appointee's behalf?

This allegedly happened recently -- not in a published news story (I checked the Law Bulletin to be sure) -- but on social media (Facebook, according to the account I heard).

I've published some angry comments complaining about political influence in filling judicial vacancies (I've flushed several more because they were fueled by that special mix of outrage and character assassination so popular online these days). But, nestled in the angry comments, published or not, is a question worth asking: If we value judicial independence, and if we support the idea of bipartisan, blue-ribbon nominating committees to assist the justices of the Supreme Court in filling vacancies, shouldn't we be just a tad miffed at the perception that this process is subject to political input and maybe political manipulation? I mean, if even the appointee believes that the process is susceptible to political influence, how can we ever expect the public to see it as legitimate?

I admit to not being particularly shocked that a successful appointee would include politicians in a list of persons to be thanked. After all, that new appointee is going to need the continued help of those politicians in order to hold that seat come primary time. I don't know for a fact that politicians try to secure appointments for their favorites, or whether some do more than others, although I suppose it to be so. I certainly don't know how Politician A lobbies Justice B (or a member of Justice B's committee) on behalf of Candidate C. But I am not so naive to think it never happens. And if I am sometimes envious of those who seem to have multiple committeemen advancing their judicial ambitions, I find it difficult to get upset about it. Isn't that just the way things work? Then again, I've lived in or near Chicago my entire life.

And maybe that's the trouble.

Illinois has a reputation as one of the more corrupt states in the nation. Cook County generally, and Chicago in particular, have contributed substantially (though by no means exclusively) to Illinois' historic reputation. Oregon and Minnesota, however, are perceived as far less corrupt (here's a recent survey, just for example's sake). What would a life-long Oregonian or Minnesotan think about the propriety of a committeeman -- any committeeman -- attempting to influence the appointment of judges by the Supreme Court? Imagine a transplanted Minnesotan on a justice's nominating committee in Illinois fielding a phone call from a committeeman. Would the person favored by that politician be helped or hurt, in the committee member's opinion, by such a call?

We grow up and grow old in a culture of corruption; no matter how upright and scrupulous we may be in our personal dealings, how can our perceptions of how things work -- how things should work -- not be influenced by our environment?

On the other hand -- and this is a sticking point for me -- according to the ARDC, as of October 31, 2013, there were 91,083 lawyers on the Master Roll of Illinois Attorneys. Nearly half of these -- 45,306 -- were in Cook County. There are more than that here now. In a rural county, perhaps, it may be possible to say that Mr. Smith is the best lawyer or that Mrs. Jones would make the best judge. But among so vast a population as we have in Cook County, can we ever really say that this person or that person is the one and only best person for a judicial appointment? I think the truth is that, even in Oregon and Minnesota, no committee, no matter how broadly-based, can take large numbers of applicants and honestly winnow them down to say that this one -- or even these 20 -- are the "best." There have to be other factors besides a good work record and strong peer reviews that a blue ribbon vacancy-filling committee, or a Circuit Court Nominating Committee for that matter, can take into account in anointing persons from an ocean of well-qualified applicants. These days, nominating committees acknowledge that they also consider race, gender, and ethnicity in distinguishing among well-qualified candidates; the goal is to increase public confidence in the judiciary by making the bench more reflective of the community as a whole.

But although a judge may look like some of the people that come before the bench, that judge must still have the skills to communicate effectively and understandably with the non-lawyers in the room in order to be effective. Isn't the ability to attract political support at least an indicator of well-developed public communication skills? Or would I feel differently if I'd grown up in Oregon or Minnesota?

I look forward to polite and professional discussion on this subject -- but I will flush comments that simply attack individuals or besmirch generally the integrity of the judiciary or of those involved in the judicial selection process.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New group of Associate Judge applicants includes many familiar names

By my entirely unofficial count, 15 current Cook County judges are among the 283 applicants for Cook County associate judge vacancies. Six, Jean M. Cocozza, Alison C. Conlon, Daniel P. Duffy, Rossana P. Fernandez, Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie, and James L. Kaplan were appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to countywide vacancies. Eight others hold subcircuit appointments, Maryam Ahmad (1st), Jerry A. Esrig (9th), Edward John King (4th), Anna M. Loftus (6th), Marc William Martin (11th), Eve M. Reilly (10th), Robin D. Shoffner (5th), and Anthony E. Simpkins (1st). The 15th, Joan M. Kubalanza, is serving as an associate judge pursuant to a recall assignment; she became an associate judge in 1998, but left the bench in 1999. She has been serving pursuant to recall orders since 2008.

There are also at least six former judges in this group of applicants, including Diana L. Embil, Allan W. Masters, Daniel Lawrence Peters, Joan Ellen Smuda, Ketki Shroff Steffen, and Alfred M. Swanson, Jr.

A number of candidates who have made previous "short lists" are among this group of applicants as well. Judge Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie was a 2014 finalist, as were Geraldine Ann D'Souza, Tiffany Mary Ferguson, Myron F. Mackoff, Edward N. Robles, and Devin Joseph Schoop. Finalists from other associate judge classes include Thomas F. Biesty (2012), Theresa Christine Ceko (2009), Lester W. Finkle (2012), and Denise Y. Staniec (2012).

Readers will also note familiar names on the list from prior election cycles. For example, Brian Alexander, Thomas M. Cushing, and Michael A. Strom have all submitted applications for this class. These three were among the five candidates who sought the 9th Subcircuit Preston vacancy in the 2014 Democratic Primary (a noteworthy contest because every one of the five candidates in that race was rated recommended or qualified or better by each and every evaluating bar group, with Cushing and Strom garnering the highest ratings of all).

The Circuit Court's Nominating Committee will eventually cut this list down to two for each vacancy. The precise number of vacancies that will be available when this process is complete can not be determined at this time, but it's a safe bet that somewhere between 240 and 260 of these 283 applicants will not make the eventual short list. Anyone with relevant information regarding any associate judge candidate is invited to communicate by letter to the Circuit Court of Cook County Nominating Committee, c/o Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, 50 West Washington Street, Room 2600, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, Illinois 60602.

Here, then, is the complete list:
1. Ahmad, Keith Najib
2. Ahmad, Maryam
3. Aimen, Julie Bess
4. Airaudi, Joy Christine
5. Albukerk, John Nicolas
6. Alexander, Brian Edward
7. Andreou, Frank John
8. Apostol, Louis George
9. Atcherson, Sophia Jane
10. Bae, Jennifer Eun
11. Bass, Anthony Bernard
12. Baum, Gideon Abraham
13. Baumann, Deidre
14. Beach, Charles Stanley
15. Benjamin, Lawrence Mitchell
16. Benz, Mary Patricia
17. Biesty, Thomas Francis
18. Blake, Sandra Mary
19. Blinick, Robert K.
20. Blonder, Steven Paul
21. Blumenthal, Jeffrey S.
22. Bolger, Kevin Patrick
23. Bracey, Charles Scott
24. Brooks, Thomas David
25. Buikema, Joel David
26. Buntinas, Arunas R.
27. Butler, Krista Denita
28. Byrne, James L.
29. Cage, Patrick B.
30. Calabrese, Camille Ellen
31. Canellis, George Louis, Jr.
32. Caputo, Christina Venditti
33. Carroll, John P., Jr.
34. Casey, Carol Anne
35. Castanes, Theodore John
36. Ceko, Theresa Christine
37. Cenar, Richard G.
38. Chaudhuri, Sean Sohag
39. Chico, Joseph
40. Chimera, Vincenzo
41. Chupack, Joel Louis
42. Cisco, Raymond Peter
43. Clark, Urie Richard
44. Cleary, Gerald Vernon Patrick
45. Coakley, Kellyn Doyle
46. Cocozza, Jean Margaret
47. Coleman, David Joseph
48. Coleman, H. Yvonne
49. Conlon, Alison C.
50. Connolly, Michael Vincent
51. Cooke, Richard Charles
52. Copp, Gary Thomas
53. Cosgrove, Audrey Victoria
54. Coyne, Daniel Thomas
55. Crawley, James Patrick
56. Cunningham, Kevin P.
57. Currin, Margaret Elizabeth
58. Cushing, Thomas Maloney
59. Daly, Colleen Reardon
60. Dauphin, Yolaine Marie
61. De Matteo, Gabriel Joseph
62. Demos, Elena Shea
63. Derico, James Thomas, Jr.
64. Dimond, Karen Jane
65. Dolan, Alice Elizabeth
66. Doss, Rivanda
67. D’Souza, Geraldine Ann
68. Duffy, Daniel Patrick
69. Dunneback, James Francis
70. Dwyer, Robert Andrew, Jr.
71. Elward, William Xavier
72. Embil, Diana Lenore
73. Ertler, Mark Andrew
74. Esrig, Jerry A.
75. Evans, Carl Lauras, Jr.
76. Fanucchi, Charles A.
77. Farmakis, Athena Aphrodite
78. Feldman, Stephen Jason
79. Ferguson, Sharon Elaine
80. Ferguson, Tiffany Mary
81. Fernandez, Rossana P.
82. Ferrante, Mark Vincent
83. Fiaoni, Karla Marie
84. Finkle, Lester Wolfe
85. Fiorentino, Stephen
86. Fitzgerald, Charles Francis
87. Fleming, Dennis Michael
88. Forti, Michael Angelo
89. Fotopoulos, John S.
90. Gallagher, Carolyn Joan
91. George Stewart, AvaM.
92. Gerlach, Bradley C.
93. Gertler, Steven D.
94. Ghezzi, Sheryl Rae
95. Ghouse, Mohammed Mujahid
96. Gillespie, Aleksandra Nikolich
97. Glorioso, Mauro
98. Gonzalez, Peter Michael
99. Goodrum, Cassandra Bernice
100. Gordon, Lisa Copland
101. Green, Jonathan Clark
102. Green, Sanju Oommen
103. Grossman, Edward Ian
104. Gudino, Ruth Isabel
105. Gustafson, Richard Kerr, II
106. Hall, William Henry, IV
107. Hamilton, Carrie Elizabeth
108. Hanlon, James Edward, Jr.
109. Hannon, Maureen O'Donoghue
110. Harvey, Toya Tinette
111. Heilmann, David Michael
112. Helfgot, Ira Neil
113. Heneghan, Patrick Joseph
114. Hernandez, Steven
115. Herrera, David Christopher
116. Hogan, Michael James, Jr.
117. Horan, Kevin William
118. Hovey, Robert Jerome
119. Howlett, Melissa Marie
120. Huge, Lindsay Christopher
121. Hughes, Kevin Christopher
122. Jackson, Doretha Renee
123. John, Patrick Dankwa
124. Johnson, Robert Wade
125. Jones, Preston, Jr.
126. Kaplan, James Lewis
127. Karahalios, Peter George
128. Kardas, Kim Richard
129. Kare, Demetris A.
130. Karkula, Elizabeth Anne
131. Kessler, Sheri C.
132. King, Edward John
133. Kirk, Daniel Andrew
134. Koch, James B.
135. Kopriva, James Warren
136. Kosman, Joseph John
137. Kougias, Thomas Peter
138. Kozicki, Scott Michael
139. Krueger, Steven Philip
140. Kubalanza, Joan Marie G.
141. Kuczwara, Michael Anthony, Jr.
142. Lecompte, Marcelle Marie
143. Levin, Ellis Bernard
144. Levin, Lawrence Wolf
145. Levinson, Joseph P.
146. Leyhane, Francis John, III
147. Loftus, Anna Marie
148. Lubelfeld, Andrea Michelle
149. Luby, William Joseph
150. Luque-Rosales, Mercedes
151. Lyke, John Fitzgerald
152. MacCarthy, Sean Patrick
153. Mackoff, Myron Franklin
154. Malatesta, Michael John
155. Maloney, Daniel Edward
156. Maloney, Edward James
157. Marconi, Jerome Frank
158. Marovich, Michael Jay
159. Marsh, Jordan Eric
160. Martin, Marc William
161. Marubio, Mary Catherine
162. Masters, Allan W.
163. McConville, Terrence James
164. McGinty, Kathleen A.
165. McKenna, Scott D.
166. McNulty, John Wesley
167. Meczyk, Ralph Eugene
168. Melchor, Mary Alice
169. Miller, Stephanie Kathryn
170. Milleville, Annette Lynn
171. Mojica, Lisette Catherine
172. Moltz, Ira Alexander
173. Montes, II, Paul Joseph
174. Moore, Marcellus Harrison, Jr.
175. Mulay, Megan Kathleen
176. Murphy, Arthur Joseph
177. Murphy, James Vincent, III
178. Navarro, David Ricardo
179. Nicolau, Mary Terese
180. Niro, William Luciano
181. Norris, Scott
182. O'Brien, Brendan Alan
183. Ochalla, Kevin John
184. O'Dell, Katherine Angela
185. Orlowski, Jay Roman
186. Ostojic, Radusa
187. Otis, Donna Lynn
188. Outlaw, Jesse
189. Patterson, Monique Lenee
190. Payne, Jennifer Joyce
191. Perkins, Marian Emily
192. Perkins, Robbin Eunise
193. Peters, Daniel Lawrence
194. Pezanoski, Diane Marie
195. Plesha, Gregory Gerard
196. Plotnick, Paul Wil
197. Porada, Robert James
198. Porter, Brian Randall
199. Powell, Tiffanie Brandy
200. Power, Stephen Walter
201. Proctor, Edward George, Jr.
202. Quinn, Jill Rose
203. Rakowski, Leo Steven
204. Raleigh, William J.
205. Rascia, Ronald Anthony
206. Redmond, Darlene
207. Reggi, Martin Douglas
208. Reilly, Eve Marie
209. Reilly, James Michael
210. Repella, Joy Carol
211. Reyes, Marcos David
212. Rice, Ashonta Cherron
213. Richardson, Travis
214. Riley, Shelia Cordelia
215. Rizzi, Steven J.
216. Robles, Edward Nicolas
217. Rodriguez, Federico Martin
218. Rohrer, Gerald Thomas, Jr.
219. Rosado, Joanne F.
220. Rosales, Melinda Marie
221. Ross, Curtis Bennett
222. Saindon, Pamela Lngersol
223. Saltouros, Stephanie D.
224. Sanders, Catherine Dorothy
225. Santana, Jaime Rafael
226. Scanlon, Brian Patrick
227. Schneider, Catherine Ann
228. Schneider, Margaret Elizabeth
229. Schoop, Devlin Joseph
230. Schultz, Bryan David
231. Seaton, Debra Ann
232. Sebastian, Julie Ann Doherty
233. Seeder, Myron Marshall
234. Shapiro, James Anthony
235. Shoffner, Robin Denise
236. Silva, Rosa Maria
237. Simberg, Joel Barry
238. Simpkins, Anthony E.
239. Smith, Judie Lyn
240. Smith, Mary
241. Smith, Trina
242. Smoler, Emma L.
243. Smolka, Julia Jensen
244. Smuda, Joan Ellen
245. Snyder, Martin Dockery
246. Solomon, Donald Scott
247. Spratt, Patricia Susan
248. Springer, Barry A.
249. Spunar-Sheats, Letitia
250. Stacey, Christ Stanley
251. Stahl, Marc B.
252. Staniec, Denise Y.
253. Steadman, Gregory Joseph
254. Steffen, Ketki Shroff
255. Stein, Alon
256. Stephenson, Brian Joseph
257. Stewart, Rodney Walter
258. Strom, Michael Alan
259. Studenroth, David L.
260. Sullivan, Marita Clare
261. Sullivan, William Bernard
262. Sumner, Nyshana Kali
263. Swanson, Alfred M., Jr.
264. Swartz, Mark Francis
265. Thakkar, Shital Hasmukhbhai
266. Thibault, Renee Therese
267. Townsend, Luke Thomas
268. Trevino, Daniel Alexander
269. Tristan, Gerardo, Jr.
270. Trowbridge, Bradley R.
271. Underhill, Edward Joseph
272. Velcich, George Mario
273. Vroustouris, Alexander
274. Wade, Audrey Marie
275. Walsh, Michael D.
276. Ward, Torrick Alan
277. Whiting, Oran Fresno
278. Wilk, John F.
279. Willis, Arthur Wesley
280. Wilson, John Wellington
281. Wrenn, Jeanne Marie
282. Wright, James Adolph
283. Zamparo, Roger, Jr.