"Hi, I’d like to return this judge.”
“Of course, madam. Is there anything wrong with him?”
“No, not exactly. I just don’t like him and I’d like to trade him for another one. My friend had a judge that she really liked. He always ruled in her favor. I was hoping to get one like that, but this one’s been ruling against me. Who wants a judge like that?”
Ah yes, Madison County, where shopping for judges is like shopping for Christmas presents. Keep shopping until you find what you’re looking for. If the judges you wind up with aren’t everything you thought they would be, take them back and exchange them for others.
Fortunately, some judges don’t like being traded. Some judges, even in Madison County, refuse to be treated like unwanted toys or defective merchandise, and the disappointed plaintiffs who thought they could exchange them for someone more amenable to their pleadings are just plain stuck.
Take Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth, for instance. He’s the judge that stole Christmas from two Edwardsville women, if you believe that sob story.
Raymere Oglesby and Maxie Johnson might have had visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads when they filed suit against the City of Edwardsville, seeking more than $50,000 for damage allegedly done to their homes in 2009 by a water main leak that they claim was not repaired expeditiously. But the judge assigned to the case turned out to be more of a Grinch than a Santa Claus, in their minds at least.
Oglesby wasn’t happy with Judge Ruth. Two months ago, she petitioned to exchange him for a judge more to her liking.
The City of Edwardsville demurred, noting that the case has been on file for two and a half years, with rulings made on “substantive motions.”
Judge Ruth agreed. Petition denied.
Raymere Oglesby and Maxie Johnson will have to make do with the judge they’ve got.