The Madison County Record Jun. 26, 2005, 5:18am

Arlen Spector

Clyde Kuehn

G. Patrick, Part I

Oh those, lifelong appointments to the federal bench.

When he isn’t wearing the robes, U.S. District Court Judge G. Patrick Murphy is a tight political and financial confidante to Belleville defense attorney Bruce Cook— the man trying to put the kibosh on the running expose’ of East St. Louis Democrats’ legendary voting commerce.

Both are committed Democrats. Murphy’s wife is law partners with St. Clair County Democrat Chief Robert Sprague, also a character in this drama.

Sadly, Murphy never thought to recuse himself from the case.

Common sense is subjective, for sure. Gut feelings should not be ignored.

We citizens keep the faith that integrity is ingrained in the seats of our southern Illinois federal court.

Republican U.S. District Court Judge William Stiehl—once active in the St. Clair County GOP— thought more about us when he recused himself from the case of a contractual dispute between two trucking companies more than a decade ago. That’s because Stiehl was politically aligned with the plaintiff Joe Behnken, a St. Clair County Republican force.

We guess Judge Murphy didn’t have the guts to step aside from this one.

G. Patrick, Part II

Murphy didn’t pass up an opportunity to remind the court—and us—that he used to serve in the military, threatening to run the courtroom like “a Marine Corps rifle platoon.”

When we think Marines we think discipline, courage, and honor.

But we don’t think of a presiding federal judge expressing his own opinions about elements of a case in front of the jury; or a judge behaving so antagonistically to a prosecutor in a case that, according to one published report, it “threatened to overshadow the evidence.”

For the defendants in this case, such judicial antics are just grand. When jurors think the prosecutors are bad guys, it soaks up some ire that might be focused upon alleged vote buyers Kelvin Ellis or Charles Powell, Jr.—remember them?

Asbestos update

Word from the U.S. Capitol is that the long debated federal asbestos litigation reform measure will-- finally—- start moving toward passage in July.

At issue has been who will pay into a proposed $140 billion ‘Asbestos Trust Fund’ intended to replace litigation, and how much. The insurance industry has reservations about its share, reportedly $46 billion worth.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) is aiming for a floor vote after the July 4th holiday.


Judge and past-era fireballer Clyde Kuehn threw out the first pitch at the Gateway Grizzlies- Ohio Valley Red Coats minor league baseball game in Sauget June 16, celebrating his birthday and looming retirement.

Kuehn was first appointed to the St. Clair County Circuit Court in 1994 and has served as a judge on the 5th District Appellate Court since 1995. But he is perhaps best remembered as the lawyer whose client took temporary ownership of the East St. Louis City Hall to satisfy a $3.4 million judgment against the town.

He retires from the bench July 7

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