Credibility crisis

The Madison County Record Jan. 21, 2006, 11:01am


An unlikely Record confidant shared some slightly unnerving findings with Dicta-- that is, if you're a judge running for retention in Madison County this November.

A recent poll taken by a major Metro-East plaintiff's firm found that just 57 percent would vote to retain Third Circuit Judges Ann Callis, Charles Romani and John Knight.

The trio needs 60 percent each to keep their jobs.

Perhaps chalk up this disfavor to the saga of suspended Granite City defense attorney and former Madison County Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Hildebrand.

With the help of four "unnamed circuit court judges" who testified to his honesty, Hildebrand fought his suspension by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which charged he represented clients with adverse interests simultaneously.

While they did, scores of courthouse regulars quietly cheered Hildebrand's punishment, claiming his contempt for following rules finally caught up to him.

In politics, arrogance is like carbon monoxide. When it kills careers, it does so without warning.

And they thought George Moran was the ticket's weak link.

Game on

It won't cost as much as the Karmeier-Maag Battle of '04, but St. Clair County's accidential main event this election season is shaping up to be a splendid show.

When St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto (D) squares off with O'Fallon Attorney Paul Evans (R)-- beware the vicious attacks.

Subjects who've faced the sharp edge of the St. Clair Democrats' sword know they aren't afraid to use it. Remember the newspaper created with the sole purpose of defaming former U.S. Attorney Miriam Miquelon?

She was ultimately victorious in putting Amiel Cueto-- brother of Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto-- behind bars. But the whole experience shamed Miquelon out of town.

It also split the St. Clair Democratic establishment, which may put Evans over the top. Dicta hears he will have the support of more than a few once-party faithful from the other side.


David Knowles is out as executive director of Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch. He replaced Steve Schoeffel in May.

Knowles previously worked for the American Heart Association in St. Louis and for the Illinois House Republican staff in Springfield.

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