George Moran, Jr.
The following were the most well-read reports on the Record's website (www.madisonrecord.com or stclairrecord.com) in 2006:
#1:Lakin attorney calls Weber a liar during hearing (3/27/06) 586,631 readers
Last week Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber and Lakin Law Firm attorney Charles Chapman were seen breaking bread together at a popular Main Street watering hole in Edwardsville.
Monday, in open court, the lawyer called the judge a liar.
Weber, who was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a vacancy five months ago, sat in his own courtroom as spectator to a bizarre display of disrespect toward a sitting judge.
"If I have to say that Judge Weber is a liar, so be it," Chapman told Chief Judge Edward Ferguson.
Chapman also explained that Weber is allegedly biased towards the Lakin firm and should be removed from 14 class action lawsuits the firm presently has pending before Weber.
Ferguson listened for more than two hours to lawyers presenting evidence on whether Weber was biased because the firm represented a client who sued Weber in 1992.
#2: Madison County judges called 'masochistic' for not letting Weber share burden(3/16/06) 513,256 readers
After a month in office, Madison County Circuit Judge Lola Maddox has taken responsibility for the toughest decisions in the courthouse.
By contrast, Circuit Judge Don Weber can't get near a tough decision after four months in office.
They started out the same -- as appointed judges replacing retired judges -- but Maddox gets a fair chance and Weber does not.
Maddox gets to hear two sensational cases involving bankrupt attorney Gary Peel of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.
#3: Lakins named in sexual assault case (5/12/06) 381,230 readers
L. Thomas Lakin, The Lakin Law Firm, Bradley M. Lakin and Kristopher Lakin were named as defendants in a sexual assault civil suit filed in Madison County Circuit Court April 21.
The file was sealed by then-Madison County Chief Judge Edward Ferguson. However at the plaintiffs' request, new Chief Judge Ann Callis vacated all of the previous orders in the case regarding impoundment and expungement Friday afternoon.
The plaintiffs in the case are John Doe, by his mother and friend, Julie Doe, Joseph Doe, Jane Doe, by her mother and friend, Julie Doe, Mary Doe and James Doe. They are represented by Ed Unsell of East Alton and Thomas Q. Keefe of Swansea.
According to the lawsuit, Tom Lakin, founder of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, was a friend of the minors' family and at various times engaged in one or more of the following willful and wanton acts of misconduct which constitutes childhood sexual abuse of plaintiff John Doe:
had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he engaged in oral sex with the minor child;
had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited minor females to have sex with the minor plaintiff in his presence;
had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited two adult females to have sex with minor plaintiff in his presence; and
had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor plaintiff when he solicited the minor plaintiff to have sex with various females while he gratified his own sexual desires by masturbating while watching the minor plaintiff.
#4: Moran era over in Madison County (2/25/06)302,037 readers
There was no cake and ice cream; no folks gathered to reminisce about the good old days. On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Madison County Circuit Judge George Moran's last official day on the job after 28 years passed unceremoniously.
Two months ago, Moran announced that he would retire after his term expired in December. But last week, Moran took some by surprise when he submitted his resignation to Chief Judge Edward Ferguson, stating that his last day on the job would be Feb. 14.
In a prepared statement Moran said, "I would like to thank all of the judges, attorneys, state's attorney personnel, public defenders, clerks, bailiffs, probation officers, security officers, sheriff's deputies, courthouse personnel and many citizen jurors that I have enjoyed working with over the past 28 years during my judicial career. I look forward to spending more time with my family."
#5: Crowder signs emergency order for plaintiffs; Businesses had not yet been served (2/8/06) 244,632 readers
Madison County Associate Judge Barbara Crowder has started her political career the same way Circuit Judge Phillip Kardis ended his political career -- by heaping abuse on businesses of the Cassens family.
Crowder, a candidate for circuit judge, signed an emergency order against Cassens Corporation and Cassens & Sons of Edwardsville, for plaintiffs who had not even served their lawsuit on the businesses.
No trace of Crowder's Jan. 26 order remains at the courthouse. The Record obtained a copy from U.S. District Court, East St. Louis, by Internet.
In an eerie coincidence, Circuit Judge Daniel Stack had just thrown out an order Kardis signed against Cassens businesses last year, on the day Kardis retired.
The order, allowing Ronald Yenerich and Phyllis Yenerich to claim punitive damages against the businesses, recited accusations of the plaintiffs as facts.
Stack vacated Kardis's order Jan. 10, on a motion of Cassens & Sons, though he ruled there was "nothing nefarious" about the order. Nefarious means very wicked.