The Home Stretch

by The Madison County Record |
Oct. 22, 2004, 5:21am

Judge Ferguson

But Abe was a trial lawyer.

Garbage Man

We doubt it’s in his job description, but Madison County Circuit Court Chief Judge Edward Ferguson was spied last week picking up copies of our newspaper around the courthouse and throwing them in the trash.

To our dismay, a top snoop for The Record claims Ferguson wasn’t simply tidying up the office.

By throwing away copies of our newspaper, Ferguson was reportedly hoping fewer courthouse staff would read The Record’s endorsement of Judge Lloyd Karmeier for Illinois Supreme Court Justice over his opponent, Judge Gordon Maag.

That’s what we hear, anyway.

For what it’s worth, his Honor should consider this an open invitation to rebut that endorsement in the special November 1 Election Edition of The Record. We’ll hold the space until our 5 p.m. Thursday deadline.

And if yours was one of the copies the Judge threw away, come see us at 301 North Main Street. We always keep a stack of extra ones in the back.

Endorsement Watch

Karmeier got a big boost last week when he secured endorsements from two of southern Illinois' largest newspapers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which recently grilled Madison County’s Courts in a several part series, predictably reasoned that “Karmeier is the man more likely to help right the bizarrely tilted scales of civil justice in Metro East” in its backing of the judge.

An endorsement by the Southern Illinoisan of Carbondale—currently reeling as doctors head for the hills—asserted that Maag’s loyalty on medical malpractice reform would lie with trial lawyers.

Double secret probation

Well, that was a nice experiment while it sounded.

When the Illlinois State Bar Association vowed in August that it would “monitor” the advertising in Karmeier vs. Maag, readers might have colored us skeptical.

Last Thursday, the ISBA sent nasty letters (see Page 8) to both candidates requesting they that “promptly and publicly disavow” television ads it dubbed “misleading.”

Among other things, those ads in question accuse both Maag and Karmeier of favoring child molesters.

Hours after receiving the letters, both campaigns swiftly told the ISBA they did not plan to disavow anything.

All carrot, no stick.

Back in August, both Karmeier and Maag signed ISBA pledges to “publicly disavow advertisements that impugn the dignity, integrity, or independence of a candidate… or which erode public trust and confidence in the dignity, integrity, or independence of the judiciary.”

Smells like team spirit

The Lakin Law Firm and SimmonsCooper, plaintiff’s firms that are core members of “Madison County’s Democratic Team,” dumped $150,000 each into Illinois Democratic Party coffers last week.

Campaign pundits expect that money will surely find its way toward buying more TV ads in support of Maag.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has released a new series of television and print ads that don’t directly mention this race but clearly hint at it.

Their tagline—“The Land of Lincoln has become the Land of Lawsuits. Vote for Common Sense Judges.”

The Chamber is backing Karmeier.

Judge Rush

Fourteen lawyers have turned in applications for an upcoming vacancy caused by the upcoming retirement of Associate Judge Lola Maddox.

Apparently the aforementioned ads haven’t scared them off.

The applicants are Stephen Stobbs, David Hylla, Duane Bailey, Donald Flack, Allen Gilliard Jr., John Haynes, Janet Rae Heflin, Keith Jensen, Susan Jensen, Robert Larson, Martin Mengarelli, Dennis Orsey, John Rekowski, and Greg Roosevelt.

Judge Maddox's last day as an associate judge will be Nov. 30.

The nine Circuit Judges of Madison and Bond County-- comprising the 3rd Judicial Circuit-- will elect Maddox’s successor.

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