In the mid-1950s, blues singer Prince Patridge recorded one of his most memorable tunes, "How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come Round)?"

It's about a husband's growing suspicion that a male acquaintance is calling on his wife when he's not home.

He's got a mean dog, you see, a dog that doesn't like strangers and is known to bite. But when this guy comes around who says he's never been to the house before, the dog wants to "jump up and play." Hmm.

When your mean dog stops barking at a stranger, it's worth asking why.

Judges also deserve the benefit of the doubt, but let's not be naive. When strangers seem to be paying them too much attention, we'd best look for the reasons.

Three months ago, we noted in an editorial that the bulk of the $55,000 Judy Cates had raised in the previous quarter for her race for a seat on the Fifth District Appellate Court had come from a handful of Chicago lawyers and law firms outside the 5th District. Her largest single donation at that time had come from a California firm.

How come?

The pace of Cates' fundraising has picked up. Since Labor Day, she's raised $54,000.

On Sept. 5, four personal injury attorneys from Winters, Brewster, Crosby & Schafer in Marion each contributed $1,000 to Cates. That same day, the personal injury firm Howerton, Dorris & Stone of Marion kicked in $5,000 for Cates.

Five days later, the Simmons law firm of Alton and nine of its asbestos attorneys forked over a total of $45,000 to the Cates campaign.

These donations come from lawyers and firms within her district, but it still behooves us to ask how come, and why so much?

Are they getting a little too familiar?

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