I-LAW: Good judges matter

by Travis Akin |
Nov. 1, 2012, 6:53am

She has to have a police escort just to enter the courthouse but when the dust settles on Election Day, she will likely hold onto her spot on the bench in the Cook County Circuit Court.


Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Brim has been charged with a misdemeanor after allegedly throwing a set of keys and shoving a sheriff’s deputy. Following the incident, she was suspended indefinitely and according to a court-appointed psychiatrist, she can be mentally fit with medication but she was “legally insane” at the time of the incident.

Despite her record and bad publicity, the chances of her losing her retention bid are slim to none.  Only once in the last 22 years has a Cook County judge lost a retention bid. Even a judge with an indefinite suspension and a misdemeanor charge will likely be retained.

Clearly, voters need to pay more attention to the down ballot judicial races.

Judicial races often do not enjoy the same level of interest as other races, but certainly the outcomes of these races have as much if not more impact on our daily lives. The foundation of a properly functioning system of justice begins with the outcome of these judicial elections.

Good judges DO matter. As citizens, it is our responsibility to do our part by electing judges who will make impartial decisions based on fair consideration of the facts and law and who won’t bow to political or economic pressure.

One resource available to get informed is available at www.illinoisjudges.net. Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch strongly encourages voters to take the down ballot judicial election and retention races seriously. Resources such as Illinoisjudges.net can only help voters unless they actually go to these sites and do their homework. As citizens, it is our responsibility to do our part by electing judges who will make impartial decisions based on fair consideration of the facts and law and who won’t bow to political or economic pressure.

Voters should also look at the Illinois State Bar Association ratings for judges and research what the media has written about the various judicial candidates on the ballot. Another factor to consider is who is funding the various judicial campaigns. For instance, in the race for the 5th District Appellate Court, one candidate Judy Cates is taking in large campaign donations from personal injury lawyers and personal injury law firms. In fact, about 90 percent of her campaign funds come from personal injury lawyers.

In the days leading up to the Election, Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch is urging Metro East voters to consider all of the facts when they go to the polls and cast their votes in these important judicial elections. Too much is at stake this year to skip these important down ballot election and retention races.

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