Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Daugherty says he could 'divorce' personal beliefs from professional positions

By The Madison County Record | Jul 31, 2015


Madison County attorney Jack Daugherty pledges to put aside his visibly partisan ways if circuit judges appoint him as associate judge.

“I am very good at divorcing my professional positions from my personal beliefs,” he said on July 30.

Daugherty and 45 others have applied to circuit judges for appointments to fill five vacancies as associate judges.

He said all the candidates come from a pool of advocates.

“You can’t really have someone who has never been an advocate,” he said.

He said that a report on his Democratic Party activity in the Record, on July 28, “sounded like someone had made up their minds about the kind of person I am.”

“I’m not really out to get Republicans,” he said. “I just like clean government.”

He said people wonder if his criticism of Madison County treasurer Kurt Prenzler, a Republican, means he preferred former treasurer Fred Bathon, a Democrat.

Bathon served prison time for rigging bids in the courthouse.

Daugherty said, “It’s really possible to be not a fan of either of them.”

He said his bias for mesothelioma victims, which he recently declared on a web log, would disqualify him from hearing asbestos cases.

“I would never do it,” he said. “I would recuse myself.”

Daugherty, now in solo practice, once worked for the East Alton asbestos firm of John Simmons.

His current telephone number on a state roster of lawyers connects to the Granite City firm of Lance Callis, his former father in law.

Daugherty said he was moving from there and would update his state information.

He married Melissa Callis in 1996.

Her sister Ann Callis would later preside as chief judge of the 20th Circuit, prior to an unsuccessful run for Congress last year.

In 2000, when Daugherty needed help with a personal injury claim, help arrived from the Callis firm.

Daugherty had sued Shop ‘n Save in Madison County, but Shop ‘n Save had removed the action to federal court and moved for summary judgment.

District Judge Patrick Murphy set a hearing with 33 days notice.

Twelve days after he set it, Kenneth Danzinger of the Callis firm appeared.

Fifteen days later, Murphy signed an order finding the case had been settled.

From 2000 through 2002, four clients of Daugherty sued Alton and its police.

“It was a crazy time in Alton and there was a lot of stuff happening,” he said.

He and the city settled two claims.

He voluntarily dismissed a claim that officers beat a client for 25 minutes with hands, feet, flashlights, batons, and a car door.

He lost a job discrimination case.

In 2003, he and Melissa Callis divorced.

After Simmons hired him, his name rarely appeared on complaints or briefs.

For that matter, Simmons himself rarely placed his name in the record.

For a time, Daugherty said, he worked for Simmons in California and Illinois.

His job included spreading the firm’s message.

A press release he issued in 2009 remains on the firm’s website, which also carries 20 pages of reports he wrote on asbestos litigation in 2008 and 2009.

After leaving the Simmons firm, he planned to open a restaurant in a former bank building that Lance Callis bought near his office.

The plan didn’t work.

Daugherty said, “I got basically bamboozled by some dirt bag investors that took my money and absconded with it.”

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