JIB suspensions are most severe consequence of misconduct; some judges resign before action taken

By Record News | Jan 24, 2019

Since the Judicial Inquiry Board was founded in 1970, it has filed 95 complaints with the courts commission, which has removed seven judges and retired one.

Twelve judges resigned before the commission could take action.

The first resignation occurred in 1973, when Cook County circuit judge Francis McCurrie chose not to contest allegations of mental and physical disability. 

That same year, Calhoun County circuit judge Paul Durr resigned after the commission suspended him for a year. They found he practiced law and owned an abstract company, and that he didn’t advise litigants that opposing counsel was a business partner. 

Cook County associate judge James Maher resigned in 1976, after the inquiry board alleged improper statements to a woman in chambers. 

Woodford County circuit judge Samuel Harrod resigned in 1980, after the board alleged incapacity and mental inability to perform his duties. 

DuPage County circuit judge Bruce Fawell resigned in 1985, after the board alleged he retained fees for solemnizing marriages outside the regular marriage session. 

Cook County circuit judge Robert Dempsey resigned in 1988, after the board alleged he split fees with an attorney. The board alleged he purchased property with four attorneys and didn’t recuse himself when they appeared before him. It alleged he failed to report real estate income or make full disclosure on his financial statements. 

First District appellate judge Eugene Pincham resigned in 1992, after the board alleged he engaged in political activity. 

Cook County associate judge Frank Edwards resigned in 1997, after the board alleged he possessed five grams of marijuana at an airport in Belize. 

Cook County associate judges Harry Buoscio and Paul Sheridan resigned in 1999, after the board alleged they tried to fix a ticket. 

Kane County circuit judge James Doyle resigned in 2006, after the board alleged he systematically violated constitutional and statutory rights of criminal defendants. 

Logan County associate judge Donald Behle resigned in 2007, after the board alleged he dated a woman while presiding over her divorce and child custody.

Suspended judges: One disciplined for calling jurors stupid and gutless 

Short of leaving office, suspension stands as the most severe penalty. 

The commission suspended DuPage County circuit judge Philip Locke for six months in 1975, for presiding over a case involving a close friend with whom he had a business interest. 

McLean County circuit judge Keith Campbell was suspended for six months in 1988, after the commission found he had a long relationship with his secretary. They found he fired her when she ended it. They also found he impaneled a jury in the absence of parties and their counsel. 

The commission suspended Cook County associate judge Lambros Kutrubis for six months in 2002, finding all sorts of shady behavior including forgery. They found he adjudicated a municipal violation case involving video gambling in a tavern, when his wife had placed the machine in the tavern. 

The commission suspended Cook County associate judge John McDonnell for four months in 1973, finding he threatened a man and wife with a handgun.

Lake County circuit judge John Goshgarian was suspended for three months in 1999, for calling jurors stupid and gutless. 

The commission suspended Cook County circuit judge Franklin Kral for two months in 1973, finding he accepted favors from an attorney who appeared before him.  

Cook County circuit judge James Murphy was suspended for two months in 1990, after the commission found that an attorney gave him free use of rental cars while the attorney’s firm was appearing before him. 

The commission suspended DuPage County circuit judge Kenneth Popejoy for two months in 2012, finding he struck a parked car and drove away at high speed. They found a 13-year-old girl jumped to avoid being struck. 

The commission suspended Will County associate judge Joseph Polito for two months in 2013, finding he watched pornography in chambers. 

Henderson County associate judge Keith Sanderson was suspended for a month in 1974, after the commission found he assessed costs against defendants after charges were dismissed or they were found not guilty. 

The commission suspended Cook County circuit judge David Cerda for a month in 1976, finding prejudice against defendants in prostitution and loitering cases. They found he set excessive bail, continued motions to reduce bail until trial was set, and excluded a defense attorney from his court. 

The commission suspended Cook County associate judge Francis Butler for a month in 1985, finding he conducted a hearing while intoxicated. They found he insulted and demeaned a 17-year-old girl and her parents. 

Cook County associate judge John Laurie was suspended for a month in 1985, after the commission found that he failed to report bribe offers and engaged in improper discussions with attorneys concerning the merits of pending cases. 

The commission suspended Cook County associate judge Adam Bourgeois for a month in 2001, finding he failed to disclose debts and lawsuits in his statement of economic interest. 

The commission suspended Cook County circuit judge Charles Travis for one month in 2003, finding he flashed a phony judicial badge to avoid a speeding ticket. They found he separately tried to induce an officer to cite a motorist for violations based solely upon his request. And, they found he called a chief judge in another circuit about a warrant that had been issued for his daughter’s arrest.   

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