Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unqualified? CBA Remains Mum on the States Attorneys Race, the 'Democratic Nod' on Judgships, and Ambulance Chasing

The Chicago Bar Association finds favor in its Judical Evaluation Committee panning and praising attorney candidates who run for Cook County Judges. It often claims that some candidates lack enough experience in the appropriate court rooms. Its evaluators even pan attorneys who have significant litigation experience. Such candidates can be criticized as not having the 'proper diversity of experience' to serve as a Cook County Judge. Well, what about the lack of prosecution experience in an extremely overendorsed candidate for Cook County States Attorney, Larry Suffredin? Is there a conflict of interest?

The general rule is that if you lack ten years of Experience as an attorney, then it is understood that the Chicago Bar Association automatically finds a candidate "unqualified." If you work in one court to the exclusion of others within the Cook County System, then you can be found unqualified, perhaps. However, the Chicago Bar Association or CBA has been incredible quiet about the Cook County States Attorneys races. In the past, all endorsed candidates for States Attorney once served as a prosecutor. Usually, the attorney candidates provide full disclosure of political accomplishments on their political websites.

Well, not Larry Suffredin. Ironically, Larry Suffredin is still a "registered lobbyist" for the CBA according to State of Illinois records. Is there a connection in CBA's silence on whether Larry Suffredin is "Qualified" to serve as Cook County States Attorney, even though he may have never prosecuted a single case? Look at Lucky Larry's self proclaimed political resume. Is this a strength? A significant weakness? Is it a coincidence that the CBA is silenced by what seems like a conflict of interest? Is there a double standard?

What is believed to be a reputable attorney source, who asked not to be named, and whose claims cannot be substantiated without support, insists that Alderman Burke, among others, may have a significant say in who gets 'the nod' for Democratic Party endorsements. Rumors abound unofficially, among aging attorneys, that you must make a significant donation to participate as a Democratic Candidate for Cook County Judge.

Is there a 'pay to play' rule? Are Cook County Judgeships for sale? Is the non-attorney public aware of this situation? Are members of the bar encouraging this conduct and benefitting from it. Is the CBA's Judicial Evaluation Board being infiltrated by unreliable committee members with a political agenda? What about other groups who endorse Judges? Does anyone really look at those recommendation sheets when they go into the voting booth?

Does the media care to investigate these rumors? Is this just a vindictive attorney 'spouting hay' over nothing? Is there justification for some sort of donation by a potential candidate looking for political support from a national party? Should this be disclosed to the public? Is there merit for merit selection? Are judicial watch groups asleep in the gallery, with subtle conflicts of interest, tending to the Political Party faithful of both blue and red in more than one county when dough rises?

Is there a collective "Matter of James Himmel" issue snowballing out of control among attorneys who simply treat the alleged "party share" as a rumor, when others know that it is fact? What about ambulance chasing and capping? Has this gotten out of control in the City of Chicago? Does the ARDC, CPD, or FBI ever conduct successful sting operations on Illinois ambulance chasers? Does it even care or is ambulance chasing a tolerated practice of an understaffed ARDC?

I wonder if this will ever make to to the news at 10?

1 comment:

Michael J. Harrington said...

When the "dough rises." Great! What a very apropos double entendre to describe the very sad situation we have regarding judicial slating and endorsements. In our political kitchens, the dough (and how much) is a key ingredient when "the fix" recipe is cooked up in Cook County.