Friday, February 01, 2008

Suffredin: Litigator or Pontificator? Does the Federal Record Tell? Seven cases? Less?

Is Suffredin Bluffing about his recent litigation experience? Does he have a significant docket or does he Frolic at Froehlic in Springfield? A recent review of the Federal Record through the Pacer Search System confirms that the media does not do its homework. Suffredin claims that he is a litigator. Unfortunately, at least in the last eighteen years, the Federal Courts have kept track. These are the cases in which Larry Suffredin actually filed an appearance as an attorney or was simply a party to a lawsuit in Federal Court.

This means that Commissioner Suffredin seems less than candid about his experience with Federal litigation and jurisdictional issues. In fact, the person who researched did not even bother to check if Larry Suffredin was merely a plaintiff or a defendant. Much Environmental litigation, is covered under the Federal Code and Regulations. Does anyone remember the magnet wire criminal case? In a nutshell, the burden of proof and jurisdiction can waste a public attorneys time and your tax dollars! Witnesses, not just politicians, must come forward, actually show up and testify in court. When Strayhorn came down, so did the prosecution. Perhaps, the case was best handled by the Feds, not O'Malley!

This is the Suffredin Federal Court Record. If you don't believe it, then have a lawyer friend who practices in Federal Court do a Pacer search. Does Larry Suffredin understand environmental litigation, Federal Regulations, and jurisdiction. You be the judge.


jefflaw said...

The state's attorney handles cases in Illinois state court, not federal court, so you'd have to look at both to get a fuller picture. Second, the number of cases is not necessarily indicative of the amount of time devoted to litigation or litigation-related matters, because one large case can consume more time in a year of practice and billing than dozens of smaller cases; hours rather than # of cases define what your practice area is; many criminal prosecutors (and defense attorneys) build impressive-looking records of the quantity of cases they've handled, unless you looked closely and realized the assembly-line nature of much of the work. I urge you read Steve Bogira's excellent book on the main Cook County courthouse. Third, the State's Attorney himself or herself is not going to actually be in court on very many cases at all; the job is primarily chief executive of an agency, like being the managing partner of one of the largest law firms in the state. Most senior partners or litigators, by the time they are Suffredin's stage in his career, will not be spending very much time in court. A better question is to simply ask him how many hours he roughly billed in 2006 and 2007 for lobbying and litigation, respectively. Any attorney has a decent idea of this because you have to tell your bar assn and insurer annually what areas you practice in.

lafew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lafew said...

In reviewing Milan's record, he has 'no Federal cases,' because Milan has never been in private practice. Suffredin can estimate his approximate hours for malpractice insurance purposes. Suffredin does not have to keep a rolling total if he does flat fees, but the Dowling decision may change that.

A prosecutor, whether it is Alvarez or Milan, who moved from the bottom to be promoted to the positions just below the States Attorney are significant candidates with tremendous insight into administration, even if they totally lack political saavy.

Nevertheless, should we be concerned about discretion? If the top prosecutor, Suffredin, can vote thumbs down to defer to the Feds or even indict, then these are genuine concerns, correct?

The trashy adverstisements put out by the Suffredin camp about Burge have no basis in fact. Attorneys know that lack of evidence and the Statute of limitations ran out long before Alvarez and Milan had discretion. In fact, it was the City of Chicago and the Defendants' attorneys who faithfully fought over the Chicago Police Department's conduct, not the SAO.

The politicization of the office with Suffredin 'may' bring changes in the fabric of justice. Although, there is no doubt that 'discretion' is often a vacillating standard that takes quite a bit into consideration. For better or worse.

The challenge is that Cook County politics is so completely tied with the machine that it can never successfully police itself unless the chief prosecutor has some independence. There are inherent conflicts of interest in any prosecution of public officials.

In my opinion, a career prosecutor will be less inclined to be swayed by political considerations than a County Commissioner, who has served as a lobbyist for many years. I mean what did Suffredin actually do w/r/t billing? I wonder! Given the mess in Washington D.C. with shady attorney-lobbyists like Jack Abramoff, one has to wonder.

There are some northside politicians with family members who had/have challenges with the criminal justice system. Also others who might be indicted, if you believe all of the rumors. I remain neutral until a jury rules or a party pleads guilty.

The challenge is that if a politician within the same political circle is in charge of the chicken coop, then there will be no conduit and synergy between the SAO and the U.S. Attorney.

I fear that Suffredin is beyond politically saavy in going after this position. If the SAO's office botches the prosecution of a corrupt politician through the use of a questionable ASA, then a political comrad in arms has been saved. What do you really know about Stean?

Do you really think that Suffredin will bat an eye, or lift a finger 'if Stean,' among other locals, commit acts that appear suspect? Those who are on one political beltway should remain positioned there on cruise control. Suffredin choose one route and for him to veer into another role after all of these years seems politically inappropriate and inconsiderate to me.

I think that people should be judged by their own merit. However, the company that some politicians keep can be a disappointment and a let down. It is challenging to stomach any candidate who uses questionable judgment to move up the food chain. That means, that choices have to be made. DFA operatives see this as an Allen v. Suffredin election.

I have to consider either Alvarez or Milan for the position. I view Suffredin as the political status quo. Suffredin appears as the Lisa Madigan in crony clothing so to speak. There is no doubt that Madigan has larger goals on the horizon and she is likely to get support in spite of what seemed to many like beginnings grounded in nepotism and law student support. Suffredin seems like the one most likely to share a cigar with Abner Mikva.

Suffredin should consider running for U.S. Congressman if he is unsuccessful. I think that Jan Schakowski should have already yielded her position to Larry Suffredin to the chagrin of the NRA. Frankly, I'll support Suffredin in that capacity versus Kirk, but Seal is running. Between Joe Moore and Larry Suffredin, Larry has my vote, but Larry may be gunning for other frontiers. Fascinating, isn't it.

My conclusion: I don't think that the Democratic Party should have done this to Alvarez or Milan. If the Dems backed Anita Alvarez, I think that I would have taken a second look. However, I am doing it, anyway.

Now, we may end up with Allen or Brookins. If the tally is out, then the most experienced prosecutors with a chance to beat Suffredin seems like Anita Alverez according to recent Tribune polls. In this race, political posturing seems, as follows:

Alvarez = Linda Sanchez (of California)

Milan = Tsongas

Suffredin = Mikva (with the Evergreen Park move and 2000 era inaccurate political trashing thrown in)

Allen = Perot
Brookins=Timothy Evans

Brewer = Jack O'Malley on the Democratic endorsed candidates doorstep. (If Brewer had support both north and south, then he may have picked up Jackson Jr.'s endorsement.

I don't recall Mikva trashing his opposition as much as the Suffredin campaign. However, Mikva's decision to move simply to run for office in the tenth was analgous to Hillary Clinton's run for the U.S. Senate in New York. However, I recall a rather abrasive Mikva regardless of his political views.

lafew said...

I think that I meant orate like socrates, rather than lack political saavy. Anyone who can work their way up to the second or third position has proven their ability to work with others.