September 21, 2010
Complaint Alleges Judicial Candidate Misrepresented Bar Record
The Illinois Administrator has filed a complaint against an Assistant State's Attorney for Cook County alleging ethical violations in three closing arguments. The attorney also is charged with making a false statement as a candidate for judicial office. The complaint alleges:
In 2008, Respondent became a judicial candidate. She was running to be a Circuit Court of Cook County judge in a contested race in the November 4, 2008, Cook County general election to fill a vacancy in the 12th Subcircuit. As a candidate for judicial office, Respondent was required to refrain from conduct which, had she been a judge, would have been a breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to respect and comply with the law and to conduct herself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.
On October 3, 2008, the Chicago Council of Lawyers ("Council") released a report evaluating the judicial candidates in the November 4, 2008, Cook County general election.
In its report, the Council found Respondent "Not Qualified" for the Circuit Court of Cook County, citing to numerous Appellate Court decisions that had been critical of Respondent’s conduct as a prosecutor as the basis for its conclusion that Respondent was not qualified to be a judge.
Following the Council’s report, internet blogger and attorney Jack Leyhane ("Leyhane") posted a link to the report on his blog, which was entitled, "For What It’s Worth," and which was located at www.leyhane.blogspot.com.
On October 24, 2008, Respondent sent an e-mail to Leyhane in which she stated that the Council report as it applied to her had been "dishonest" and "misleading" to the voting public. She went on to state the following:
The simple fact is that had they or anyone else asked or researched the truth about these accusations at all, they could find that I had a full and complete hearing in the ARDC, the board that regulates conduct and was completely cleared.
I have never flouted any court ruling or admonishment. This fact was recognized by no less august a tribunal than the ARDC…
At the end of her e-mail to Leyhane, Respondent stated that she hoped Leyhane would print her e-mail in his blog. She further stated that he was free to use her comments on his blog with her name attached.
On November 2, 2008, Leyhane posted Respondent’s e-mail, including the comments listed...above, in their entirety on his blog.
The statements made by Respondent...were false and Respondent knew they were false at the time she made them, because there is no method by which one can "research" whether confidential investigations have taken place at the ARDC, at no time had Respondent’s conduct been the subject of proceedings before the Hearing Board, let alone the "full and complete hearing" she claimed, nor had the Inquiry Board "recognized" that Respondent "never flouted any court ruling or admonishment," and at no time was she "cleared" of conduct by the ARDC.
The complaint alleges that the statements were false because the attorney had been admonished in 2006 for closing argument misconduct in three matters. (Mike Frisch)
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