Sunday, February 03, 2013

Low information voters: Retained Cook County judge expected to plead insanity this week

Rush Limbaugh often speaks of low-information voters on his show. I live among plenty of them here in Cook County, Illinois.

Judges are elected in Illinois--which is colossally stupid. While newspapers and bar associations do a fairly good job screening the candidates, most voters--but not his one--don't bother to review their endorsements before they arrive at the polling place.

Last fall Judge Cynthia Brim barely the necessary "Yes" votes to keep the job that she has been suspended from--with pay--for months.

This week Brim heads to court--not as a judge--but as a defendant. And the Chicago Sun-Times says she plans to plead insanity to a misdemeanor battery charge from last March.

Once judges in Illinois are elected--they only have to face a retention vote every six years.

It's been 23 years since a Cook County judge was booted by voters from the bench. Brim, despite the recommendation of a "No" vote from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Bar Association, collected the one endorsement that counted-- last fall the Cook County Democratic Party urged a "Yes" vote for all judges up for retention, including Brim. The Trib gave Brim an excoriating rebuke last fall.

The retention process is purposefully confusing. Rather than being listed alphabetically, the judges are listed in order of seniority.

What got Brim in trouble?

From a November Chicago Tribune article:
"I'm just happy the people voted me back in," said Brim, who was suspended from her $182,000-a-year job in March after a wild week in which she was removed from her Markham courtroom after launching into a rambling 45-minute tirade and then, a day later, was charged with shoving a deputy at the Daley Center.

Soon after being charged with misdemeanor battery, a panel of supervising judges barred her from entering the county's courthouses without a police escort. But neither that, nor the fact that numerous bar associations have recommended since 2000 that voters toss Brim from the bench, kept her from narrowly retaining her seat Tuesday.

Brim won 63.5 percent of the vote, according to preliminary totals, and needed only 60 percent to be retained for another six-year term. She hasn't presided over a courtroom in seven months but continues to collect her paycheck.
A friend of the blog--who is not a low information voter--told me that Brim's bizarre antics are well known to Chicago area court personnel and law enforcement officials.

Instead of electing judges in Illinois--merit selection should be utilized.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for share...