Thursday, March 07, 2013

ILL-inois: Lawyer with no courtroom experience appointed judge

Where else but in Illinois can a lawyer with no courtroom experience be appointed a judge? Well, Illinois of course.

From the Chicago Tribune--paid subscription required.
When the Illinois Supreme Court acted to fill a vacancy on the Cook County bench this year, it looked no further than the chambers of one of its own — Justice Charles Freeman.

There the high court found law clerk Jean Cocozza.

Cocozza got her law degree in 1989, but she has no courtroom experience as a defense lawyer, as a prosecutor or as a litigator of any kind, according to her work history. Half of Cocozza's resume is devoted to talking about her service with her building's condominium association and with her church parish.

No bar association had independently evaluated her work to see whether she was fit to be a judge, and she had not appeared before any judicial screening committee.

She did, however, have the advantage of working for Freeman. She had been his senior law clerk for the past 15 years, according to her resume, with duties including writing drafts of opinions and court orders, and "exercising general supervisory authority over the chamber's staff."
She'll be working in traffic court. Perhaps I should take the bus to work each day--and lessen the chances I'll have to deal with her.

Cocozza will be making $183,000 a year.

Justice Freeman is a Chicago Democrat.

Related post:

Chicago: Judge found not guilty by reason of insanity

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