Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald announced Monday that he has Parkinson's disease and will retire effective Oct. 25. “I didn’t want to do anything to hurt the Court or the people it serves,” he said. “Right now, I’m fully capable of discharging its duties. I don’t know how much longer that will be true.” Fitzgerald recommended Appellate Court Justice and ISBA Board member Mary Jane Theis as his replacement and she was appointed by the high court. Justice Theis will serve an interim term of a little more than two years and the seat will be up for election in 2012. She has been a member of the Appellate Court in Cook County since 1993, and a judge since 1983. Read the Illinois Supreme Court release on Chief Justice Fitzgerald's retirement. Read more in the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Kane County State’s Attorney John A. Barsanti as a Circuit Court Judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael J. Colwell. The appointment is effective December 1, 2010 and terminates December 3, 2012. Mr. Barsanti, elected as state’s attorney in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, has a total of 27 years as a prosecutor dating to 1979, two years after law school, when he first joined the office. Mr. Barsanti received his Bachelor of Science degree from Carroll College and his juris doctorate from Kent College of Law in Chicago in 1977. He worked for two years in the Illinois Department of Labor before joining the state’s attorneys office. He also worked for the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office from 2000 to 2004. Mr. Barsanti is a member of the Capital Litigation Bar -- qualified to try death penalty cases --and was appointed to the Capital Litigation Screening Committee by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. He is a member of the Kane County Bar Association, and has been a criminal law instructor at Waubonsee Community College and has served as a faculty member at training seminars for the State Appellate Prosecutor’s Office. He was born and raised in Cicero, and has been a resident of Kane County since 1972. He is married, and the couple has four children.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Stephen P. McGlynn as Circuit Judge at large in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. Mr. McGlynn, who had served before by appointment on the Fifth District Appellate Court, will fill the Circuit vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Michael O’ Malley. The appointment will take effect September 17 and will terminate December 3, 2012. Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier recommended Mr. McGlynn’s appointment after an application process which included review by a specially selected screening committee and interviews by Justice Karmeier of three finalists. Nineteen persons applied for the position, one withdrew and the remaining applicants were screened by the six-person committee who presented Justice Karmeier with the names of the three finalists. “I want to thank the Supreme Court and Justice Karmeier for the confidence they have placed in me, and the bipartisan selection committee that did its job in evaluating a number of very good people who applied,” said Mr. McGlynn. “I really enjoyed my prior tenure on the bench, and I’m very honored because I know that a judge can do a lot of good things, and it’s a marvelous way to serve my community.”
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Wednesday that Sangamon County State’s Attorney John P. Schmidt has been appointed a circuit judge at-large in the Seventh Judicial Circuit. Mr. Schmidt was appointed to fill the Circuit Court vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Thomas Appleton to the Fourth District Appellate Court. The appointment is effective October 1, 2010 and will expire December 3, 2012. Justice Rita B. Garman recommended the appointment of Mr. Schmidt after a review process by a special citizen screening committee. The committee unanimously recommended Mr. Schmidt’s appointment to Justice Garman to fill the vacancy. Mr. Schmidt graduated from Western Illinois University in 1987 with a B.S. degree in History. He received his juris doctor degree from University of Tulsa in 1990. Before his appointment to the bench, Mr. Schmidt served as special assistant U.S. attorney from 1990-1992; he was responsible for prosecution of federal law violations, advising federal law enforcement agencies and preparing briefs for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1992-1995, he served as Sangamon County assistant state’s attorney. While there, he prosecuted various types of traffic, misdemeanor and felony cases. Subsequently, Mr. Schmidt served as first assistant state’s attorney for four years until his appointment as Sangamon County State’s Attorney in 1999. He has since won election to that position three times, most recently in 2008. Mr. Schmidt has served as member of the board of directors, treasurer and president of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois and as chairman of the Sangamon Child Advocacy Center. A resident of Springfield, Mr. Schmidt is married with one child.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed Associate Judge Michael N. Cook to fill the Circuit Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Annette A. Eckert, resident Circuit Judge of St. Clair County in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. The appointment, made upon the recommendation of Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, is effective October 1, 2010. Judge Cook has served as an associate judge since 2007. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he served as an associate with the Belleville law firm of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin; he was also an assistant public defender for St. Clair County. Judge Cook graduated in 1999 with a juris doctor degree from the University of Tulsa. While there, he served on the Board of Advocates and in the Elder Law Legal Clinic. He graduated in 1994 with a bachelor of science degree in anthropology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. His is a member of the St. Clair County Bar Association and currently serves as its first vice-president. In addition, Judge Cook also serves as chairman of the paralegal scholarship program at Southwestern Illinois College. Judge Cook is the only candidate seeking to succeed Judge Eckert, and will be unopposed on the November ballot.
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Lorna E. Propes as a Circuit Judge of Cook County, Seventh Subcircuit. This appointment is effective Sept. 10, 2010, and terminates on Dec. 3, 2012. This fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Lawrence W. Terrell.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman announced Friday the formation of a judicial screening committee to help fill a vacancy in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. Justice Garman established the screening committee to assess the qualifications of those persons who have applied for appointment to the Circuit Court vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Judge G. Michael Prall on Nov. 2, 2010. Under the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy will be filled by Supreme Court appointment. After the committee has received public input, gathered information and interviewed each of the applicants, it will report its findings to Justice Garman, who will make a recommendation to the Supreme Court from among those applicants submitting their credentials to the committee. The person appointed will serve until the position is filled by General Election in November 2012.
The Illinois Supreme Court has released its Call of the Docket for the September term. The schedule for oral arguments is slated to begin on Sept. 14 and close on Sept. 22. The court is scheduled to hear 24 cases this term. The cases are listed below. September Term 2010
Illinois Supreme Court justices and Appellate Court justices will join in helping incoming first-year students at six Illinois law schools gain early exposure to issues of professionalism as part of their law school orientations. The professionalism programs are organized and sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and are designed to both welcome law students to the profession and to introduce them to core concepts of professionalism inherent in the work of attorneys. Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald, Justices Robert R. Thomas, Thomas L. Kilbride, Rita B. Garman and Lloyd A. Karmeier of the Supreme Court as well as appellate justices will address incoming students at Northern Illinois University College of Law, University of Illinois College of Law, DePaul University College of Law, Loyola University School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and The John Marshall Law School. Law students at Southern Illinois University receive a similar orientation to professionalism under a separate program. In addition, the students will take a “Pledge of Professionalism.”
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald announced Friday that Gov. Pat Quinn has restored $20 million to the Supreme Court’s current budget to help fund probation services throughout the state. The governor responded to an appeal by the Chief Justice for the second year in a row to add funds for probationary services to remain a viable component of public safety. For Fiscal Year 2011, the legislature appropriated $36.4 million to the Supreme Court for grants and awards, including probation services. That is the same amount it appropriated last year, and less than half of what had been appropriated for probation services in 2002. In a letter to the governor last month asking to increase funds under the governor’s  statutory budget authority, the Chief Justice noted that even with the additional funds last year 90 probation officer jobs throughout the state were eliminated because of a shortfall of funding. “I am compelled to once again write, with an even more heightened sense of urgency and concern for probation’s continued viability and capacity to promote public safety,” the Chief Justice said in a letter to the governor dated July 7, 2010. “Absent an additional allocation of funds in Fiscal Year 2011, there  will be a compounded and an accelerated deterioration in probation services. This predictable sequence will begin with a loss of probation officer jobs and the attendant increase in caseload size, reductions in both frequency and quality of offender supervision, and heightened threats to public safety.”