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Illinois Supreme Court

This historic painting was used as the rendering for the century-old murals on the walls and ceilings of the Supreme Court courtroom. Photo credit/Mark Skube
The Illinois Supreme Court convened in special session on Tuesday to unveil an historic painting which was used as the rendering for the century-old murals on the walls and ceilings of the Supreme Court courtroom. Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald presided at the ceremony. The artwork, which had fallen into disrepair over the past 100 years, was donated by the family of the artist, Albert Krehbiel. Through the auspices of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, the family also paid for all costs of restoration, framing and display. Justices Rita B. Garman and Anne M. Burke, Supreme Court liaisons to the Commission, spoke at the unveiling. Jerold Solovy, a well-known Chicago attorney and chairman of the Commission, also made comments. The art will be displayed for the public beginning today, March 10, in the former Illinois Appellate courtroom in the Supreme Court Building at 2nd Street and Capitol Avenue.
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Arthur P. Wheatley as a Circuit Judge of Cook County, Seventh Subcircuit. This fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Amanda Toney. Wheatley's term runs through Dec. 3, 2012.
The Illinois Supreme Court has amended its rules to provide a swifter means for achieving permanency and stability in child custody issues relating to divorce and parentage cases. The rules changes allow the appeal of custody issues even if other matters in those cases are unresolved. The situation often arises in marriage dissolution cases that can linger over issues of property, spousal support and other matters; or in parentage  cases where decisions affecting the rights and persons other than the child may be unresolved. A primary change amends Supreme Court Rule 304 to allow a trial court’s permanent determination of custody to be appealed even if other issues in the underlying matter remain unresolved.
The Illinois Supreme Court today ruled that imprisoned ex-Gov. George Ryan should not receive any of his state pension because of his conviction on corruption charges. Here's the Court's summary opinion: No. 108184     Ryan v. Board of Trustees Appellate citation: 388 Ill. App. 3d 161. JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Freeman, Kilbride, Garman, and Karmeier concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Burke dissented, with opinion. In 2006, former Governor George H. Ryan was convicted of multiple federal felonies committed, between 1990 and 2002, as Secretary of State and as Governor. After his convictions, the Illinois State Retirement System notified him that his pension benefits from the General Assembly Retirement System were being statutorily suspended. Ryan had been a member of this system since 1972, when he joined the General Assembly, and continued in it through his holding of the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Governor. However, his service in the General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor did not give rise to any felony convictions and, Ryan asserted, he was entitled to benefits based on those earlier years of service. The administrative termination of benefits was upheld by the circuit court of Cook County, but the appellate court reversed in February 2009. In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that Ryan had forfeited all of the benefits he earned from the General Assembly Retirement System, regardless of the fact that he had not been convicted of any felonies in connection with his years in the General Assembly or as Lieutenant Governor.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that legislation requiring judges to reduce jury awards of noneconomic damages to victims of medical malpractice violates the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution. In their amicus brief, the Chicago Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association had urged the court to uphold its previous decisions in which the General Assembly attempted to reduce awards for noneconomic damages. ISBA President John O'Brien noted that this was the third time in the last 35 years that the Supreme Court of Illinois has considered and struck down legislative efforts to cap awards given by juries. "The Court has spoken on this issue in defense of our Constitution and the role of the judiciary and juries." ISBA brief on LeBron Illinois Supreme Court summary Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today an expansion of its judge mentoring program designed to aid judges in the performance of their judicial duties. The new Peer Judge Mentor Program is the continuation of an initiative announced 13 months ago by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts under Director Cynthia Y. Cobbs to improve public confidence in the courts and ensure judicial independence by improving the skills and performance of the Illinois judiciary. "Judicial independence is necessarily dependent upon public confidence in the operation of our courts," said Chief Justice Fitzgerald. "The Peer Mentoring Program, along with prior judicial performance initiatives announced by the Court, are prompted by a desire to produce the highest quality judiciary for the citizens of this state. They are designed to make a very good judiciary even better." The new initiative will train and assign judicial mentors to Illinois judges who seek to enhance their skills or performance. A judge's self-referral might be prompted by participation in the Court's Judicial Performance Evaluation Program, which was made mandatory for Illinois judges in the Supreme Court's 2008 initiatives. In addition to providing for self-referral, the new initiative also vests in a chief circuit court judge discretion to assign a mentor to a judge who could benefit from a confidential one-on-one relationship. Training of a corps of judicial mentors and administration of the mentoring program will be modeled after the successes of the New Judge Mentoring Program which the Court and the Administrative Office have conducted since 1998. That program was first initiated by then Chief Justice Charles E. Freeman and is considered a crucial tool in the training and development of new judges.
Terrence J. Lavin
Terrence J. Lavin
The Illinois Supreme Court has named ISBA Past President Terrence J. Lavin to fill an interim vacancy on the 1st District Appellate Court, effective Feb. 1, 2010. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Justice John P. Tully on Dec. 31. "I'm obviously delighted," Lavin said. "It's something I've always wanted and never thought would present itself." Lavin earned a degree in journalism in 1977 from the University of Illinois and his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983. He clerked at Corboy & Demetrio during law school and started his own practice in 1992 - which he has with some regret begun to wind down. "I just had a meeting with a client and had to tell her she'll need to find another lawyer," he said. "I will miss not being there to fight for her and for the others I represent." Lavin's appointment runs through Dec. 3, 2012. "I look forward to having the opportunity to learn more about the law," Lavin said. "We practice in such specialized areas and I have practiced in such a specialized area. This will keep the brain exercised. I look forward to putting on the robe and going to the other side of the bench."
Cynthia Cobbs, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, has announced that the Third Judicial Circuit Judges voted to select Dean E. Sweet as an associate judge of the Third Judicial Circuit. Mr. Sweet received his undergraduate degree in 1973 from Eastern Illinois University and his Juris Doctor in 1976 from St. Louis University. Mr. Sweet is currently engaged in solo practice in Wood River.
Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that Margaret (Meg) Marcouiller, received most of the votes cast by the circuit judges in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and is declared to be appointed to the office of associate judge. Ms. Marcouiller received her undergraduate degree in 1984 from Northwestern University and her Juris Doctor in 1990 from Loyola University in Chicago. Ms. Marcouiller is currently affiliated with the Lake County State's Attorney's Office in Waukegan.
Justice Thomas Kilbride
Justice Thomas Kilbride
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride will be honored and will receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Lewis University during the 2009 Winter Commencement ceremony to be held on Saturday, December 19 at 4 p.m. Justice Kilbride will be the recipient of the Doctorate of Humanities during Saturday's Graduate Ceremony that will be held in the University's Student Recreation and Fitness Center at its main campus in Romeoville. "The University is honored to recognize Justice Kilbride for his 10 years of distinguished service as a highly-respected member of the Supreme Court of Illinois and as an accomplished attorney and advocate for the poor," said Lewis University President Brother James Gaffney, FSC. Justice Kilbride, who grew up in Kankakee, received his B.A. degree magna cum laude from Saint Mary's in 1978; and his law degree from Antioch School of Law in Washington D.C. in 1981. While in law school, Justice Kilbride completed judicial internships for the administrative assistant to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and for U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green.