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Practice News

Illinois Attorney Robert Markoff discusses three little known, but extremely effective remedies that include pre-judgment, detinue, and distress for rent.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Access to a lawyer Public Act 99-882, Expungement Public Act 99-835, Juvenile probation. Public Act 99-879, Mechanics Lien Act Public Act 99-852, Condominium Property Act Public Act 99- 849, Guilty pleas Public Act 99-871 and Toxicology results Public Act 99-801.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

YES, WE ARE TALKING TO YOU![1]

By Hon. Barbara Crowder, Judge, Third Judicial Circuit

When the Illinois Supreme Court Rule 756(f) was first amended to require lawyers to report any pro bono services intentionally provided and voluntary monetary donations to legal service providers, one would have thought it was a menacing Robert DeNiro asking for the information based upon the hue and cry raised by some attorneys. Lawyers were reminded that the primary goal was to address the unmet legal needs of those residents with limited income. Reporting pro bono hours is viewed as a way to increase the delivery of legal services provided directly to persons of limited means. Although the rule also asks about efforts that assist local communities and organizations along with time spent training others and any monetary contributions, the goal of the mandatory reporting requirement was proclaimed as a way to help lawyers remember to do pro bono directly. The comments suggest that those who are prohibited from providing direct services should donate money and their time to help train volunteer attorneys. Since the ARDC has issued the Annual Report of 2015, it seems an appropriate time to see how the lawyers of Illinois are doing.

Chief Judge Kathryn E. Creswell announced today that applications for the Office of Associate Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, DuPage County, have been received from those on the attached list.

The vacancy is the result of the appointment of Associate Judge Karen M. Wilson to Circuit Judge.

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. We are a 12-lawyer firm in Austin, Texas. We have been approached by the owner of a three-attorney firm in an adjacent city who has a complimentary practice consisting of institutional business clients. He is looking to retire within the next 30 days and he would like us to acquire his clients. We have reviewed his practice and we would be willing to take over his clients but not his personnel or other fixed assets. He has no interest in a merger or a lengthy relationship with us. It could add $800,000 per year to our practice. We would appreciate your thoughts.

The Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) is dedicated to releasing innocent men and women imprisoned in Illinois for crimes they did not commit. In 2014, the IIP assisted in the passage of a law to allow post-conviction DNA and other forensic testing in guilty plea cases under 725 ILCS 5/116-3. The IIP has since received a grant from the United States Department of Justice for DNA testing in guilty plea cases in which the defendant may be innocent.

Because this change to 116-3 is so recent, many people incarcerated as a result of guilty pleas do not realize they can request this testing, nor do they know about our grant funding. So we are asking you, their attomeys, to think back on your criminal law careers, focusing on serious felony cases. Did you have a client who you thought was likely innocent, but took a plea for any number of reasons (avoiding a harsher sentence, a false confession, etc.)?

Please send us information on any serious felony case in which the client took a guilty plea and might be innocent. Even if you do not believe there is any potential DNA to test, we would still like to know about the case for future grant applications. Please feel free to contact Lauren Myerscough-Mueller via email at  lmyersc2@uis.edu, or phone at (217) 206-6051. If you can only remember a name, please send that and we can figure out the rest. We appreciate your time and attention.

Blumenthal v. Brewer

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In Blumenthal v. Brewer, 2016 IL 118781, the court reaffirmed Hewitt v. Hewitt, 77 Ill.2d 49 (1979) which concerned the rights of unmarried cohabitants, restated that the Supreme Court alone may overrule or modify one of its previous opinions, and concluded that it is exclusively for the legislature to determine whether a change in public policy governing the rights of parties in nonmarital relationships is necessary.  Justice Karmeier wrote for the majority; Justice Theis, with Justice Burke joining her, wrote separately, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Income shares and child support. Public Act 99-764, Parentage Act of 2015. Public Act 99-769, IMDMA cleanup. Public Act 99-763, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (2015). Public Act 99-775 and Personal guardian. Public Act 99-821.

More information on each bill is available below the video.

Income shares and child support. Public Act 99-764 (Kelly Burke, D-Oak Lawn; Hastings, D-Matteson) moves Illinois into the majority of other states that have an “income shares” model for adjudicating child support. Effective July 1, 2017. 

Pursuant to action taken today by the Executive Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Judge Valarie E. Turner has been temporarily reassigned to duties other than judicial duties in the office of the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr. The assignment is effective until further notice.

The decision to reassign Judge Turner followed a meeting of the Circuit Court of Cook County Executive Committee convened today by Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans to discuss allegations of improper conduct involving Judge Turner. The committee was informed that Judge Turner allegedly permitted attorney Rhonda Crawford, a law clerk with the Office of the Chief Judge and candidate for judicial election in November 2016, to adjudicate at least two cases from the bench while wearing a judicial robe in Judge Turner’s courtroom.

Until today, Judge Turner had been assigned to the Sixth Municipal District Courthouse in Markham where she heard a variety of matters in rotation with other judges. 

 “The public’s confidence in the judiciary is the cornerstone of our system of justice, and I have taken the steps necessary to preserve that confidence,” said Chief Judge Evans. “Because the investigation is pending, I believe it is inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

In addition, Crawford was suspended pending internal investigation without pay by the Office of the Chief Judge. Her current annual salary is $56,961, and she has been employed as a law clerk/staff attorney with the office since 2011.            

Attorney Brian Murphy discusses why you need a plaintiff's expert, where to find them, what to provide them, and how to prepare them.