Besides the difficulty of pronouncing his last name if you don’t know the “T” is silent, the biggest hit on the candidacy of McHenry County judicial candidate Demetri Tsilimigras that I have heard is that he does not have enough experience in the courtroom.
Demetri addressed that issue in his fundraiser last month partially by explaining that his experience was not limited to McHenry County, but included time in Michigan and, more recently, for the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
I found particularly interesting his statement that he had been certified by the Illinois Supreme Court to that part of the bar allowed to participate in murder trials.
So, I contacted the Illinois Supreme Court and discovered that the Capital Litigation Trial Bar was discontinued in February, 2013, presumably because the death penalty is no longer a possibility in Illinois.
If one goes to Rule 714 in the Supreme Court Rules, one can see the qualifications that attorneys had to have before being allowed to participate in murdrer trials.
Here are a couple of the requirements:
- Be an experienced and active trial practitioner with at least five years of criminal litigation experience within the last seven years.
- Have prior experience as lead or co-counsel in no fewer than eight felony jury trials which were tried to completion, at least two of which were murder prosecutions and at least two trials must have been tried within the last seven years; and either
- have completed at least 12 hours of training in the preparation and trial of capital cases in a course approved by the Illinois Supreme Court, within two years prior to making application for admission; or
- have substantial familiarity with and extensive experience in the use of expert witnesses, and forensic and medical evidence including, but not limited to, mental health, pathology and DNA profiling evidence.
- Henry Sugden, III (2003)
- James McAuliff, Jr. (2004)
- Tiffany Davis (2005)
- Danial Hofman (2006)
- Donna Kelly (2007)
- Michael Combs (2007)
- Demetri Tsilimigras (2008)
- Philip Hiscock (2008)
- Ryan Blackney (2009)
The only current judge on the list is Tiffany Davis (appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court and running for a six-year term).
Tsilimigras is the one so designated in his four-person race for a six-year term as judge.