Judicial Rumors

With two judicial posts opening up, one, which will have to stand for election in 2016, and another which will be appointed and not subject to the electorate, lawyers are talking about who they might want on the bench.

Conversation about the Circuit Court seat, which Judge Gordon Graham is vacating in early September, seems to revolve around Associate Judge James Cowlin.

The thought process is that Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas will appoint the choice of the sitting elected judges in McHenry County.

Gordon Graham

Gordon Graham

That happened when Graham was elevated from an Associate to a Circuit Judgeship in 2009.  Graham subsequently did not face opposition in the GOP primary, but faced and beat an Independent in the fall.

Michael Feetterer

Michael Feetterer

It also happened when Associate Judge Michael Feetterer took the same path, but had no fall opponent.

Technically, the Illinois Supreme Court fills elected Circuit Court vacancies, but it’s easy to figure out that the rest of the court defers to the recommendation of the elected Justice in the district where the appointment is made.

Those who seem to be interested in the Associate Judgeship, two vacancies, if Cowlin is promoted, are the following.

  • Denise Ambrozjak, criminal defense attorney
  • Bill Bligh, who in the past has been a Court-appointed Special Public Defender
  • Marty Coonen, divorce attorney
  • Mark Facchini, a criminal lawyer
  • Camille Goodwin,¬†divorce attorney
  • Demetri Tslmigras, head of the Misdemeanor Division of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office

Certainly, there others out there whose names and qualification will show up in comments under this article.


Judicial Rumors — 7 Comments

  1. Obviously Coppage and Hanlon are good choices too.

    Hanlon is aligned with Sheriff Prim and State’s Attorney Bianchi as well as the Coroner and several County Board members.

    I hear he has the money, the political backing and is willing to run.

    He could be Cowlin’s opposition in an election because it’s easy to see he is a team player on Team Bianchi.

    Plus putting Hanlon on the bench will shut him up.

    That’s a double bonus for several circuit judges.

    They squandered that opportunity to shut him up when he put his name in before.

    Now the Salgado machine will be backing him and he’s creative.

    Demitri will be running.

    Again, as pointed out here his name is an issue and something he can overcome given all of the contacts he has throughout the county.

    If both Hanlon and Demetri run in the same race they both get Lou’s support so that favors Cowlin in a three way race.

    Nevertheless it really boils down to who is appointed and who runs.

    I think in a county wide race Cowlin is at risk of losing job if he is promoted and loses race to DT or Coppage or Hanlon.

    Cal keep up the reporting on this; it’s interesting.

    Especially since two judges have made announcements.

    If another circuit judge announces a retirement like Sullivan or Prather (both who make more retired then working) then the courthouse is open for all three of them.

    Coppage may not be as public as Hanlon, but has ties to numerous municipal government bodies and the related votes.

    What remains to be seen is whether those city officials will campaign for him or not if he’s willing to run.

    Likewise, Coppage likely has enough to be a contender.

  2. Rumor has it that judge Sullivan is likely to retire too.

    Anyone have any good information on whether or not he’s going to retire

  3. I find it interesting that cal is reporting on who wants to be a judge, not on who is qualified to be one.

    Bil Bligh is a nice guy but needs more experience. He would win the bar pole on nicest lawyer in the county. That said you can’t be nice to everyone when your a judge. That produces indecision. Perhaps that’s why he has not gotten the nod in his numerous past attempts.

    Demitri Tslmigras is way more qualified than Bill. Tslmigras has been tested in difficult times and is proven to be both competent and strong. Demitri also has the political backing and connections. Bligh is not involved in community activities sufficient to get political backing. As head of the Misdemeanor Division, Demitri gets mostly upside of conviction record and avoids potentially bad press. He has a strong network of supporters and has made serious inroads in Algonquin Township. Importantly, Demitri can win a race against Cowlin.

    Not mentioned in Cal’s article is Hanlon. That guy took on Local 150 (who is now suing the county) and won several victories. According to court records, He was instrumental in facilitating the federal prosecution of Local 150’s former President, Bill Dugan. Department of labor reports show he obtained significant money in settlements from Local 150 in last years report. They went hard after him and his skin was thick enough to deal with it. You have to have super sized stones or be really stupid to fight against Chicago construction labor unions. Hanlon successfully represented Cal in the ethics complaint matter and also was the go to guy in the last election winning four out of four ballot contests. As such the party uses him and he has to be in a strong position related to new business.

    The remaining people listed are perennial applicants except for Facchini. Facchini tries cases and wins, he has an incredible future.

  4. Word is a local attorney has backing of the States Attorney, the Sheriff, multiple county board members and some serious money behind him.

    I heard he is putting in an initial $50,000 of his own money and have support from Jack Roser’s estate.

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