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Cook County Thu Jun 25 2009

To Protect and Serve (Themselves)

The information surrounding the horrendous verdict on the Anthony Abbate case keeps getting more interesting. A group called the Chicago Council of Lawyers (CCL), which usually endorses liberal and progressive causes, gave two separate endorsements of the judge responsible for this travesty of justice - Judge John J. Fleming.

In the first evaluation of Judge Fleming, for his primary election, the CCL maintained in a memo dated March 1996 that:

We have received significant reports that Mr. Fleming lacks a responsible attitude and good judgment in his work. The Council finds him Not Qualified.

In November of 2002, when he was up for retention, the Council switched him to "qualified":

As a floater, Judge Fleming temporarily substitutes for judges who - by reason of illness, vacation or schedule conflicts - cannot hear their regularly assigned matters. In this position, Judge Fleming typically handles a large volume of cases on a daily basis, but has little continuity of contact with any of them. Perhaps because of this lack of continuity, the Council has received very few reports from lawyers who regularly appear before Judge Fleming. The available information suggests that Judge Fleming handles his assignment efficiently, that he has good legal ability and temperament, and that he is fair and unbiased. We therefore find him Qualified for retention.

First he was lacking in judgment and responsibility, and now he's "fair and unbiased". Interesting how things change after someone gets elected. In a more recent memo from October 3rd, 2008, Fleming was endorsed again by the CCL:

Judge Fleming is reported to have good legal ability and handles his assignment efficiently. He has good temperament and is considered to be fair and unbiased. Some lawyers complain that he is not punctual in taking the bench, but Judge Fleming explained during this evaluation process that he is working in chambers when not hearing cases. The Council finds him Qualified for retention.

The CCL bills itself as "the public interest bar association that promotes a fair and effective legal system, using judicial evaluations, amicus curiae briefs, publications, seminars and investigations of agencies and courts".

Interestingly enough, this judge was also found to be qualified by numerous other groups in the most recent election, including the Women's Bar Association of Illinois and the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precent Organization (IVI-IPO).

Looks like these (seemingly helpful) organizations need to do a better vetting job before qualifying judges who are intent on continuing the Chicago tradition of covering up for the cops. This kind of behavior from elected officials should add to the rancor that is fueling tomorrow's protest of the boys in blue who sparked the 1968 "police riot".

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mike / June 26, 2009 9:38 AM

Voting for judges is a scam. This is yet another reason why I vote against all of them.

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