Thursday, November 8, 2012

Judge Brim Faces Charges

Yesterday I blogged about how Cook County Judge Cynthia Brim was retained by Cook County voters despite being on indefinite suspension and facing pending criminal charges.

Today Judge Brim appeared in Court—as a criminal defendant.

Apparently the prosecutor has floated the idea of dropping the charges in exchange for Judge Brim stepping down from the bench. According to her lawyer, however, resigning is something Judge Brim "will never do."

The Tribune article has some important information that explains why Judge Brim and others are able to retain their judgeships despite widespread criticism from the bar and media:
Brim was backed by the Cook County Democratic Party as well as the Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County, a campaign committee funded by judges.
So there are two main factors: the Democratic Party and solidarity.The unfortunate fact is that, in Cook County, judgeships are handed out as political patronage. This is a one-party town, of course, and the Party does not turn its back on its own. Once on the bench, the judges are of course deeply invested in not being kicked out. So it's one for all, all for one.

Overall it is probably a good thing that the Cook County bench isn't experience a lot of turnover every two years. But we are clearly seeing the downsides of a system that makes turnover all but impossible.

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