Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Judges and Judiciary

Although a trial court’s failure to rule on a motion in limine may constitute an abuse of discretion, a harmless error will not overturn a ruling. October 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 On July 24, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cook County, holding that the trial court did not err when it deferred ruling on the defendant’s motion in limine until after he testified.  
When Recusal Leads to DEADLOCK: A Constitutional Cure By J. Timothy Eaton and Lynn A. Ellenberger October 2009 Article, Page 510 The authors propose a constitutional amendment allowing replacement of Illinois Supreme Court justices when recusal makes rendering a decision impossible.
Mandatory retirement age for judges ruled unconstitutional By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2009 Lawpulse, Page 438 The Illinois Supreme Court rules that the statute requiring judges to retire at age 75 is unconstitutional and says mandating retirement for judges might require constitutional amendment.
Postjudgement Sanctions: Do Trial Courts Have Too Little Power? By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness June 2009 Column, Page 314 Illinois judges should be free to impose sanctions for misconduct after final judgement and on behalf of nonparties if the facts warrant.
The Power Behind the Robe: A Primer on Contempt Law By Timothy L. Bertschy and Nathaniel E. Strickler May 2009 Article, Page 246 The power of contempt is a confusing mix of civil and criminal law concepts overlaid with constitutional implications. Here's a review.
New laws criminalize interference with the duties of a judicial officer. PA 095-1035 April 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 174 Illinois lawmakers amended the Criminal Code of 1961 by adding two new sections making it a crime to interfere with the duties of a judicial officer, or attempt to bribe an officer's immediate family, staff, or other court employees. 720 ILCS 5/32-4e, 32-4f.
Court’s failure to grant continuance plain error By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2009 Lawpulse, Page 116 The high court rules that a judge’s failure to grant defense counsel’s request for a continuance in a murder trial was plain error requiring a new trial.
A Judge’s Judge By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2008 Article, Page 448 In Thomas Fitzgerald, the Illinois Supreme Court has a seasoned trial judge at the helm. Here’s an interview with the new chief.
Correspondence from Our Readers July 2008 Column, Page 330 Sharia law? Voluntary dismissal; confrontation clause; HUD-1 form.st.
Correspondence from Our Readers June 2008 Column, Page 274  Sharia law; Rukavina and law-related services.
Felzak and Ligon: an answer to judicial overactivism? By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2008 Lawpulse, Page 174 What if a judge surprises you by entering an order on a substantive matter at what was supposed to be a mere status hearing? Some lawyers apprise the court of two appellate cases.
Problem-Solving Courts By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2008 Article, Page 184 Supporters of drug, mental-health, and other specialty courts say they reduce recidivism and help offenders get control of their lives.
Asked and Answered November 2007 Column, Page 610 What do you do with a difficult judge?
Judicial Evaluation -De Facto Merit Selection? By Joseph G. Bisceglia September 2007 Column, Page 452 By educating voters, bar groups can counter special interests.
A Day for Justice By Irene F. Bahr May 2007 Column, Page 228 Raising awareness about judicial independence is more important than ever.
Correspondence from Our Readers January 2007 Column, Page 6 Don't be afraid to substitute judges.
Defamation per se of candidate requires more than mean-spirited hyperbole January 2007 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 The Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, recently affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Madison County, dismissing a defamation action brought by Maag, a judge in a retention election. 
Impaired Lawyers: Helping Before the Bell Tolls By Hon. Ron Spears November 2006 Column, Page 626 Don't take advantage of impaired judges and adversaries; help them
Judicial Independence: A Citizen’s Right By Irene F. Bahr November 2006 Column, Page 576 Judicial Independence: A Citizen's Right
Substitution of Judges: Proceed with Caution By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2006 Article, Page 590 Lawyers and judges speculate about whether and when moving for substitution is really the right move.
Voter Information and Judicial Retention Elections in Illinois By Albert J. Klumpp, Ph October 2006 Article, Page 538 Are judicial retention elections impervious to information-based voting? An analysis of voting patterns suggests not.
MCLE for judges By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2006 Lawpulse, Page 222 Judges, too, are on the hook for mandatory CLE, the Illinois Supreme Court announced last month. 
The Circuit Courts Act is amended to reduce judgeships in the 19th and 22nd judicial circuits PA 094-0727 April 2006 Illinois Law Update, Page 174 Effective February 14, 2006, the Circuit Courts Act (Act), 705 ILCS 35/2 et seq, was amended to reduce the number of judgeships in the 19th and 22nd circuits. 
Must trial judges grant special favors to pro se litigants? By Helen W. Gunnarsson February 2006 Lawpulse, Page 62 Judges often cut pro se litigants a lot of slack. 
Bench-bar ombudsmen By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2006 Lawpulse, Page 10 Bar association programs are helping lawyers and judges resolve minor conflicts while they're still minor.
Judges’ Pet Peeves: Peevish Practitioners, Poor Preparation and More By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2006 Article, Page 20 From needless discovery squabbles and poor preparation among the bar to high-handedness on the bench, judges tell what bugs them.
The 2004 Allerton House Conference: Balancing Economy, Efficiency, and Fairness By Jeffrey A. Parness November 2004 Article, Page 590 This year's conference addressed court funding, litigation expenses, settlement talks, and more.
Larry the Lizard’s Near-Death Experience By Hon. Ron Spears November 2004 Column, Page 600 The search for justice yields a solution worthy of Solomon.
Reining in Outside Influence on Judicial Campaigns By Ole Bly Pace October 2004 Column, Page 506  ISBA monitors the tone and conduct of judicial campaigns.
Applying the Frye Standard to Expert Testimony; A Guide for Lawyers and Judges By Hon. Robert J. Steigmann July 2004 Article, Page 363 Here's an appellate court justice's framework for analyzing Frye issues.