Illinois Bar Journal

Articles on Judge's Corner

Black Robe to Gold Watch

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2016
Column
, Page 46
What do aging citizens – and judges – mean for the justice system?

Judging Forensic Science

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2015
Column
, Page 48
Lawyers and judges have been slow to acknowledge the limitations of forensic science.

Are Courts Headed for a Market Failure?

By Ron Spears
August
2015
Column
, Page 52
Dissatisfied litigants and other unhappy "consumers" of justice are increasingly choosing private options.
2 comments (Most recent July 30, 2015)

Flawed Facts and Fact-Finders

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2015
Column
, Page 44
More judges are being asked to allow expert testimony about eyewitness ID and confessions.

Are We Ready for ‘Practice Ready’?

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2014
Column
, Page 550
Should law schools do more to prepare grads for practice?

Unstructuring Structured Settlements

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2014
Column
, Page 248
Some companies and plaintiffs want to revert structured settlements to lump sums, and judges have the final say.

Judicial Independence: Two Westerns and a Promise

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2014
Column
, Page 98
Sometimes judges have to make a lonely stand against the majority.

Lincoln on the Wall

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2013
Column
, Page 104
Lincoln was an exemplary but not perfect lawyer - which makes his example all the more inspiring.

The Real Prisoner’s Dilemma

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2012
Column
, Page 442
Defendants have a Constitutional right to effective counsel during plea bargains.

A Bricoleur’s Response to Murphy’s Law

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2012
Column
, Page 270
"Bricolage" is the art of creating a solution using whatever is available. It's an art litigators would do well to cultivate.

Lawyers, Doctors and Matryoshka Dolls

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2012
Column
, Page 106
Fee contests over physician testimony reflect the tension between lawyers and doctors.

Contagion and the Courts

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2011
Column
, Page 588
Health care providers aren't the only ones who have to respond to public health emergencies.

A Visit to the Academy

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2011
Column
, Page 420
Dispatches from a four-day seminar on the impact of poverty and wealth on justice.

What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2011
Column
, Page 260
How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.

Character on Trial

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2011
Column
, Page 102
Judge Justice and his colleagues express their misgivings about character evidence.

Humpty Dumpty Child

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2010
Column
, Page 588
Healing broken children is hard but essential work.

Foreseeing the “Four C’s” (Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions)

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2010
Column
, Page 432
The collateral consequences of conviction are often the gravest.

Looking for “facts” in all the Wrong Places

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2010
Column
, Page 102
Social networking sites are great - unless jurors are using them in ways that threaten a fair trial.

Predictions, Probabilities and the Magic 8-Ball

November
2009
Column
, Page 585
Despite the best analysis of the best evidence, predicting human behavior is a risky business.

Make Settlement Agreements a Centerpiece, not an Afterthought

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2009
Column
, Page 422
Careful planning for settlements can prevent bad results.

A Snipe-Hunter’s guide to Coaxing Answers from Hostile Witnesses

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2009
Column
, Page 260
Preparation and skillful questioning can help you bag your quarry.

Lincoln’s Teams of Legal Rivals

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2009
Column
, Page 100
Before he was President, Lawyer Lincoln drew on the strength of rivals.

The Five People You Meet in Wal-Mart

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2008
Column
, Page 586
Judge Justice learns how he has affected the lives of litigants.

Eyewitnesses and the Rashomon Effect

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2008
Column
, Page 424
Research indicates that eyewitness testimony is less reliable than people think.

Are Civility and Zealous Advocacy Compatible?

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2008
Column
, Page 260
Reason can change minds when rudeness won't.

Diogenes and the Testimonial Whopper

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2008
Column
, Page 104
What can we do to improve the accuracy and honesty of witness testimony? Not enough.

Burdens of Proof

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2007
Column
, Page 604
Defining burdens of proof can be hard. But they're easier to understand than to define.

If the Gloves Don’t Fit…

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2007
Column
, Page 436
Physical evidence can have a huge impact, but know whether it will help or hurt your client.

Attorney Independence? Remember the Alamo!

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2007
Column
, Page 272
Let's stand up for lawyers who represent unpopular clients.

Opening Statements: Soup for the Jury’s Soul

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2007
Column
, Page 102
A good opening statement will shape jurors' perception of the case.

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