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Practice News

Illinois Law to review recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Appearing on the shows are (front, from left) program moderator John T. Theis, a Chicago lawyer; Cecil J. Hunt II, a professor at The John Marshall Law School; and Michele M. Jochner, judicial law clerk to Justice Charles Freeman of the Illinois Supreme Court; and (rear) Hon. Leonard Murray, an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County
Appearing on the shows are (front, from left) program moderator John T. Theis, a Chicago lawyer; Cecil J. Hunt II, a professor at The John Marshall Law School; and Michele M. Jochner, judicial law clerk to Justice Charles Freeman of the Illinois Supreme Court; and (rear) Hon. Leonard Murray, an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County
The Illinois State Bar Association's Illinois Law cable program will air "Review of Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions" throughout the month of November. This two-part series will air on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on CAN-TV Cable Channel 21. Appearing on the shows will be program moderator John T. Theis, a Chicago lawyer; Cecil J. Hunt II, a professor at The John Marshall Law School; Michele M. Jochner, judicial law clerk to Justice Charles Freeman of the Illinois Supreme Court; and Hon. Leonard Murray, an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County Part 1 will air on Nov. 3 and Nov.

Bolden to fill Associate Judge vacancy in 12th Judicial Circuit

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
On the recommendation of Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Raymond A. Bolden, a longtime attorney, retired associate judge and one of the founding members of the Black Bar Association of Will County, to fill a vacancy in the 12th Judicial Circuit. Mr. Bolden, who retired in 2001 after 15 years as an associate judge, will fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Circuit Judge Edward F. Petka. The appointment is effective Nov. 1, 2009, and will terminate Dec. 6, 2010.

Miller named Associate Judge in DuPage County

Posted on October 26, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Chief Judge Stephen J. Culliton announced that Robert A. Miller has been appointed to Associate Circuit Judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit. Mr. Miller fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Judge Mark W. Dwyer. Mr. Miller received his J.D. from Drake University School of Law in 1987 and is currently the Chief Public Defender for DuPage County.

House repeals Red Flag Rule for small businesses

Posted on October 21, 2009 by James R. Covington
Yesterday in Washington the House of Representatives sent the Senate HR 3763 that repeals the Red Flag Rule for small businesses in which lawyers and others would be treated as creditors for identity theft. Under a rule effective August 1, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission requires  lawyers, including solo practitioners, to have in place written protocols to detect and address the "red flags" of identity theft. Bar associations, including the ABA and ISBA, are registering objections. Helen Gunnarsson's August 2009 piece in the Illinois Bar Journal goes into more detail on the Red Flag Rule.

DUI sentencing: Is SCRAM flying under the radar?

Posted on October 19, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
Judge Gregory Paul Vazquez thinks so, at least in Cook County where he sits. As a result, lawyers are missing a powerful sentencing option, he writes in the latest ISBA Criminal Justice newsletter. "The SCRAM [Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring] device is simply an ankle bracelet that the subject wears to monitors alcohol intake. This monitoring occurs on a 24/7 basis and is measured by the perspiration given off by the human body. More specifically, the device captures transdermal alcohol readings from continuous samples of vaporous or insensible perspiration collected from the air above the skin. The defendant’s monitoring bracelet sends a signal to a remote location and notifies the provider when a violation or alcohol intake has occurred." So how might SCRAM come into play? Judge Vazquez offers an illustration. "For example, an attorney may find himself defending a client who has had a DUI 10 years ago. Jail time, even if a remote possibility, may still be on the table. Here the judge may desire not to send the defendant to jail if doing so may cause great suffering to the defendant’s family, such as loss of defendant’s employment, inability to attend to a sick family member who solely relies upon the defendant, and other similar circumstances. In this situation, use of SCRAM technology may provide a sentencing alternative; a condition that not only protects the public but also provides a step towards rehabilitation." Interested? Read the article.

Repeal of partnership tax change

Posted on October 18, 2009 by James R. Covington
Last week in veto session the Senate repealed a part of a the budget bill enacted into law in June. The budget bill, Public Act 96-45, changed tax policy effective for tax years ending Dec. 31, 2009 by limiting partnerships’ deduction to “guaranteed payments” instead of “reasonable compensation” for the Personal Property Replacement Tax. That change generally limits the deduction to income partners because equity partners’ income is based on their share of the distributable income of the partnership. Last week the Senate passed 57-0-0 a repeal of this part of PA 96-45 in House Bill 2239.  The House will consider the bill the week of Oct. 26th.

The family law attorney meets estate planning

Posted on October 16, 2009 by Mark S. Mathewson
And the meeting place is the latest ISBA Elder Law Section newsletter. Which makes sense. Elder law is a place where divorce and estate planning intersect. Chicago lawyer Michael C. Craven's article makes the point that clients need to rethink estate planning not just after divorce but as they begin planning for it. Among other tips, he offers this  list of issues for divorcing clients and their lawyers to think about (quoting him below):

• Creating a new will and/or trust that does not name the spouse as a beneficiary or fiduciary;

• If there is no will, creating a will and/or trust naming the children (or someone else if no children) as beneficiaries in order to avoid intestacy laws awarding the estate, in whole or in part, to the estranged spouse;

• Transferring property into a trust. Although this does not prevent the divorce court from treating the transferred property as “marital property” upon finalization of the divorce, it will protect the property from going into the deceased spouse’s estate, and from the estranged spouse’s right to renounce a will, if death occurs before then;

• If the client has a Power of Attorney naming the spouse as agent, consider naming a new agent;

• If the client does not have a Power of Attorney for Health Care, creating one naming someone else as the agent to avoid the estranged spouse from being able to make health care decisions under the Illinois Healthcare Surrogate Act;

• Considering severing joint tenancies; and

• Changing beneficiaries of life insurance policies.

Sen. Durbin calls for applications for 2 vacant federal judgeships in Central Illinois

Posted on October 16, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today announced the names of two new members to serve on a bipartisan screening committee to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges for the Central District of Illinois. Durbin has asked small business owner and attorney, J. Victor Malkovich of Champaign and Macon County Assistant State's Attorney, Ruth Waller to serve on the Central Illinois Judicial Screening Panel. There are two federal judgeships in central Illinois that are now, or soon will become, vacant. Judges Michael Mihm and Jeanne Scott announced their intention to retire earlier this summer. Today's expansion of the Central District screening panel was needed to deal with the anticipated number of applications for those positions. The immediate task of the Central Illinois screening committee is to review applications and make recommendations to Senator Durbin for two Federal District Court Judge positions in the Central District. Applications for these positions are available on Senator Durbin's website. The application questionnaire is nearly identical to that used by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will help provide insight into potential nominees' backgrounds and qualifications. The deadline for submission of completed applications is November 2, 2009.

"Rock of Love Bus" crash suit settled for $16 million

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Defendants involved in the production of former Poison frontman Brett Michael's "Rock of Love Bus" series televised on MTV and VH-1 paid William and Colleen Wiley $16 million in a recent St. Clair County settlement. The case arose from a Sept. 26, 2008, accident involving a crew member of 51 Minds Entertainment LLC, a Hollywood production company, who fell asleep and crossed the southbound lanes of I-57 near West Frankfurt. The accident left the Wileys, of Tallahasse, Fla., seriously injured. The driver of the bus did not possess a valid driver's license and tested positive for marijuana use after the accident. The Wileys were represented by Kevin L. Fritz, Patrick E. Foppe and Lashly & Baer, P.C., which has offices in St. Louis and Belleville.

Chickris named associate judge in 14th Judicial Circuit

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director of Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the judges in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit voted to select Greg G. Chickris as an associate judge. Mr. Chickris received his undergraduate degree in 1972 from Western Illinois University and his J.D. in 1976 from DePaul University. Mr. Chickris has been engaged in solo practice in East Moline.