Friday, January 25, 2019

Hinz: It's time to talk about the way we choose judges

From Crain's Greg Hinz and another sign of unhappiness with the conclusions of two cases involving the LaQuan McDonald shooting:
But almost nothing has been said about fixing the broken system in which we select the final arbiters of justice: judges. Instead, we stick with a ridiculous election system in which we all troop to the polls every couple of years to elect or retain dozens of officials whose performance we're in no position to evaluate. We have no firsthand knowledge of who we're voting for, so we rely on others to make the choice, and that almost always results in political insiders controlling the outcome—insiders such as Ald. Edward Burke. In case you've forgotten, he's in charge of Democratic organization slating for judges, and those candidates almost always win.

The current system "is a total joke,” says Lightfoot, and she's absolutely right. Stephenson hasn't yet faced voters, since she was appointed by other judges to fill a vacancy—a process that's is even less transparent than meaningless elections.

So, amid this mayoral race, let's have some renewed discussion about “merit selection” of judges, with appointments made based on recommendations by panels of experts who are far more qualified to make a choice than a voter buttonholed by a precinct captain.

Will that be perfect? No, but that's the way it works in most states.

Is there a risk big law firms will dominate the process and leave out minorities? Absolutely. But tell me you have any faith at all in the current system.

For Chicago's policing system to work, we need police to be accountable and held to the highest standards, and we need a civilian population that trusts and works with them to fight crime. We also need judges who know what they're doing and are held to equally high standards of accountability.

Let's have that conversation.
Heh, somewhere at home I do have a nail file from a long-ago judicial candidate. Perhaps I'll share a pic of it on ig.

Read the whole thing. And perhaps you have some changes in mind to fix the system.

Also bear in mind one of the major influences as far as judge elections in Cook County was recently indicted Ald. Ed Burke (Ward 14). I wonder how much influence he'll have once he goes to trial. 

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