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Federal Complaint Exposes Slating Process of Cook County Judges as Politically Corrupt

Suing the leadership of the Cook County Democratic Party ("CCDP") on its own turf, is nonsensical according to Federal lawsuit. According to the suit, the CCDP is responsible for electing most of Cook County's sitting judges. In a novel legal argument, Plaintiffs argue that it is not possible to get a fair trial in state court if many of the judges owe their position on the judiciary to one or more of the defendants.

In a Federal pleading Friday, Plaintiffs' lead counsel charged that her clients cannot reasonably be expected to get a fair trial in Illinois state court because of conflicts of interests between almost half of the over 400 current sitting state judges, whose slating and ultimate election was due to backing by powerful leaders of the Cook County Democratic Party, including Chairman of the Party and current Cook County Assessor, Joseph Berrios- one of the Defendants, among others, including Larry R. Rogers Jr. and the Cook County Board of Review, in a civil rights suits accusing CCDP members of abuse of office and Equal Protection violations. The defendants, through multiple law firms, are trying to prevent the case from being heard in Federal Court arguing that it should be heard in Illinois state court.

Attorney, R. Tamara de Silva spoke critically about the way judges are slated and elected in Illinois, "The slating process can present breathtaking conflicts of interests and is part of the entrenched corruption and political incestuousness of this town. The problem is that the slating process is completely opaque and completely political-mired in the political traditions and conflicts of interest of old time Chicago politics. You cannot expect someone who got their job because of a politician not to have a conflict of interest, when they have to sit in judgment of that same politician-yet the slating process presents this very conflict when suing the leadership of the Cook County Democratic Party in state court." Ms. de Silva went on to say that, "the process of electing judges is in dire need of reform because it tilts the scales too much towards politics and away from merit. However, even a consideration of this problem seems foolish when you realize that the Cook County Democratic Party's tentacles of power extend to all branches of government in this state. What we lose ultimately is the advantage of separation between the branches of government and we allow the table to be set for the very real possibility of unchecked corruption."