Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Kidnapping of Richard Maass - Part Two

It has been almost three years since my grandfather, Richard Maass, passed away. I still have nightmares remembering how he suffered; how his body was wracked with pain and how he cried out for help. I will never understand why Anne Recht, the geriatric care manager and Mary Giordano, the guardian with Franchina and Giordano refused to allow him hospice and palliative care. But that is what guardianship is; it gives the rights of an individual away to a total stranger who is then allowed to steal their estate and their personal items, lock them up against their will and then refuse to allow them to die without pain and without dignity. Why? Does this feed their ego? Is it the thirst for power over another human being? Are their egos that big? Are they that desperate for money? I found out the answer the hard way. The answer is yes, all of the above is what drives them to do this, all of the sick reasons for abusing some of our most vulnerable members of society.

While I know I am not to blame for his suffering, I can’t seem to get past the fact that there was something I should have been able to do. When I speak with others whose loved ones were victims of these people, they tell me they feel the same way. They too suffer, wondering what they could have done to save their loved ones from the clutches of these two women and the late Judge Joel Asarch, the person who gave his stamp of approval and signed off on their actions.

Full Article and Source:
Part Two:  The Kidnapping of Richard Maass

See Also:
Richard Maass, NY Victim

ABC Action News I-Team: Al Katz Center Educates and Fights Against Abusive Professional Guardianships.

Last week, the I-Team was there when 99-year-old Willi Berchau was released from Florida's guardianship program after a three-year court battle.

The I-Team has learned that a local non-profit group has been established to assist other families in avoiding or getting out of court-ordered guardianship.

“It is vast and it is deep,” Beverly Newman said, when asked about how big of a problem was posed by Florida’s professional guardianship program.

“It is an industry with layers of individuals who are profiteering from elders,” she said.

Newman reached out to the I-Team after our investigation into Florida's professional guardianship program.

We've uncovered instances in which judges disregard written wishes of families, then gave control over their lives and finances to professional guardians.

Newman said the same thing happened to her.

“I walked into a land mine I did not imagine,” Newman said.

In 2009, Newman's father Al Katz became sick and was admitted to a Sarasota hospital.

Katz, a Holocaust survivor, was  a snowbird from Indiana.

Newman and her husband left Indianapolis and drove straight to Florida as soon as they heard Katz had become ill.

“We assumed, as his family and his caretakers for eight years, that we should be able to pick him up. No way,” said Newman.

Katz, instead, was appointed a professional guardian by the courts.

Records show the guardian sought and received a "no contact order" preventing Katz's family from taking him home.

“We had no ability to speak to him, visit him. So my father, of course, thought he was abandoned,” Newman said.

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Sarasota non-profit educates, fights against abusive professional guardianships

See Also:
NASGA - Al Katz, IN/FL Victim

NASGA - Debbie Woodward, FL Victim>/a>

NASGA - Marie Lubowski Winkelman, FL Victim

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holocaust Survivor Guardianized in Florida

On December 4th, a beautiful and brilliant 88-year-old Holocaust Survivor named Marie Winkelman was put into guardianship in the Sarasota, Florida Probate Court – without a hearing – based upon a mediation agreement. Marie is a recent resident of Bird Key who still lives independently and keeps her home in immaculate condition.

The mediation agreement was prepared by Federal Mediator Gary Larsen, which Marie did not see until after the mediation. Her fortune of many millions, which she earned through decades of hard work and prudent investments, is now in the hands of a company named Sabal Trust with which she has never had any contact. Through the mediated agreement, she is given a monthly allowance of her own money, despite the fact she has always spent her money judiciously.

The numerous attorneys involved in her case, including Barry Spivey, Christopher Likens, Kim Bald, Rebecca Proctor, and Thomas Shults, will collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Survivor's assets, even though she was denied her due process rights.

NASGA Marie Lubowski Winkelman, Florida Victim

The Forgotten Ones - Compassion for the Elderly

A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. ~ G. Donald Gale

*Please volunteer to visit the lonely and forgotten elderly in your community.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Where are They Now? The Fight over Terri Schiavo's Fate and Her Family

It was the question that bitterly divided the nation in the '90s: Should Terri Schiavo live or be allowed to die? In 2003, Oprah spoke with Terri's mother and siblings about Terri's health and their desire to continue her medical treatment. However, in 2005, Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, won his legal battle to have her feeding tube removed. She died on March 31, 2005.

Now, find out how Terri's mother and brother are keeping her memory alive today.

Source and video:
Where are They Now?  The Fight Over Terri Schiavo's Fate and Her Family

Alleged "Mercy Kill" Gunman ID'd

A man was arrested Wednesday morning after allegedly carrying out the possible mercy killings of his ailing wife and invalid sister, police said.

The suspect, identified as Lance Holger Anderson, 60, of Santa Clarita, is suspected of shooting his wife at their Santa Clarita home and then shooting his sister, identified as Lisa Nave, 58, in the head as she lay invalid in her bed at a North Hills nursing home.

Full Article and Source:
Alleged "Mercy Kill" Gunman ID'd

Fired social worker accused of financially exploiting grandmother

A Moorhead, Minn. woman who managed her grandmother's bank account is accused of making thousands of dollars of purchases without permission.

Clay County prosecutors charged 28-year-old Alyse Penner with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Court documents say Penner used the money for restaurants, hotels, liquor, groceries and shopping. The victim told police that she believes Penner took about $20,000.

Full Article and Source:
Fired social worker accused of financially exploiting grandmother

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Passing of Winifred Carol Wyman

Winifred Carol Wyman, 81, formerly of Rockford, IL, passed away peacefully on December 3, 2013, in the home of her son, John Howard Wyman.

Although Winifred has passed, her spirit is alive and will continue to touch others’ through the legacy of her life story and her works of art.

Obituary:  Winifred Carol Wyman

Note:  Winifred's son, John Wyman, wrote the book, "AGAINST HER WILL - A CAUTIONARY TALE"

Two years ago, John Wyman's mother Carol walked out of a nursing home in Rockford, Illinois.  She had been placed there for the convenience of others, not for her own well-being and had suffered mentally, physically and emotionally.

When she ended up at John's home outside of Aspen, Colorado, his journey began dealing with nursing homes, courts and family members to provide the best possible situation for his mother.

What he experienced woke him up to the inequities and injustices lurking in the systems which have been established to help our older population. 

Rest in peace, Carol.

Boulder theft from elderly case leads to woman's conviction

A 54-year-old woman was convicted Wednesday in Boulder District Court on felony theft charges for scamming an elderly Boulder couple of almost $600,000 over the span of seven years.

Michelle Ann Hebert was found guilty on two counts of theft from an at-risk adult -- a Class 3 felony -- as well as eight tax related charges by a jury after a four-day trial.

According to an arrest affidavit, Hebert met the victims, Howard and Charlotte Krasnoff, in 2001 when Howard Krasnoff, 89, became a patient at a Longmont eye clinic where Hebert worked as a receptionist.

The Krasnoffs said Hebert's behavior toward Howard was "flirtatious," and that she would often show him pictures of her daughter because he had a soft spot for children. He also had several medial issues, including Parkinson's disease and memory issues.

In 2005, Hebert showed up at the Krasnoffs' door and asked for a $300 loan to help pay for living expenses, according to court records. The Krasnoffs were confused by the request, but gave her the money because they knew her and thought she was a good person. Hebert did pay back the $300 loan.

But after that Hebert began seeing Howard Krasnoff -- a psychotherapist -- as a patient and asked him for more money. She told him stories about how her daughter was sick or that she was afraid of her ex-husbands when asking for loans, sometimes ranging in the thousands of dollars.

Hebert told the Krasnoffs she would pay them back when she won a multi-million dollar lawsuit she said she had filed or sold her house in Wyoming, but none of the loans were ever repaid.

She also used a credit card belonging to Howard Krasnoff to make purchases until he cancelled the card.

The Krasnoffs finally brought their case forward to investigators in April.

Howard Krasnoff passed away on Oct. 3, but was able to give a recorded deposition that was played for the jury, and Charlotte Krasnoff testified at the trial in person.

Boulder Deputy District Attorney Jane Walsh said the case was an example of why exploitation cases against the elderly needed to be prosecuted.

"This was a case where someone systematically exploited vulnerable seniors, one of whom was particularly vulnerable due to ill health and cognitive decline," Walsh said. "We were happy that the jury reacted to send a clear message that they wouldn't tolerate seniors being stolen from and exploited in this way."

Full Article and Source:
Boulder theft from elderly case leads to woman's conviction

Lawsuit: Judge Forced Teen Girl to Live With Convicted Rapist

A Texas judge is facing accusations that he put a 15-year-old girl in harm’s way by forcing her to live with a rapist. The girl told Judge Terry Flenniken that she was abused by a convicted sex offender, who was also the boyfriend of her legal guardian.

Greg Terra, president of the Texas Center for Defense of Life, told Megyn Kelly the organization first became involved with the case because the girl sought their help after the couple tried to coerce her into getting an abortion.

When they discovered the teen was living with a registered sex offender, they filed a lawsuit to have her removed from the house. The judge ruled that he found no evidence she was being forced to have an abortion, or that it was in her best interest to be removed.

Full Article and Source:
Lawsuit: Judge Forced Teen Girl to Live With Convicted Rapist

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Judge's Wife Accused of Poisoning HIm

Carla Hague, the wife of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Juvenile and Probate Judge Charles Hague who is accused of poisoning him, will not be arraigned and the case will go directly to an Ashtabula County Grand Jury.

Carla Hague, 71, was arrested for allegedly poisoning Judge Hague with antifreeze back in September. She is being held in the Lake County Adult Detention Center on a felonious assault charge and an attempted murder charge will be forthcoming, said Sheriff William R. Johnson.

Acting Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicolas Iarocci said the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will prosecute the case, while Iarocci’s office will be involved on a limited basis.

Johnson said the arraignment is being waived and the case will come before an Ashtabula County Grand Jury Dec. 18, which is the next time a jury is scheduled to meet.

Full Article and Source:
Hague Poison Case Going to Grand Jury

The Ruling That Could Change Everything For Disabled People With Million-Dollar Trusts

Note:  This article was published July 2013, and we felt it important enough to run again.
Judge Kristen Booth
When Judge Kristen Booth Glen walked into her Manhattan Surrogate's courtroom one day in 2007, she had no idea she was about to challenge the nation's top banks on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled people.

Before her stood lawyer Harvey J. Platt, who was petitioning to become the legal guardian of Mark Christopher Holman a severely autistic teen who lived in an institution upstate. 

Holman had been left an orphan nearly three years earlier after the eccentric millionaire who adopted him passed away. According to doctors, he had the communication skills of a toddler, unable to bathe, dress, or eat by himself.

But before Judge Glen would grant this seemingly perfunctory petition, she had a few questions for Platt.

Mark Holman
"How often have you visited Mark Holman?" she asked the lawyer.

"Since his mother died, I have not visited him," said Platt.

"And when you say you haven't visited him since then, how often had you visited him prior to that?"

"I haven't seen him since he was eight or nine," responded the lawyer. "His mother used to bring him to our office with his brother, just to show him my face and so forth and so on, so I haven't seen him probably since 1995 or 1996."

It was around that time that Platt helped Mark's mother, Marie Holman,  draft her will and create trusts for him and his older brother. A decade later, when she was dying, Platt promised Marie he'd apply to become Mark's guardian.

Full Article and Source:
The Ruling That Could Change Everything For Disabled People With Million-Dollar Trusts

Monday, December 9, 2013

Husband of disgraced former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem pleads guilty to tax fraud charge

The husband of a former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem who last month agreed to plead guilty to income tax fraud charges has himself admitted to his role in defrauding the federal government.

Walter J. Pietralczyk, Jr., 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a tax fraud misdemeanor before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt at the federal courthouse in Scranton, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

In November, Ross, his wife, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted tax evasion for failing to report about $200,000 in income she received from parents with whom she worked in her capacity as guardian ad litem for the Lackawanna County Family Court.

As guardian ad litem, Ross was assigned to represent families in the county going through severe custody disputes.

As part of her independent contract with the court system, Ross was allowed to charge $50 per hour to families with which she worked, records show.

This was on top of her $38,000 county court salary.

In agreeing to plead guilty to the single count of attempted tax evasion, federal prosecutors dropped five other counts that had been contained in an indictment against Ross.

This week, Pietralczyk, who had been charged in a criminal information filed by the prosecutor’s office last month, pleaded guilty in connection with the case against his wife because the couple filed joint tax returns.

Full Article and Source:
Husband of disgraced former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem pleads guilty to tax fraud charge

Geography no worry when Supreme Court appoints judges

Early in November, Allan W. Masters filed papers declaring his candidacy for a vacancy in the 12th judicial subcircuitt on Chicago’s North Shore, where his home is located.

The odd part: Masters is currently sitting as a judge in the 9th subcircuit an area farther south.

He has been filling that 9th subcircuit seat since June, when the state Supreme Court appointed Masters to fill a vacancy created when Judge Lee Preston retired.

The court made that appointment despite the  Illinois Judicial Vacancies Act, a law that states the Supreme Court should fill vacancies with residents of the subcircuit where the vacancy occurs.   The act states: “A person appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of circuit judge shall be, at the time of appointment, a resident of the subcircuit from which the person whose vacancy is being filled was elected if the vacancy occurred in a circuit divided into subcircuits.”

It’s one more way in which the system of subcircuit judicial posts in Cook County seems to be amiss. A joint investigation by Medill Watchdog and WGN Investigates found a series of problems that plague the subcircuit system enacted in 1991 by legislators who hoped to create a diverse corps of judges from neighborhoods throughout the county. The system has led to a higher number of judges who do not pass muster in the evaluation process of a variety of bar associations; and several judges have houses outside the subcircuits from which they were elected.

The investigation also identified a series of instances in which the Illinois Supreme Court has appointed judges who do not live in the subcircuit in which the vacancy occurs.

In 2003 the state enacted the provision of the Judicial Vacancies Act, just to be clear about its expectations when the Supreme Court goes to fill vacancies on the court.

The court has never ruled on whether it considers that 2003 provision constitutional or not. It just seems, at times, to make its appointments without worrying about the niceties of geography.

Explained Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who represents the Chicago Bar Association: “The only person who can tell us what the law is and if it’s constitutional is the Illinois Supreme Court. And nobody has brought a case so it’s a little bit like not challenging people’s addresses. If nobody challenges them then the law just kind of evolves on its own.”

So when Anthony Iosco retired from the Cook County Circuit Court last year from the 13th subcircuit in the northwest suburbs,, the court chose to replace him with Lauretta Higgins Wolfson, who lives in a downtown high rise with her husband, a well-known retired judge and DePaul University School of Law visiting professor.

Wolfson, like Masters, failed to respond to repeated requests for comment.

The appointments do more than help fill temporary holes on the bench. In an elective system that many legal experts worry opens the door to uninformed voters making bad choices, the appointments give a boost to those appointed when they compete in elections to fill the seats more permanently.

In recent years, the court has on several occasions filled vacancies by appointing highly rated judges after they lose elective races. “They are supposed to be trying to find the best qualified people,” explained Suffredin.

(Part 5) - Continue Reading

Full Article and Source:
Geography no worry when Supreme Court appoints judges

See Also:

Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System  (Part 1)

Issues of qualifications: Subcircuit judges often less touted (Part 2)

Moving out: Subcircuit judges relocate, foiling geographic diversity (Part 3)

Questions of residence: Records raise questions about residences of some subcircuit judges (Part 4)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tonight is "open mic night" on T.S. Radio

Our guest for this evening had to cancel at the last minute, so we will be covering some news on guardianship that has occurred over the last few weeks and will take a few calls.

Also:  News about a new ruling on those administrative appointee's they want us to call "judge".

We will be talking at some length about ABC News coverage, and the progress that has been made as a result of this coverage.

I want to thank everyone for their kindness over these last few weeks.  Hopefully by this next week we will be up and running as usual.

5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST

Call in to (917) 388-4520

LISTEN TO THE SHOW LIVE or listen to the archive later

Questions of residence: Records raise questions about residences of some subcircuit judges

When Cook County assistant public defender Beatriz Santiago ran for Cook County judge last year, there were reasons to question just where she lived.

Weeks before she began to circulate nominating petitions, Santiago changed her address from the house she owned – which was outside the subcircuit in which she was running – to her parents’ two-flat house inside the subcircuit.

Santiago took her clothing and her dogs, but left behind her furniture, her big screen television and the Direct TV connection, according to testimony at a hearing on whether Santiago really had moved into the subcircuit, as she claimed. She moved back in, according to her testimony, to live with her parents; sister Leticia Santiago, and Leticia’s daughter Isabella; brother Luis Santiago, his wife and their three children; and brother Jose Santiago. Adopted brother Joel Vazquez also lived there when Beatriz Santiago first moved in, she testified.

At the end of a hearing over an opponent’s challenge to her residency, a hearing officer wrote: “There are a number of facts regarding the Candidate’s residency that are not that entirely plausible.” But, the hearing officer ruled, there also was not conclusive proof Santiago was lying about her residence, and therefore she was left on the ballot.

Read the full ruling in the case here.

Santiago is one of several subcircuit judges whose housing arrangements raised questions in a joint investigation by Medill Watchdog and WGN Investigates. The review found repeated instances where judges owned homes that were outside the subcircuit altogether, or had moved at some point outside the subcircuit from which they were elected.

The review also found records that some judges owned more than one house that held a homeowner exemption – a status that permits reduced property taxes to homeowners for their primary residence.
Santiago’s case stood out for a simple reason: the residence issue had been reviewed and subjected to outside examination.

More commonly, the Medill Watchdog/WGN Investigates probe found, nobody appears to be watching whether judges are honoring the residence laws. And with an increasing number of laws enacted that protect records of judges from scrutiny – their voter registration, their car registration, their addresses on election board candidate forms and on deeds are among the records that by law can be redacted from public view – the absence of an official tasked with monitoring their reports gains heightened significance.

(Part 4) - Continue Reading

Full Article and Source:
Questions of residence: Records raise questions about residences of some subcircuit judges

See Also:

Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System  (Part 1)

Issues of qualifications: Subcircuit judges often less touted (Part 2)

Moving out: Subcircuit judges relocate, foiling geographic diversity (Part 3)

Moving out: Subcircuit judges relocate, foiling geographic diversity

The llinois Constitution requires judicial candidates to pass three tests in order to wear the robes. The candidate must be a U.S. citizen. The candidate must be a licensed attorney. And the candidate must be a resident of the “unit” which elects him or her.

Just like aldermen or state representatives or Congressmen, candidates running for judge must live in their geographic district. In Cook County some judges are elected countywide. But  in 1991, to increase the diversity of a bench that had been too heavily white, male and Democratic, the state enacted a law creating 15 subcircuits in Cook County and dictating that the judges elected from those subcircuits would have to live there.

An investigation by Medill Watchdog and WGN Investigates found that the issue of where subcircuit judges live is one more curious aspect of how the law has played out. Many legal experts object that the law has opened the door to too many inexperienced or poorly qualified judges, even as the quality of the bench overall has gone up. On top of that, it turns out, several subcircuit judges, once elected, moved from houses in the subcircuit to posh condos or comfortable homes in suburban neighborhoods far from the subcircuit from which they were elected.

“The idea of the subcircuit was if you ran you were going to live in that subcircuit,” said Larry Suffredin, who as lobbyist for the Chicago Bar Association has played an active role in legislative battles over judicial selection.

“I do think judges help stabilize neighborhoods. They are significant public officials. They are people that kids can look up to, that neighbors can feel comfortable having in their community.”

Leida Gonzalez Santiago became one of the youngest members of the bench when she was elected in 1992, one of the first subcircuit judges to take office even despite a negative evaluation from the Chicago Council of Lawyers. Gonzalez Santiago is married to Miguel Santiago, the former alderman and state representative, who reportedly helped her onto the bench. In 1999 the couple bought a house farther north, out of the subcircuit, that would become her registered voter address.

Gonzalez Santiago failed to respond to several requests for an interview. So did Vanessa Hopkins, who won election from a far south side Chicago subcircuit in 1996, just two years after she was admitted to practice law in Illinois.  But within three years, records show, she bought a condominium in a nicer neighborhood outside the subcircuit, and signed a mortgage which included a clause stating that without a written agreement to the contrary, the condo would be her primary address.

Not everyone thought the law calling for judges to stay put in subcircuits made sense. Robert Cummins, who once sat on the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, has long opposed the creation of judicial subcircuits.

“Does it make any difference whether the judge grew up and lived in Hyde Park when he was elected,” Cummins asked. “Is he going to be a different person when he moves to Rogers Park?
“Frankly,” Cummins added, “we shouldn’t be looking for judges who are going to call the balls and strikes based on something other than the evidence and the merits and the integrity of the case before them.”

In 2006, state attorney general Lisa Madigan issued an opinion casting doubt on the law altogether. The legislature could not dictate, she wrote, where judges lived after their first six-year terms, once voters countywide had voted to retain them on the bench.

The ruling opened the door. “So many of these judicial deserts ended up losing the judges they had,” said Suffredin.

Judge Peter Flynn, for example, had won election from a south side subcircuit in 2000. In 2009, he and his wife jumped ship, buying a North Shore home. Flynn, who has been favorably reviewed by the bar association groups, failed to respond to requests for an interview about this investigation.

(Part 3) - Continue Reading

Full Article and Source:
Moving out: Subcircuit judges relocate, foiling geographic diversity

See Also:
Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System  (Part 1)

Issues of qualifications: Subcircuit judges often less touted (Part 2)

Issues of qualifications: Subcircuit judges often less touted

When four candidates vied for the vacant seventh subcircuit Cook County Court seat last year, one seemed to stand out.

Arthur Wheatley already had been filling the seat for two years, after a temporary appointment from the Illinois Supreme Court. The former CTA lawyer won favorable ratings from all 12 bar groups that evaluated judicial Cook County candidates last year. A Chicago Tribune endorsement even called him a “star” candidate.

And all three of his opponents in the race were given largely unfavorable evaluations by the various bar groups. One of them, Kimberly D. Lewis, did not even submit materials to be considered by the evaluation committees.

Never mind the fact that lawyers’ groups agreed she should not be recommended for a seat. A record low number of voters bothered to turn out on an unseasonably warm March primary day last year. And when the smoke cleared, Lewis had won a seat with just 7,984 votes.

So it goes in the murky world of subcircuit judicial elections, where voters with little information and little interest choose judges who often end up serving for years on countywide seats.

“It’s a ridiculous way to be electing judges,” said Anton Valukas, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Valukas, who oversaw prosecution of the judicial scandal Operation Greylord, and other members of the legal community long have worried that the subcircuit races open the door to less qualified candidates joining the bench because of the influence of some local politicians.

Even as the quality of the bench in Cook County has been greatly enhanced in recent years, as more exceptional judges win seats, Valukas said, the subcircuit system increases the risk of less qualified people winning judgeships.

(Part 2) - Continue Reading

Full Article and Source:
Issues of qualifications: Subcircuit judges often less touted

See Also:
Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System  (Part 1)

Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System

Cook County Democratic Party Chief Joe Berrios approached Beatriz Santiago in the summer of 2011 to urge her to consider a seat on the Cook County Circuit Court.

Never mind that the vacancy created when Judge David Delgado resigned was for the 6th subcircuit, a region on Chicago’s near north side, and Santiago’s home was in the 7th subcircuit, a region farther south.

Santiago, then a public defender, said she moved back into her parent’s house inside the subcircuit and won election to the vacancy the following year.

And so it goes in the murky world of Cook County subcircuits, a system devised two decades ago when African American, Hispanic and women legislators banded together with Republicans to shake up the system by dictating that at least some judges would come from subcircuits across the county that theoretically would be more representative of local communities.

It hasn’t necessarily worked out the way it was intended. Today there are indeed more women and people of color on the bench. But many factors beyond the subcircuit divisions — including the changing demographics of the legal profession — have helped spur that diversity.

(Part 1)

Full Article and Source:
Judging the Judges: Cook County’s Troubled Judiciary Elections System