DOWNTOWN — A lawyer is trained to argue anything, but 11 local legal groups have found surprising unanimity on 11 judicial candidates on the ballot in Cook County next week.
Those 11 were "not recommended" by all 11 lawyer associations, which put out their candidate ratings in a bid to help voters elect qualified judges.
Most were ruled out for declining to take part in the Judicial Evaluation Committee screening process conducted by the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening.
Two of those candidates are in the same race, for the Circuit Court of Cook County's Johnson vacancy. Gregory Raymond LaPapa and Bonnie Carol McGrath were both found "not recommended" by all 11 legal groups.
The Chicago Bar Association reported: "Mr. LaPapa has been the subject of numerous lawsuits for unpaid bills and several lawsuits for breach of contract. In addition, Mr. LaPapa’s license to practice law was suspended by the Illinois Supreme Court for one year from September 2001-September 2002."
McGrath, meanwhile, was discounted because she "declined to participate in the Judicial Evaluation Committee screening process and, therefore ... is automatically found not recommended," a practice common to the groups. It's also what earned the other eight unanimously-not-recommended candidates their snubs
In the Circuit Court's Karnezis vacancy, Brian J. O'Hara was likewise found not recommended by all for not participating.
In the First Subcircuit, Hopkins vacancy, Rhonda Crawford was rejected by all for the same reason.
In the Second Subcircuit's Savage vacancy, Renee Jackson was not recommended by all for the same reason.
In the Fifth Subcircuit's Eadie-Daniels vacancy, Jameika Mangum declined to take part in the process.
In the Sixth Subcircuit's addition of "Judgeship A," Carlos Claudio was rejected by all for the same reason.
In the Seventh Subcircuit's Rivkin-Carothers vacancy, Jennifer Ballad declined to take part.
In the 11th Subcircuit's Kelly vacancy, James DiChristofano was not recommended by any group ditto.
In the 12th Subcircuit's additional "Judgeship A," Alex Kaplan was rejected across the board for declining.
And the same went for Matthew Link, although it was unlikely to hurt him. He ran unopposed in the race for the 14th Subcircuit's Murphy vacancy.
The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening includes 11 organizations: the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, the Black Women's Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Cook County Bar Association, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, the Hellenic Bar Association, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.
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