ABA Journal



Judge Barred from Courthouse Wins Re-Election, Presses Insanity Defense in Battery Case

Nov 8, 2012, 03:53 pm CST


A bipolar judge?

They should give Her Honor her own TV show. I bet she could give Judge Judy a run for her money.

By Yankee on 2012 11 08, 7:08 pm CST

If I'd lost my case around the same time Her Honor was sitting on the wrong end of her magnet, I would be asking for my 2nd bite at the apple.

By BamaTaxLawyer on 2012 11 09, 11:37 am CST

#2: How, exactly, do you determine which pole she was occupying during your proceeding? (And which pole was detrimental to your case?)

By Ham Solo on 2012 11 09, 12:40 pm CST

I just hope they keep clear while hooking up to the positive and negative for the battery charge. If they get the leads on backward, the judge could explode in caustic fashion.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 09, 1:10 pm CST

Aw come on folks; stop the jokes. Bipolar is a horrible mental illness that may or may not be controllable by meds. Don't blame this judge for her situation (do you also blame the victims of other illnesses for their illness?) ; blame Chicago's democrat machine for keeping this judge on the bench when any sane attorney would agree she should not be there. It is the loonatics within Chicago's democrat machine who are running this asylum.

By realist on 2012 11 09, 1:30 pm CST

And blame the voters for being so stupid.

By hootiehoosier on 2012 11 09, 1:32 pm CST

@5 - Hear, hear!

By Yuppers on 2012 11 09, 1:36 pm CST

Lighten up a bit, realist. Jokes and wit are effective ways of blunting reality, particularly when dealing with the absurd. Most practicing attorneys are lucky if they have had no more than one or two occasions confronting bizarre judges and ridiculous rulings. It goes with the territory whether judges are elected or appointed. We call it "politics" and it's practiced by both sides.

By porkut on 2012 11 09, 1:41 pm CST

This isn't the least sane outcome of the recent election: in Houston, a representative deceased for more than 2 months won re-election with 70% of the vote. Is this a great country, or what?

By CAPTTOMB on 2012 11 09, 2:08 pm CST

@ realist and Yuppers

Your positions presuppose facts not in evidence, specifically, that Judge Brim was insane at the time of the act. Simply because a defense has been asserted does not mean that it is, in fact true. She will have to prove it by a clear and convincing standard. And as with guilt or innocence in the underlying criminal charge, we must presume that it is NOT TRUE until it is proven so. It is possible, you know, that she is asserting this defense simply in an effort to get away with bad behavior. Perhaps, just maybe, she's a mean-a** bully emboldened in her day-to-day actions by a perceived advantageous position in the workplace. By dint of life and experience, we all know that such type of people do, in fact, exist. If this is her tack in avoiding responsibility for her own actions, she does an extreme disservice to those who are actually afflicted with manic depression/bipolar disorder. So, don't just jump on the mental defect bandwagon simply because it is offered up, as it may very well be a tactical ploy to absorb prosecution resources. After all, tactics are all part of the game. Perhaps even more so when the defendent is of such high stature in the legal profession.

By Jeff in Texas on 2012 11 09, 2:16 pm CST

Why wouldn't the Illinois bar step in?

By mac on 2012 11 09, 2:25 pm CST

realist refers to the Cook County Court as an asylum, to "any sane attorney," to the democratic machine as "loonatics" (sic - but perhaps they like the haunting sounds of the loon at night?) and in doing so undermines his/her claim to be concerned for those who have a "horrible mental illness." Bandying these words so cavalierly shows that this was either meant as humor, or that it is simply a debased diatribe. As for me, I agree with #8. Lighten up. I have a child who is severly mentally disabled (I often use the words "mentally retarded" to avoid confusion -- but am in no way being perjorative). We are not embarassed by her condition, bring her everywhere, and love her dearly. It is better that we truly appreciate our differences, and admit to them freely, instead of pretending that we are all the same and that any reference to our differences, whether overt or through humor, will raise the spectre of the "D" word! (discrimination). Mind you, I'm not condoning viscious attacks, but the PC folks are too extreme.

By Oort Cloud on 2012 11 09, 3:01 pm CST

A sad case of politics trumping government - or in this case justice - bi-polar or not.

By redwood on 2012 11 09, 3:04 pm CST

she sounds Tri-Polar. not sure what that is though!

By HUSTLEMAN on 2012 11 09, 3:07 pm CST

@5 Your comment about the Chicago Democrat Machine is right on point. Indeed, I understand that the Chicago Machine was sucessful in getting re-elected to Congress from Illinois' Second Congressional District a fellow who has been in a rubber room at the Mayo Clinic for many months and who like Her Honor is purportedly bipolar.

By Yankee on 2012 11 09, 3:13 pm CST

Party politics in judicial elections, bleh! doesnt Illinois have a code of judicial conduct? Who enforces it?

By okiedokie on 2012 11 09, 3:23 pm CST

Ah, Chicago. Ya gotta love their politics and voters, if for no other reason than to point and laugh. But watch out--other areas of the country are striving for supremacy in the idiocracy stakes, and they're coming on strong.

By Faulhaber on 2012 11 09, 3:38 pm CST

I thought this story couldn't be true until I read the explanation: "She was backed, however, by the Cook County Democratic Party."

It is a textbook example of why judges should be appointed, not elected. I'd rather risk the cronyism, than the ignorance of the masses.

And she gets paid $182,000 a year? That's the crazy part. Isn't that more than the Federal judges?

As for her affliction: Let's say she has it. That is the type of "disability" that should disqualify one from the bench, just as blind people shouldn't drive cabs, and it is not insensitive to say so--it is merely realistic, Mr. Realist.

By Hadley V. Baxendale on 2012 11 09, 3:44 pm CST

What should really be pointed out. ALL of the local bar associations strongly advised against retention. Despite this she was voted IN by more than the required retention margin. And this system ensures a competent and fair judiciary?

By bernard citron on 2012 11 09, 3:46 pm CST

As a resident of Illinois, I am exhausted by all the embarrassing politics. In the recent election, another individual with mental problems was re-elected (Jesse Jackson Jr.). Our governor, Pat Quinn, has been reported to have said, when asked how Illinois was going to resolve the problem of its woefully underfunded public-employee pension and benefit plans, that he was looking for a federal bailout. Re-electing a judge who, whether temporarily insane or not, injured another public employee, is arguably insane. I wld like to say that we deserve what we get, but I didn't support these people!

By Megapixels on 2012 11 09, 3:48 pm CST

As a Chicagoan, I suppose nothing political could surprise me. It is astounding, however, that, in addition to the two situations mentioned above, a State Rep with a federal bribery case pending won reelection. What is more astounding is that the State Legislature suspended him for the problem during his prior term but, under the legislative rules, cannot suspend him during his next term based on the same allegations.

By Lawsailor on 2012 11 09, 4:02 pm CST

NO, Jeff in Texas @10, I did not drink the Kool- Aid, nor did I jump on an insanity defense bandwagon. Having a mental illness hardly means one is insane. The burden of proving that defense falls on Defendant if she is proven guilty of the assault. Inherent in a judge getting barred from entering the courthouse without a police escort assumes there was some evidence showing the judge's guilt. That's in the article; not sure where you got your evidence that she's just another "mean-a** bully." That's not indicated in the article, and this publication does not shy away from casting judges in that light whenever possible. I strongly disagree with Porkut @8 and Oort Cloud @12. There is nothing "light" about joking about someone's illness. This is not about being PC; this is about just being plain wrong. Do you, # 8, also condone jokes about breast cancer to "blunt the reality" of someone suffering from it? # 12, one's "viscious attack" is another's "joke." So "lighten up" if someone makes a "joke" about your retard child. Not cavalier here, but carefully calculated. Now I bet you get the point (of course, just joking to blunt your reality). Get the viscious point now?

By Realist on 2012 11 09, 4:05 pm CST

$182,000 salary plus benefits. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet deal--unless you're a taxpayer.

By Lee on 2012 11 09, 4:15 pm CST

We're all human. Judges too! But human or not, society should only be giving the awesome power of being a judge to _exceptional_ humans, those who have _everything_ it takes to be a _good_ judge. I'm not blaming this judge for her medical condition, I'm only blaming her for being a judge. If she was otherwise worthy to be a judge, she'd recognize that people with her condition shouldn't be judges and step down voluntarily.

By edwardtlp on 2012 11 09, 4:29 pm CST

Lee @ 23 you did not account for her contributions to the Chicago democrat party/machine that supported her and kept her in office. H v. B @ 18, I guess you like making fun of blind people too. This is not about being insensitive; one can make the same realistic points -- that a mentally-disabled judge should not be on the bench and a blind person should not drive a cab -- without joking about someone being bipolar or blind. May neither happen to you, just joking because I know you appreciate the humor.

By Realist on 2012 11 09, 4:38 pm CST

I agree with #18 regarding the fact that this type of disability should disqualify anyone from the bench.

By Michelle on 2012 11 09, 4:41 pm CST


There was nothing insane about the relection of Rep. Mario Gallegos even though he died before the election. Under Texas law, his name had to remain on the ballot. Had his constituency not re-elected him, his Republican opponent would have won by default. By re-electing Gallegos, a new election with a Democrat on the ballot will have to be called for his seat and Rep. Gallegos' predominately Hispanic constitutency can elect a Democrat. What would have been insane would have been to allow disenfrachisement of the majority of voters in Gallegos' district.

By BaylorBearister on 2012 11 09, 4:42 pm CST

You really have to wonder about the upset this is causing so many in their comments. Let her have her day in court. So what if the people re-elected her? Our electoral process is what it is. Many republicans and democrats guilty of crimes have been re-elected in this country time and again. Really nothing new here.

By Really on 2012 11 09, 4:57 pm CST

Judges can get away with anything, huh? I'll bet pushing that officer was really popular with the hoi polloi and helped her to get re-elected. So my question is, what if she forgets to take her medication on a trial day? Does the case get thrown out? How would we ever known if she forgets again? Do we administer a urinalysis every trial day? This is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. Just another example of why our legal system is the laughing stock of the world. Just another example of government misappropriation of salary funds. Next step, learn mandarin for when the new rulers of the world take over.

By Michael on 2012 11 09, 5:10 pm CST

Must be a jx that follows the Durham Rule. See? I was paying attention in Crim law.

By Dan on 2012 11 09, 6:42 pm CST

I don't even know where to start. I have been before Judge's that have done "insane" things (usually to force settlement) but none of them had the papers to prove it.

So a b-polar Judge and a b-polar Congressman BOTH get re-elected. I assume saying that were insance but mentally ill.

For the life of me, I can't figure out whether I should be more afraid of the Judge and the Congressman, or the people that voted for them.

By Robert Paul Norman on 2012 11 09, 8:05 pm CST

Guess the attorneys in this case are poles apart.
@#4--If the judge did explode in caustic fashion, that could be terminal.
@#6--right on!
AND, to prove her case that she is bi-polar, she produced photographic evidence of same (i.e.-polaroids.)

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2012 11 09, 8:18 pm CST

She's being paid $182,000. Isn't that more than the Supremes are paid?

By How much? on 2012 11 09, 9:18 pm CST

Dan #30: Durham was later overturned in the case U.S. v. Brawner, 471 F.2d 969 (1972). It's not likely that any jx would follow Durham.

By Been There, Done That! on 2012 11 09, 11:57 pm CST

No. 32, we should send her a tube of "Preparation P" for those.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 10, 1:04 am CST

This thread is fun. This article is fun.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2012 11 10, 1:16 am CST

Bipolar is an interesting condition at times a person may have great energy and insight then on the other side they can be suicidal and so drained moving is a Herculean task. That said, one does wonder if this will cause a rush to the recusal request form for defendants and plaintiffs alike. Even a good decision could be called into question and thus may leave the parties in a "limbo" between the poles.

By Steve on 2012 11 10, 2:02 am CST

The BEST person we can find to serve as a judge is bipolar and might be able to do the job if her meds are right? Effin spare me.....

By WINGCMDR on 2012 11 10, 2:21 am CST

Well, you have to "limbo" between the poles if you're doing it right.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 10, 2:22 am CST

Congrats to the Cook County! Now they're going to have an insane judge and a lot of sheriff's shoving. Best to stay out.

By Anna Gray on 2012 11 10, 9:01 am CST

@#39--Personally, I wouldn't stoop that low (of course, it does give a new meaning to the term "bend over backward.")

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2012 11 10, 10:07 am CST

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