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Dozens of ‘well-connected’ people granted secret court cases in Chicago area, including 5 judges

Posted Apr 30, 2013 10:30 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Five state and federal judges, as well as a number of lawyers, were among dozens of "well-off and well-connected" individuals who have had cases–often concerning domestic relations matters–either sealed by Chicago area judges or allowed to be filed using only the initials of the parties.

Although the reasons routinely cited–financial privacy and safety–could fall within a 1987 Illinois state law that permits lawsuits to be filed under a pseudonym for "good cause," some observers wonder why it is appropriate for lawyers, judges and other high-profile individuals to be granted special treatment, reported the Chicago Tribune (sub. req.) in a lengthy Sunday article.

"If you avail yourself of the court system, you have to pay the price of it being public," said attorney Nancy Chausow Shafer, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers chapter in Illinois. "If we start making exceptions for the rich and famous, it creates a dual court system, which goes against our populist belief of what a court should be, which is really justice for all without distinguishing between the rich and poor."

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