By: Jasmine Stewart
In Cook County, there are exactly 59 judges that are up for retention this year. Illinois typically conducts these polls around the same time general elections take place. As anyone can imagine, this is crucial. Judge Boyle is one among a few judges that have been named as “not qualified” for retention, according to the Chicago Council of Lawyers, and I’d like to explain why this important to know.
First and foremost, if we want to be really precise, we’re not actually voting between candidates. Neither she nor any of the other 58 candidates run against anyone. In fact, the ballots don’t even show which political party they side with. This is purely a “yes or no” vote on whether or not each judge deserves to stay on the bench. It’s typical for people not to know how to vote on such a confusing ballot. This is where the Chicago Council of Lawyers comes in. This bar group performs the screening and ratings of these judges. The Illinois State Bar and the Chicago Bar Association also take part in these evaluations, which are essential, especially when it comes to reviewing the work ethics of 59 important figures in the field of civil service. Judge Boyle was rated “not qualified,” and this decision had so much do with how she treated the criminal defense. The group was quoted saying that she “issues very harsh sentences.” That wasn’t all.
Judge Maura Slattery Boyle seems to have an impressive background in law. According to The Chicago Council of Lawyers Evaluation Report, she worked as an Assistant State Attorney in Cook County and also worked at the City of Chicago’s Department of Law for six years. She was then admitted to the Illinois bar in 1993. Judge Boyle also was elected to the Circuit Court in 2000. She pilots jury trials, presides over pleas and post-conviction matters along with doing bench trials. The report mentions that lawyers praised her for her temperament and her knowledge of the law. However, the Illinois Appellate Court had more than one run-in with Boyle and that’s where the Council’s concerns came from.
The Appellate was not happy when they discovered that she overlooked certain evidence in the People v. Serrano case, which resulted in the Appellate reversing her ruling and then re-assigning another judge to work the case. In 2017, Boyle faced criticism over yet another case, People v. Rosado, in which practically the same thing happened. Boyle was noted for making evidentiary errors and had to have the case turned over to another judge by the Appellate.
These are just a few of the reasons why the Council deemed her “not qualified” for retention. This information, along with reviews on all of the other candidates, can be found on voteforjudges.org. As I mentioned, I think it is crucial for us to do our research before hitting that yes or no button. Everyone deserves a fair trial and the only way to get that is through a fair hearing and a fair judge!