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November 7th, 2012

WV Voters Finally Cast Out AG McGraw, and Other Good & Bad Election News from Judicial Hellholes

Voters in perennial judicial hellhole West Virginia have finally had enough of long-serving anti-business Attorney General Darrell McGraw. Californians rejected trial lawyer-written, lawsuit-promoting Proposition 37. And Madison County, Illinois voters incredibly retained shamed pay-to-play Judge Barbara Crowder who formerly oversaw the small rural county’s crooked and largest-in-the-nation asbestos docket.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that 76-year-old, five-term incumbent McGraw has conceded the AG race to 44-year-old challenger Patrick Morrisey. The hyper-litigious and ethically-challenged McGraw has frequently been criticized in past Judicial Hellholes reports, and his overdue removal from office is heartening news for tort reformers everywhere.

In similarly good news, California voters showed at least some good sense in soundly defeating Prop 37, a ballot measure that would have loosed personal injury lawyers on the agricultural and food-selling sectors of the economy for alleged failures to abide by new food labeling requirements related to so-called genetically modified products. ATRA president Tiger Joyce’s pre-Election Day op-ed in The Recorder, the state’s leading source for legal news, put Prop 37 in a national context to better educate voters about its inherent danger.

The bad news is that, like Patty Hearst and other Stockholm Syndrome suffers whose demented love for their captors clouds their capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, voters in once-and-future judicial hellhole Madison County, Illinois returned Judge Barbara Crowder to the bench, even though a campaign finance scandal led Chief Judge Ann Callis to end her handling of the gigantic asbestos docket there.

This unfathomable retention of Judge Crowder may be cited in the latest Judicial Hellholes report (to be released next month) as the first Dishonorable Mention attributed solely to the voting public.

On the other hand, votes against California’s Prop 37 and West Virginia’s Darrell McGraw are likely to be cited among the report’s Points of Light.

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