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Grassroots Group Working to Unseat 4 Madison County Judges up for ‘Retention’

A grassroots group calling itself Citizens for Judicial Integrity (CFJI) is now actively working to unseat four judges in Madison County, Illinois, a jurisdiction cited almost annually as a Judicial Hellhole.

Chief Judge Ann Callis, and Judges Barbara Crowder, Dave Hylla and John Knight will each stand for what is known in Illinois as a “retention” vote this Election Day and must win at least 60% of the votes cast to retain their respective seats on the bench.  CFJI chairman Philip Chapman says Madison County will be better off without them.

“Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight were elected in 2006 promising reform,” Chapman explained in a recent news release.  “Among the factors leading to Madison County’s poor reputation [as a Judicial Hellhole] is the number of asbestos law suits” and the contributions made by plaintiffs’ lawyers specializing in asbestos litigation to the judges’ elections campaigns.

“Interestingly,” Chapman continued, “the number of asbestos cases went from in 325 in 2006 to 953 in 2011! This is an increase of 265%!” 

On a flier now being distributed by volunteers throughout Madison County, the CFJI urges a “No” vote for the four judges seeking retention.  Claiming the county’s lawsuit-embracing environment helps “drive away businesses, doctors [and] jobs,” it concludes by arguing that when the region’s plaintiffs “lawyers prosper, [the] economy suffers.”

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