Cook County Judges

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Judge Thomas More Donnelly

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Judge Donnelly on September 25, 2008 charged Robert J. More with indirect criminal contempt for “practicing law without a license.” J. Donnelly claimed that Mr. More’s use of the “attorney code” 99500 on his pleadings was an act of impersonating a lawyer. The “attorney code” 99500 is the code the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County requires pro se litigants to use on the pleadings in the same way attorneys use their ARDC numbers on their pleadings. It is used 100s of times a month by pro se litigants in the court. Judge Donnelly is an idiot. The code 99500 is listed on the attorney appearance form provided by the clerk after the words “pro se.”

Judge Donnelly also granted the States motion to charge Mr. More with contempt for practicing law without a license because he filed an amicus curiae brief in a case of a friend. J. Donnelly stupidly states that only lawyers can file such briefs. Amicus Curiae means friend of the court. Apparently J. Donnelly does not understand that there are U.S. Supreme Court rules on how citizens (non-lawyers) must file amicus briefs including filing a motion for leave to file. It would be news to John E. Thorne a non-attorney that this is practicing law without a license. He filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Faretta v. California in 1975, the landmark decision that affirmed that a person has a right to self-representation in the courts (i.e. Faretta rights).

Judge Donnelly is openly and grossly violating his oath of office in denying constitutional rights and in charging Mr. More with something that is NOT A CRIME! He should be removed form the bench or at least made to take a long leave of absence and read up on the law, as well as watch another judge for six months, and then be supervised for another six months. J. Donnelly is an example of why new judges should undergo a year of training and studying case law before they come on the bench. Ignorance in the face of power are a disasterous combination. One would never allow a new graduate of a medical school who is a licensed physician to perform brain surgery without many years of additional training as a brain surgeon!  How is being a judge any different?

I give judge Donnelly credit that upon a motion to dismiss the criminal contempt charges for failure to state a crime he acknowledged that Mr. More showed no intent to denigrate or interfere with the court by filing an amicus brief. J. Donnelly acknowledge that the charging instrument, the petition for adjudication of criminal contempt was devoid of any suggestion there was intent by Mr. More to insult the court, denigrate the court, show disrespect to the court, or interfere with the court. Criminal contempt is an intent crime and therefore, the complaint is void if no intent is alleged. Judge Donnelly then granted the motion to dismiss for failure to state a crime.

Judge Donnelly also acknowledged that he had ordered a BCX (fitness exam) on Mr. More and then rescinded this order. Mr. More’s attorney, recently hired because the court refused to let Mr. More represent himself in violation of Faretta (self-representation rights) and the public defender just didn’t have time to do a proper job on this case, made a motion to vacate a recent order irrationally raising bail when Mr. More refused to answer questions at the BCX exam without having it recorded in some fashion. J. Donnelly had in violation of statutes said this was a violation of bail and issued an arrest warrent for Mr. More, which was executed and he ended up briefly in jail. The statutes state that the judge SHALL inform a defendant, when the court orders a BCX, that the defendant has the RIGHT to refuse to answer questions at the exam. It also says the court may not alter bail orders to accomplish a BCX exam. Therefore, J. Donnelly’s arrest warrant and order to raise bail were a violation of statute and a violation of his oath of office to uphold the law. Statutory construction laws state that no word in a statute is superfluous. The word SHALL attaches to the law a statutory right. Although J. Donnelly made a proper ruling in vacating his illegal orders in this regard, he rambled excessively in trying to save face stating falsely that this was not a statutory right and that he was only vacating the order because he had previously vacated the order for the BCX. Properly he also ordered the entire bail to be returned to Mr. More which prevents the clerk from retaining her usual 10 % fee (the reason bails are so excessively high in Cook County – the court uses this in a racket to fund the clerk’s office – high bails increase the clerk’s 10% fees – which I believe should be declared unconstitutional just like the feds saying that tying services to a hospital to fees for patients by charging by % of the doctor’s or hospital’s revenues instead of by the number of services provided [no of bills processed or number of sheets cleaned for example] is Medicaid fraud – why should the biller get $5,000 to process one neurosurgical bill, but $10 to process one pediatrician’s bill?).

Judge Donnelly also presided over the trial of Robert More on a charge of criminal trespass to state supported land (a class A misdemeanor) illegally amended as ordered by J. Donnelly to trespass to real property (a class B misdemeanor). Mr. More was arrested about six months ago when he went to the Daley Center for a hearing on a lawsuit which he filed. He went to court at the appropriate time at about 10 a.m. The judge had left the bench and no one was in the courtroom except for the court clerk and the Sheriff’s deputy. Mr. More asked the court clerk when his case was being heard, as he was surprised to see no one in the courtroom and the judge NOT on the bench. Generally courtrooms at the Daley Center are open during normal business hours and attorneys will go in and leave courtesy copies of motions or solve schedule conflicts with the clerks. When a case is over and an attorney realizes something wasn’t addressed they may go to the clerk and ask for the case to be “recalled”. Then the clerk goes to the judges chambers and requests the judge to recall the case. The judge comes on the bench and attends to the pending legal issue or the request by the attorney to “reconsider” a matter that may have already been ruled upon. The judge MAY tell the attorney to file a motion to reconsider and schedule it up with the clerk’s office.

Mr. More simply requested the clerk to recall the case and the deputy and clerk told him that the court was “down” for the day. Perhaps county taxpayers should therefore only pay this judge for a 1/2 of a day’s work! Mr. More politely and repeatedly stated that he wanted to hear from the judge as the deputy and clerk had no authority to dismiss the case and he wanted the judge to hear him and reconsider the issue. The clerk should have gone and told the judge Mr. More was requesting the case recalled. The judge, if he wasn’t corrupt, incompetent, or unethical, should have merely come on the bench told Mr. More he made a sue sponte decision and if he wanted it reconsidered he should file a written formal motion and schedule it with the clerk to be heard. The judge also could have written such an order and after he signed it delivered it to Mr. More. It is INAPPROPRIATE and DISCIMINATORY to treat Mr. More as a pro se counsel different than the way a licensed attorney is treated by the Clerk. If the judge feels that Mr. More’s lawsuits are duplicative, abusive, frivolous, or otherwise, the judge can issue sanctions that his suits have to be approved by the chief judge or something like that or eliminated his indigent standing.

The deputy asked Mr. More to leave and said he should go to another floor to the clerk’s office and ask his questions as the court was “down.” Mr. More knew his constitutional rights to access the courts. The court should have been open during normal business hours. The judge should have issued an order or come on the bench concerning Mr. More’s request to recall the case. Mr. More’s constitutional rights were vioalted.

The Deputy, Datullo, a short busty young meek white female, testified that Mr. More was sitting in the back bench quietly waiting to be heard. She said she told him the court was “down”, but that he kept approaching the clerk and trying to hand her papers (presumably pleadings of some kind to get the case recalled). She said she called her supervisor who came and arrested Mr. More for trespass to state supported land.

Deputy Datullo clearly lied when she said that Mr. More said “I’m not leaving unless I’m arrested.” Sgt. Griffith’s (black female, obese sgt.) had written an incident report which stated that Mr. More said that if the sgt. told him he would be arrested if he didn’t leave, then he would leave. Obviously, he was trying to preserve his right to access to the courts and documents the officers’ interference with his access to the courts as well as the clerk’s interference with his access to the courts.

Deputy Datullo testified that she had 14 weeks training as a deputy and 1 week a year. She testified that she was NOT trained in what constitutes the elements of the crime trespass. She also admitted that she never TOLD Mr. More to leave, but just asked him to leave by telling him the court was “down”. Her incident report contained NO STATEMENT that she told Mr. More to leave. She admitted she never COMMANDED him to leave.

Deputy Datullo sounded unsure and confused on the stand, spoke in a shy and tentative voice and kept waffling about what she said to Mr. More.

Sgt. Griffith’s incident report contained NO language that she TOLD Mr. More to leave. It stated that she told him that he should go to the clerk’s office to handle his affairs. It said that Mr. More wanted to see the judge. She said “there’s nothing that can be done.”

The deputies are NOT trained judges or court clerks and have no right in telling citizens what are legal procedures. She admitted that when Mr. More stated that he would leave if she said “you will be arrested if you dont’ leave”, she told him to stand up and arrested him.

Sgt. Griffith falsely stated that there was no clerk and no other lawyers in the courtroom. Even Datullo testified that the clerk was present. Mr. More maintains two other lawyers were in the courtroom at one time – perhaps before Sgt. Griffith arrived?

Sgt. Griffith stated that she had 14 weeks training at the academy and was trained in general aspects of criminal law, but was not trained in the elements of trespass or in the crime of trespass.

During cross-examination she changed much of what she had testified in direct examination by stating that now she “doesn’t recall.” Sgt. Griffith was firm and authoritative on the stand, although her story changed while she was testifying. She even had an annoying arrogant demeanor where she tended to smirk about the incident.

Sgt. Griffith at first falsely testified that she arrested Mr. More immediately after he told her he “wouldn’t leave unless he was arrested.” She was impeached by her own incident report. Then she falsely testified that she “gave him time to leave before she arrested him.”

Unfortunately, it is likely that Sgt. Griffith will not be charged with perjury, although it is clear that is what she knowingly committed. Perhaps her only saving grace is that because of blistering cross examination by attorney J. Nicolas Albukerk, she finally admitted that she “didn’t recall” the events alleged.

Judge Donnelly is grossly ignorant of law and unable to interpret case law and statutory law properly. Although his decision on Mr. More being not guilty with a directed verdict was correct, he should have dismissed the case as failure to state a crime and NOT allowed this illegal amendment changing the charge to criminal trespass to real property for the following reasons:

Legislative intent did not mean to allow officers to arrest people on public property for trespass to real property. Citizens should be allowed to come into public buildings not just to obtain services but to observe the functioning of government including being spectators at public trials (a constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment). The crime trespass to real property requires that a person be told to leave the property by the “owner or occupant” but refuses to leave. The crime trespass to state supported land required the person be told to leave the property by the “State or its representative” and that the person “interferes with a persons use or lawful enjoyment of the building or land.” A State or its representative IS NOT an owner or occupant. Therefore the elements of the crime and facts of these two crimes are different.

720 ILCS 5/21‑3
Sec. 21‑3. Criminal trespass to real property.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (a‑5), whoever:
(1) knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains
within or on a building; or
(2) enters upon the land of another, after receiving, prior to such
entry, notice from the owner or occupant that such entry is forbidden;
or
(3) remains upon the land of another, after receiving notice from the
owner or occupant to depart; or
. . .
For purposes of item (1) of this subsection, this Section shall not
apply to being in a building which is open to the public while the building
is open to the public during its normal hours of operation; nor shall this
Section apply to a person who enters a public building under the
reasonable belief that the building is still open to the public.

720 ILCS 5/21‑5) (from Ch. 38, par. 21‑5)
Sec. 21‑5. Criminal Trespass to State Supported Land.
(a) Whoever enters upon land supported in whole or in part with State
funds, or Federal funds administered or granted through State agencies or
any building on such land, after receiving, prior to such entry, notice from
the State or its representative that such entry is forbidden, or remains
upon such land or in such building after receiving notice from the State or
its representative to depart, and who thereby interferes with another
person’s lawful use or enjoyment of such building or land, commits a Class
A misdemeanor.

The law does not allow a charge with different elements to be amended to a different charge. Statutes only allow certain kinds of amendments of charges and amending a charge of trespass to state supported land to a charge of trespass to real property is not allowed!

Also, all charges due to one incident must be brought (joined) at the same time. Charges cannot be added after 160 days. In Mr. More’s case the charge of trespass to state supported land was void for failure to state a crime. The charging instrument – the complaint – failed to state the second element that he interrupted someone’s use of the building. Therefore the charge was void and should have been dismissed by the judge on the defense motion to dismiss for failure to state a charge.

Instead J. Donnelly through his ignorance and incompetence allowed the state to illegally “amend” the complaint, changing the facts and the elements, to the charge of trespass to real property. If the trespass to state supported land was dismissed, then the state had 160 days to decide to bring the new charge of trespass to real property. As it was over 160 days when they chose to amend the complaint illegally, it technically was illegal for them to bring this new charge. The judge should NOT have allowed the amendment. The case should have been over at that point and there should have been NO trial. J. Donnelly wasted county funds by holding a trial and wasted the juror’s time.

Delays caused by defendant on original charges cannot be applied to new charges brought at a date later than date original charges brought. Speedy trial for new charges for same offense are required to be joined to original charges by 720 ILCS 5/3-3 (West 2004). Speedy trial statute 725 5/103-5 (a) (West 2004). New charges home invasion dismissed on speedy trial grounds even though new charges brought within 120 days (in custody) on day 116 after arrest, when trial occurred 149 days after arrest. To allow new charges in violation of speedy trial statute would “allow trial by ambush” per the Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Williams, 204 Ill.2d 191 (2003) “The State could lull the defendant into acquiescing to pretrial delays on pending charges, while it prepared for a trial on more serious, not-yet-pending charges We cannot presume that a defendant would have agreed to a continuance if he had faced both charges. As Justice Kuehn presciently observed, ‘All choices about requests that would delay proceedings would be made under a false understanding as a result of this deception.’ When the State filed the more serious charges, the defendant would face a Hobson’s choice between a trial without adequate preparation and further pretrial detention to prepare for trial. Today, we do not create a loophole for criminal defendants. Instead, we close a loophole which would allow the State to circumvent a statutorily implemented constitutional right.” Williams, 204 Ill.2d at 207, quoting People v. Williams, No 5-99-0452 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23 (Kuehn, J, dissenting). People v. [Jimmy] Boyd, _______________________ 2nd Dist IL App

It simply was illegal for the judge to allow an amendment from trespass to state supported land to trespass to real property.

725 ILCS 5/111‑5
Sec. 111‑5. Formal defects in a charge.
An indictment, information or complaint which charges the commission of an offense in accordance with Section 111‑‑3 of this Code shall not be dismissed and may be amended on motion by the State’s Attorney or defendant at any time because of formal defects, including:
(a) Any miswriting, misspelling or grammatical error;
(b) Any misjoinder of the parties defendant;
(c) Any misjoinder of the offense charged;
(d) The presence of any unnecessary allegation;
(e) The failure to negative any exception, any excuse or proviso contained in the statute defining the offense; or
(f) The use of alternative or disjunctive allegations as to the acts, means, intents or results charged.

Mr. More obtained the right result – acquittal, but he actually should have had the case dismissed due to failure to state a crime, which therefore renders the case null and void ab initio. Only J. Donnelly’s ignorance and arrogance prevented this earlier outcome.

I hate to criticize judges without stating observations about their talents and skills. I do want to complement J. Donnelly on his statements to the jury. He is patient, calm, humerous, and respectful with the jury. His voice is easy to understand. His statements are clear. He has the potential to be a very good judge.  However his understanding and interpretation of case law is marginal at best.  He needs to do a lot more studying in this regard and needs supervision in this regard by a senior judge. I wish him well and really hope he reads this blog.

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