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Illinois Bar Association president visits Moline


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Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2013, 11:19 pm
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By Eric Timmons etimmons@qconline.com
The Illinois State Bar Association wants judges to be disqualified from cases in which political contributions could lead to a perception of bias.

John Thies, bar association president, said the code of judicial conduct in Illinois does not contain specific references to political contributions.

In December, the association's general assembly approved changing the code of conduct so judges would be disqualified if there was a "probability of bias" based on cash or in-kind contributions to a judge's political campaign.

Mr. Thies said the change is now being considered by the Illinois Supreme Court.

In a meeting with the editorial board of The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Thursday, Mr. Thies said the change would begin to address the influence of money and politics on the judicial system.

The bar association supports merit selection of judges, which would mean that a non-partisan panel would pick qualified candidates to become judges, rather than the electorate. The governor or state legislature would then pick judges from a list of candidates.

The 32,000 member state bar association provides professional services to Illinois lawyers. Mr. Thies, a lawyer in Champaign-Urbana, has been president of the association since last June.

Since becoming president, Mr. Thies said he has appointed a committee to investigate the impact of law school debt on the delivery of legal services.

Mr. Thies said law school debt now averages more than $100,000 and can make it difficult for small law firms in rural areas to attract lawyers. The special committee will publish its report and recommendations later this year.

Mr. Thies also said he hoped to use his presidency to protect funding for the state's court system.

About 0.6 percent of the state's budget goes to the courts, with counties providing most of the funding, which he said has resulted in a disparity in services between poor and wealthier counties.

Mr. Thies has appointed a committee to identifythreats to "fair and impartial courts," and the members have surveyed chief judgesaround the state and will publicize their findings.






















 




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  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






(More History)