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Chicago machine wins big in little one too

November 10, 2012

Chicago way machine marches on. From top to bottom of the ticket.

On track to replace the Anti-Saloon League as the most successful American political apparatus ever.

Immunity to shame reaches new high in the electorate.

Cook County judge in court as defendant day after winning re-election – Chicago Tribune http://bit.ly/UAQIEG

Judge Brim – Okay-ed by Cook Co. voters

“I’m just happy the people voted me back in,” said Brim, who was suspended from her $182,000-a-year job in March after a wild week in which she was removed from her Markham courtroom after launching into a rambling 45-minute tirade and then, a day later, was charged with shoving a deputy at the Daley Center.

Soon after being charged with misdemeanor battery, a panel of supervising judges barred her from entering the county’s courthouses without a police escort. But neither that, nor the fact that numerous bar associations have recommended since 2000 that voters toss Brim from the bench, kept her from narrowly retaining her seat Tuesday.

Brim won 63.5 percent of the vote, according to preliminary totals, and needed only 60 percent to be retained for another six-year term. She hasn’t presided over a courtroom in seven months but continues to collect her paycheck.

Her attorney, James Montgomery Sr., said Brim has bipolar disorder and was in the midst of a manic episode when she shoved a deputy with both hands and threw a pair of keys at another in March.

“At that point she is absolutely psychotic in the sense of not having the ability to think straight or to even organize her thinking or to really remember a darn thing that happened,” he said.

A psychiatrist already has found Brim was legally insane at the time, Montgomery said. The finding means prosecutors cannot make their case, he said.

“I don’t know why they are wasting good, precious judicial resources and Judge Brim’s money on this case,” Montgomery said.

He said his client rebuffed efforts by prosecutors to get Brim to resign, something he said she will never do.

A spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said only that prosecutors have twice declared themselves willing to start trial, but Brim has asked for continuances. Her case Wednesday was continued until next week after a second judge recused herself.

About 10 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is an “immensely treatable disorder,” said Suzanne Andriukaitis, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago.

“For the most part, when they’re getting adequate treatment, they can return to their prior level of functioning,” she said. “She should be fine.”

Experts said Brim’s case highlights the difficulty of unseating a judge up for retention.

“This is so sad,” said Ann Lousin, a John Marshall Law School professor who has written about judicial selection. “It shows how difficult it is to get somebody out.

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