Chicago associate Carrie DeLange authored “No Judge Shopping Allowed: Illinois Supreme Court Speaks on Standards of For-Cause Petitions for Substitutions of a Judge in Illinois” for the Lake County Bar Association’s The Docket.
The article discusses a divorce case where the Illinois Supreme Court had the opportunity to decide the standard on for-cause petitions for substitutions of a judge. The case, In Re Marriage O’Brien, involved a husband, John O’Brien, who believed that the judge presiding over his divorce proceeding was biased in a number of ways, including due to the fact that the judge went to the same health club as his then-wife.
The Supreme Court ultimately rejected Mr. O’Brien’s arguments concerning the standard for substitution of judge. It held that the appropriate standard to adopt in determining whether a litigant has shown the court “cause” in a for-cause substitution petition, is to inquire whether the litigant has shown actual prejudice or personal judicial bias, and not merely to inquire whether the opinions formed by a judge suggest prejudice or inquire whether judicial remarks that occurred during the course of trial indicate prejudice.