Editorials

Boys in black coming back

Three middle-aged, white male judges from St. Clair County are resigning. Good news, because that means fresh blood at the scandal factory?

Nope, it means they’ve learned to do the Lloyd Cueto dipsy-doodle.

Chief Circuit Judge John Baricevic squeaked by in the last election to keep the job that paid him $185,500 last year. He needed 60 percent of the voters in the five-county 20th Judicial Circuit to agree to retain him, and 62.5 percent did.

But if Baricevic and judges Robert Haida and Robert LeChien quit and then run for their seats, they only need 50.1 percent of the vote to get six-year terms. That’s what Cueto did in 2006.

Baricevic argues that this is better for the voters because it allows him to discuss the issues, whereas judicial ethics prevent that during a retention campaign.

That assumes there is an opponent to ask him about being clueless that he supervised a heroin-addled judge who welcomed a new associate judge by throwing a cocaine party that killed the new guy. Or that the judges’ preferred drug dealer was from the probation department. Or about his very lawyerly non-refusal refusal when challenged to take a drug test to prove that he was clean.

Judges should be taken at their word. They resigned. Maybe we should keep it that way.

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