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Group bands together to stop Madison County judge retention

October 17, 2012 -


10/17/ 12 -
Group Working for ‘Judicial Integrity’ in Madison County Getting Media’s Attention

10/10/ 12 -
Group aimed at judicial reform continues non-retention campaign

10/9/12 -
Group aimed at judicial reform continues non-retention campaign

Judges plan to continue campaigning as anti-retention gets under way

A grassroots group is hoping its anti-retention campaign for four Madison County judges will resonate with voters in November.

The Citizens for Judicial Integrity group wants voters to vote against the retention of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judges Ann Callis, Barbara Crowder, David Hylla and John Knight because of concerns that the court is influenced by large donations from asbestos lawyers, which has resulted in an increased number of asbestos-related court filings in Madison County.

Founder Phillip Chapman said the concern arose over recent allegations that Crowder gave the majority of asbestos trial weeks to three law firms that contributed to her political campaign. The findings prompted Callis, the chief judge, to remove Crowder from handling asbestos case dockets and County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan to call for an investigation.

Crowder said the campaign contributions and court docket decisions were not connected. more

See also - Judicial elections: Voters must research, follow the money

More News:

October 4, 2012 -
Illinois Chamber pushes for reform

October 3, 2012 -
Illinois Chamber supports group aimed at judicial reform

October 3, 2012 -
The case for different judges in Madison County

September 19, 2012
Crowder should not be retained as circuit judge

September 14, 2012
Want a stronger economy? Vote 'No' on retention

Letters/Press Releases/Graphs

Rebuttal of Judges’ ‘Legal Arguments’

October 29, 2012

In recent weeks Judges extolled their virtues asking for your vote. Citizens for Judicial Integrity urges you to vote no retention for Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. For example, Judge Hylla takes responsibility for instituting a medical malpractice mediation program. The only reason this program is necessary is because of the reputation of the Madison County Courts which drove hundreds of doctors from the county and continues to be responsible for incredibly high medical malpractice insurance which keeps doctors from coming here. Madison County has 5 doctors per 10,000 while the rest of the state 8 per 10,000. Hylla seems to be congratulating himself for providing ‘a weak antidote to the poison’ the judges administer. Crowder stated;”My legal ability is not disputed.” May I humbly ask; If Crowder’s legal ability is not disputed then why did the chief judge remove her from asbestos docket citing;”the public’s concern for a fair and unbiased judiciary?” Judge Knight recently stated;”The attorneys who work with us every day recommend we should be retained.” Small wonder, since lawyers gave huge donations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2006 to elect them and profited from a asbestos law suit explosion afterwards! The legal profession prospers while small business and doctors suffer. Judge Callis points to the ‘new reform’ procedures for selecting asbestos docket. Unfortunately, nothing has changed the law suit explosion continues with only one in ten cases coming from Illinois. Our county is a Judicial Hellhole ranked fifth worst in the nation. Please Vote NORETENTION for Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Visit WWW.NORETENTION.COM

Philip W. Chapman

Court of Fear?

October 29, 2012

Founding Father John Adams wrote; ”Fear is the foundation of most governments.” During the NORETENTION campaign on Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight I’ve asked a number of small business men and doctors for contributions. Many would like to help but tell me; “I’m sorry if those judges in the court house found out I donated to the no retention campaign and I appeared in their courts I’m sure I’d face retribution.” Although such statements are only conjecture they appear to be many people’s perception. An old adage states; “perception is reality.” If you believe the Madison County Courts are based on power and fear then please change the makeup of the court by voting “no”. On November 6, voters will preside over the court of public opinion. The judges serve with the consent of the governed. The courthouse is the people’s not the property or exclusive province of judges, one political party, or the lawyers who donate to their campaigns. In November you’ll be the judge. Please go to the end of the ballot and VOTE NO on Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Visit WWW.NORETENTION.COM

Philip W. Chapman


October 23, 2012

Judge Crowder runs for retention. In an article which appeared in the Collinsville Herald by Ramona Sanders on October 17 Crowder stated ; ”My legal ability is not disputed.” May I humbly ask; If Crowder’s legal ability is not disputed then why did the chief judge remove her from asbestos docket citing; ”the public’s concern for a fair and unbiased judiciary?” The Judicial Code of Conduct states a judge’s behavior should appear above reproach. Crowder’s didn’t .That Crowder remains on the bench remains a political absurdity. Ed Murnane, from the Illinois Civil Justice league stated; ”Voters…would be unwise not to vote no on Judge Crowder.”

Judge Knight recently stated; ”The attorneys who work with us every day recommend we should be retained.” Small wonder, since lawyers gave huge donations in 2006 to elect them. From the outside looking in, Knight’s statement reveals a mutual admiration society run by the legal professions’ power elite. Given the power of the judges’ incumbency and monetary support law firms provided the only remaining check on our judges is the people . I observe Americans show patience with leaders but will at last rise up and correct politicians that don’t serve them. This is such a time, in November I hope voters send a big message to special interests that profit at voters’ expense. Voters speak with the force of law at the ballot box. Improve the economy and health care please VOTE NO RETENTION on Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Visit WWW.NORETENTION.COM

Philip W. Chapman

Just the Facts

October 23, 2012

The purpose of this letter is to respond to an unwarranted and uncorroborated statement made by Judge Knight , which appeared in Ramona Sander’s article in the Collinsville Herald dated October 17. Judge Knight stated; “ I don’t believe the criticism that has been leveled against us is factually correct.” Does Knight doubt that Illinois Election Board contribution figures show asbestos lawyers and firms contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to Callis, Crowder, Hylla’s and Knight’s campaign in 2006? Does Knight dispute after receiving these huge donations that Illinois law Suit Abuse Watch (I-Law) reported asbestos cases went from 335 cases in 2006 to 953 cases in 2011? Does Knight disagree that according to the Illinois Law Review only 10% of these cases have anything to do with plaintiffs from Illinois? Is he confused that only one Judge, named Crowder, was removed by the chief judge due to a concern for ‘the public’s trust in a fair and unbiased judiciary’. Does Judge Knight takes issue with the high medical malpractice insurance rates which plague our health care system or the fact businesses won’t come to Madison County due to the court climate? Maybe he is unaware that under and unemployment figures show Madison County is worse than the state and national average. Perhaps Knight disagrees that the American Tort Reform Association ranked Madison County the ‘Fifth Worst Judicial Hellhole’ in the nation. In November please VOTE NO RETENTION for Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Visit WWW.NORETENTION.COM

Philip W. Chapman

Illinois Chamber says "VOTE NO" for Retention of Justices in Madison County

October 3, 2012

Chamber endorses Non-Retention Campaign of Citizens for Judicial Integrity

Springfield, Il - Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doug Whitley announced the Illinois Chamber's endorsement of the Non-Retention Campaign of Citizens for Judicial Integrity.

The campaign seeks to oust four circuit judges who preside in Madison County: Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight.

Whitley said;"These judges ran as a team that promised reform in 2006, but in the eyes of many, Madison County's reputation has not improved significantly during the last six years."

Although it is an uncommon and highly unusual application of the voter's expression of the desire for change, there is no place in Illinois where such a voter revolt to the status quo could be more impactful than Madison County."

Citizens for Judicial Integrity UPDATE 9-29-12

CFJI Spokesman Philip W. Chapman traveled Bethalto, Collinsville, Edwardsville, and Highland and delivered NO RETENTION power point presentations . Mr. Chapman presented materials stressing the importance of judicial reform and strengthening the economy and local health care by NO RETENTION of Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Listeners interrupted Phil's presentations with spontaneous applause numerous times as he pointed out how the law suit explosion kills jobs and drives away doctors. He looks forward to upcoming engagements at Collinsville Madison South on October 4th at 7:00 pm at the American Legion Hall.

Grassroots Group Working to Unseat 4 Madison County Judges up for 'Retention'

September 24, 2012

A grassroots group calling itself Citizens for Judicial Integrity (CFJI) is now actively working to unseat four judges in Madison County, Illinois, a jurisdiction cited almost annually as a Judicial Hellhole.

Chief Judge Ann Callis, and Judges Barbara Crowder, Dave Hylla and John Knight will each stand for what is known in Illinois as a "retention" vote this Election Day and must win at least 60% of the votes cast to retain their respective seats on the bench. CFJI chairman Philip Chapman says Madison County will be better off without them. more


2011 Comparison ChartIn 2006 Crowder, Callis, Hylla, and Knight ran on a reform platform but according to the Illinois Campaign Disclosure figures accepted a total of over $269,000 from asbestos law firms and lawyers. Afterwards, according to the Illinois Law Review the number of asbestos cases went from in 325 in 2006 to 953 in 2011! The Madison County Court realized an increase of 265% in asbestos related cases with approximately only 10% dealing with Illinois citizens. We're in the midst of a "lawsuit explosion." Isn't it enough we provide a case venue to in state citizens?

In 2011 The American Tort Reform Association declared Madison County a Judicial Hellhole ranking it fifth worst in the US. On September 10, 2012 Elizabeth Donald reported in the Belleville News Democrat, that a survey of senior executives and lawyers from businesses grossing over $100 million dollars ranked Madison County as 'sixth worst' in business climate in the US. The current court climate drives up insurance rates, kills job growth, and drives away new business. If you think we need to restore integrity to the Madison County Courts, create jobs, and build a business friendly environment in Madison County please go to the end of the ballot in November and VOTE NO RETENTION on Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight.

Philip W. Chapman

Citizens for Judicial Integrity grassroots movement picks up steam

CFJI gets the word out to everyday people in their homes. Last week's Swarm was a tremendous success. We thank every single one of the 51 people who participated with us. We visited over 2,081 homes with information about our Non-Retention effort. VOTE NO for Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. Our goal is to reach 10,000 home before election day!!! However, I appeal for your help. Donations are used for flyers and yard signs. To make a donation, please click the Donations link.

Philip W. Chapman, Spokesman, Citizens for Judicial Integrity

Citizens for Judicial Integrity Visits Godfrey Illinois Saturday, September 15

Twenty two (22) volunteers handed out Citizens for Judicial Integrity information concerning the NO RETENTION campaign for Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight. in Godfrey, IL on Saturday, September 15. The group canvassed for four (4) hours and visited 1,717 homes. The walkers were well received by homeowners. Many citizens feel frustrated by local, state, and federal government. Another swarm is planned for next Saturday in Edwardsville, Il. VOTE NO RETENTION

To the Editor:

Voters will make important decisions in November. Some important decisions receive less scrutiny than others. For example, four circuit court judges will be up for retention.

Judge Barbara Crowder received much press in December 2011. Critics charge we voters have short memories so let's all look back. In December 2011 Judge Crowder's husband and campaign manager, Lawrence Taliana, solicited donations from three of the area's largest asbestos firms - Gori Julian & Associates, Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland and Simmons.

One contributing lawyer told a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Taliana solicited the money and specified Crowder receive $10,000. Their donations of $30,000 in total from lawyers at the three firms came two days after Judge Crowder gave them 82 percent of the asbestos dockets for 2013.

After the scandal broke, Judge Callis quickly reassigned Crowder, citing a concern for "the public trust in a fair and unbiased judiciary."

Crowder denied any wrong doing calling her decision to give 82 percent of the docket to favored firms contributing to her campaign as "one of those straightforward, innocuous things every judge does that falls within long-established standards."

If these are the standards why did the chief judge remove her? Does this sound innocuous to you? Is Crowder telling the 'whole truth and nothing but the truth so help her God?'

If you lack confidence in the integrity of Crowder please mark an X for "No Retention" next the name Crowder on Nov. 6.

Philip Chapman


Is the economy headed in the right direction? Madison County's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent. However, if you add underemployment and the percentage of those who quit looking for work to Madison County's unemployment we have an under and unemployment rate of 17.2 percent. Wonder why?

You might look no further than the Madison County Circuit Court. On September 10, the Belleville News Democrat reported a national survey of corporate attorneys and executives that ranked Madison County as sixth most unfair in the United States. Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight were elected in 2006 promising reform. Among the factors leading to Madison County's poor reputation is the number of asbestos law suits. Interestingly, the number of asbestos cases went from in 325 in 2006 to 953 in 2011! This is an increase of 265%! No wonder the American Tort Association declared Madison County a Judicial Hell Hole. Acton stated; "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Business is booming for the legal profession. But does a law suit explosion hurt Madison County's economy? Business leaders say the court hurts our economy. The St Clair Madison County Record reported on Feb. 3, 2012 that a member of the business community, who remains unnamed for legal reasons, said, "I can only guess at how many businesses have chosen not to set up shop here because of the litigation climate." Does the court cost jobs?

Want to put people back to work? If you're unhappy with the economic climate created by the courts, please make sure you go to the end of the ballot this November and "VOTE NO" for retention of Callis, Crowder, Hylla, and Knight.

Philip Chapman

Resource Information

Lawsuit Explosion Asbestos Cases

Informational Links

YOU CAN HELP! Perhaps you're fed up with the current law suit explosion and the harm it causes business and health care. FIGHT BACK! DONATE! Money will be used to fight for reform through grassroots distribution of flyers and signs. Small contributions from everyday people can make a big difference in our court system. If everyone gives a little we can do a lot.


Vote No on Retention