Silver Dollar Restaurant

422 E. Mississippi Ave, Elwood, IL 60421

October Meeting

First was Circuit Court Judge Dave Carlson. He spoke about how a lawsuit works.  Every lawsuit is either criminal or civil. They go to a circuit court, and if the decision is appealed, it then goes to the Appellate Court. In the Circuit court the term is Judge. In the Appellate Court he or she is called a Justice. In the Circuit Court 3 Justices review the transcript and make a decision. If there are no other cases like it, it becomes law of the state. The Illinois Supreme Court has 7 Justices. 4 are from Cook County and 3 are from other districts. Judge terms are 6 years for the Circuit Court, 10 years for the Appellate Court, and Supreme Court. For the Circuit Court 16 Judges are elected, they appoint the other 20.                                                                    

Next up was Ed Ronkowski a former Cook County prosecutor for 22 years. Prosecutors are overworked, and are judged by the number of mistakes, following the bosses orders, wins, and conviction ratio. They are governed by canids of ethics.  They must be fair and honest and can’t hide evidence. Many cases are prejudged and plea bargained.                                                                                                                           

Ragan Freitag was next. She is the Will County Chief of Staff, and a former defense attorney. She feels the facts are twisted sometimes by prosecutors. She said to always speak to an attorney before saying anything, as it can be used against you. Also bring the family to the attorney because it affects the whole family. Don’t get an attorney by seeing a billboard, get referrals.                                                                    

Last up was Dave Lombardo, an expert witness in gun related cases. He advised getting the best attorney you can afford, as it is your future you are paying for. Lawyers use theatrics, and an expert witness will cost between $250-$500 per hour. He will read the information and give his opinion, and then may be hired or not. You must be proficient at communicating the facts you are trying to get across.