Marty Paris, River Forest father of seven, is free late Saturday night after Chicago Judge Abbey Fishman Romanek’s reversal on Friday of her December 21st order, which kept the father of seven in the slammer for Christmas. Romanek had called it a “Christmas present” even though Mr. Paris was not accused of committing any crime.

Romanek has been facing increasing public scrutiny after AbusiveDiscretion reported on what amounted to Debtor’s Prison in Cook County Domestic Relations Courts under its acting head Judge Regina Scannicchio last week. AbusiveDiscretion‘s story cited eminent legal scholars Professor Jayne Ressler and Professor Doug Rendleman whose academic research equating civil contempt and Debtor’s Prison fueled the story.

Judiciocracy LLC, AbusiveDiscretion‘s publisher, also provided several commentators. Award-winning, international criminal due process legal scholar Dr. Isaac Amon was careful not to speak about the case itself, condemning the division’s practice nonetheless. Dr. Amon is the Managing Editor of Judiciocracy’s War Crimes Tribunal publication,

According to the Cook County Record, Romanek had taken Mr. Paris’ family’s offer to lend him $150,000 to get out of jail, but then doubled it to $300,000, putting freedom out of reach.

Professor Ressler pulled no punches on Scannicchio’s Debtor’s Prisons:

“…the judge who has sentenced him to jail for violating her order to pay whatever civil debt she believes that he owes is typically the same judge who has the power to determine whether he can financially satisfy her order. She is likely unhappy that he hasn’t followed her order in the first place, so she is not likely to look favorably on a contemnor’s pleas that he cannot pay.”

We also reported the comments of Judiciocracy CEO, Edward “Coach” Weinhaus, Esq’s response to Judge Romanek’s logic in the holiday spirit she used:

He likened Judge Romanek’s logic to the opening scene of a popular holiday (Thanksgiving) film where an attorney charges a man, Neal Page, trying to get home to his family for a just-hailed cab. “Anybody who’d pay $50 for a cab…would certainly pay $75” the holiday profiteer states.

Weinhaus commented: “The difference between Neal Page and Marty Paris is that Page just had to reach into his wallet for an extra $25. Mr. Paris has to reach into his ability to borrow six-figures while in the middle of a bankruptcy.”

Scannicchio, herself an avid imprisoner, refused to condemn Debtor’s Prisons and passed our request along to Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ spokesperson, Mary Wisniewski. Ms. Wisniewski will not respond to AbusiveDiscretion‘s news staff.

Coach refused comment related to Judge Evans’ office’s position citing potential conflicts.

Cook County Court leadership’s stonewalling aside, Romanek’s Friday actions took Coach’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles critique to heart. Rather than asking for more money than the $150,000 that was available to him, Romanek ordered Mr. Paris out of jail upon receiving the $150,000.

The case had already created a media brouhaha over Romanek’s jurisprudence. ALABnews, another Judiocracy publication, reported on lawyers erupting at the media coverage in front of her at the December 21st hearing.

According to Professor Ressler’s critique, Paris is lucky Romanek reads the news.  “It is a troublesome system, where one judge wields a tremendous amount of power, with very little oversight.”  Romanek is up for a retention election in 2026. Scannicchio has faced almost no electoral opposition. She is up for retention this year for the first time since her erstwhile sponsor felonious, ex-Alderman Ed Burke, was convicted. (Editor’s Note: Burke is among well-known company in Illinois.)

Romanek responded to other media pressure at Friday’s hearing. ALABnews, which has been covering the case since December, focused on Judge Romanek’s multiple orders seeking Mr. Paris’ incarceration if he did not satisfy his own attorney’s debts. Chicago divorce attorney Brian Hurst pursued those debts against his ex-client in the amount of $150,548.68, which led to the December 7, 2023, commitment order. That commitment order is the one that sent him to jail. But with ALABnews reports that Hurst along with Mrs. Paris’ lover Sean Crotty are lawyer fee creditors, Romanek put her foot down Friday.

She stated that none of the $150,000 would go to Hurst, Crotty, or any of the other attorneys, a statement she hadn’t made in previous proceedings covered by the media. Romanek showed particular concern for child support in front of the media Friday, in a move widely seen by other observers as an attempt to distance herself from the body attachment and commitment to jail orders for attorneys’ fees.

Romanek’s newfound concern for the seven Paris children came too late for this Christmas.

Ressler didn’t mince words regarding Debtor’s Prison in Cook County Domestic Relations under Scannicchio, “Because these types of incarcerations are indefinite, the system can seem like the Wild West in terms of procedural protections and due process.”

Hurst, after his explosion in front of the court before Christmas, did not attend the Friday hearing. However, three attorneys from his firm were on hand for  Judge Romanek’s call, Olga Stambler, Olga Allen, and associate Pryal Thakkar. Allen and Thakkar were careful to leave when the Paris case was called, leaving only Ms. Stambler to learn the fate of her firm’s fees.

Paris’ malpractice claims against former attorneys listed in his bankruptcy schedule do not list Ms. Stambler by name. She has been listed in court documents related to Paris’ case according to sources involved in the ALABnews‘ investigation. Allen and Thakkar were not identified.

According to sources close to Mr. Paris, he has borrowed $150,000 from his family to earn his release from jail.

Judge Romanek ordered that Mr. Paris wear an electronic home monitoring device for as long as he cannot pay further debts. His Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Creditors’ Meeting is set for January 8, according to bankruptcy trustee Ira Bodenstein.

Romanek did not offer any reason for the monitoring at Friday’s proceeding.

An update was pushed on January 16, 2024 that corrected the spelling of Chief Judge Evans’ spokesperson.