On Friday, December 2, 2022, the Courts Commission of the State of Illinois dismissed a complaint against Cook County Circuit Judge William B. Raines for judicial misconduct pursuant to the Judicial Inquiry Board’s motion to dismiss the complaint without prejudice.

The charges cited Canons 1, 2(A), 3(A)(2), 3(A)(3), and 3(A)(9) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which states:

An independent and honorable judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should personally observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective.

A judge should respect and comply with the law and should conduct himself or herself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

A judge should maintain order and decorum in the proceedings before the judge.

A judge should be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s discretion and control.

A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and shall not permit staff, court officials and others subject to the judge’s discretion and control do so.

On June 17, 2022, the Complaint was filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board before the Court’s Commission. The Complaint alleged Judge Raines to have engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that brought the judicial office into disrepute. His conduct stemmed from Raines’ derogatory, injudicious, and demeaning statements about two attorneys while being livestreamed on the bench.

The Complaint reads:

‘After court was adjourned, Respondent, while still on the bench, mistakenly believed that the livestream had ended and initiated a conversation with Assistant State’s Attorney Anna Sedelmeier, Assistant State’s Attorney Susie Bucaro, and Assistant Public Defender Kyle Lappin. Through the course of that conversation, Attorney Jennifer Bonjean and Attorney Samuel Kennedy were mocked and ridiculed by Respondent.’

The Complaint continues:

‘During that conversation, Respondent, referring to Ms. Bonjean, stated: “Did you see her going nuts? Glasses off, fingers through her hair, the phone’s going all over the place. It’s insane.” Respondent further related that Ms. Bonjean’s behaviour “was entertaining” for him and inquired” “Can you imagine waking up to her every day? Oh my God.”’

The Complaint further alleges:

‘During the conversation, Attorney Samuel Kennedy was also mocked and ridiculed. When a question was raised regarding who Attorney Samuel Kennedy was, Respondent stated: “That’s her man child.”’

By these acts, the Judicial Inquiry Board concluded that Judge Raine’s conduct constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct that brought disrepute to the judicial office and prayed that the Commission, after notice of public hearing, make such order that it may deem appropriate.

Judge Raines, in his Answer, admitted that he made the above-described statements and that he believed that the livestream had ended, however, he denied all the alleged Code violations and denied that he initiated the conversation. Also, Judge Raines admitted that the statements were inappropriate and should not have been made.

On November 16, 2022, the Board sought the dismissal of the complaint, asserting that Judge Raines resigned from his office on November 6, 2022. For this reason, Judge Raines is no longer a sitting Illinois judge because the Commission has lost jurisdiction over the matter.

Accordingly, the Commission, upon consideration of the Board’s motion and Judge Raines’ resignation from the bench, agreed that it is now without jurisdiction over the matter, thereby ordering the dismissal of the complaint without prejudice.

Judge Raines’s former Courtroom is located at 2650 S California Avenue in Chicago and can be reached at (773) 674-6010.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.