Pucinski says Brown made a mess out of Circuit Court clerk’s office
BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org February 22, 2012 7:36PM
Aurelia Marie Pucinski
Updated: February 22, 2012 8:05PM
Illinois Appellate Court Judge Aurelia Pucinski bashed her successor Dorothy Brown Wednesday, saying the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office has turned the task of record-keeping into a jumbled mess.
While Brown denies the allegations, Pucinski — who held the office a decade before deciding not to run again in 2000 — says she’s endorsing Chicago Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) who is squaring off with the incumbent in next month’s Democratic primary.
Pucinski, who hears the appeals of anything from murder to civil cases decided in the lower county circuit court, has witnessed the domino effect of what she describes as chronic record-keeping problems in the Circuit Court clerk’s office. Pucinski said litigants stand before her, ready to make their case only to find paperwork missing from court files maintained by Brown’s office.
“And that is ... inappropriate. It’s not right,” Pucinski said at a news conference with Munoz on Michigan Avenue. “It shows that the office is not functioning well at the trial level, at the appellate level and for the litigants who are then wasting a lot of time. And it’s costing them money because their attorney shows up, oops, have to wait. Have to go back. Come back again,” Pucinski said.
Incredulous, the Brown campaign complained that they had to clean up the mess when Pucinski left office in 2000.
In a prepared statement, the campaign stated: “Ms. Pucinski shows a vengeful bias and a lack of legal knowledge that should alarm every law-abiding taxpayer in Cook County. She nearly ruined the Cook County Clerk’s office in her 12 years of patronage, wild spending, poor customer service party switching, and gross mismanagement in her quest for personal gain.”
Brown’s campaign apparently meant the “Circuit Court Clerk’s office,” since the Cook County clerk, currently David Orr, is a separate elected position that Pucinski never held.
Pucinski said Brown has no one to blame but herself for the state of the Circuit Court clerk’s office.
“She’s been there 12 years — she owns it now.”
Pucinski is also running for election – this time for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court. She’s running against state Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, appointed in 2010 to fill the vacancy left with the retirement of Justice Thomas Fitzgerald; Appellate Court Judge Joy Cunningham; and Thomas W. Flannigan.