Trial Notebook


Judge describes self as ‘ardent textualist,’ condemns hyper-literalism

Perhaps anticipating accusations of hypocrisy when he joined a 2-1 decision that concluded a defendant wasn’t entitled to relief from a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence because Congress used the word “and” to mean “or” in a reform law’s “safety valve” provision, a circuit judge who described himself as “an ardent textualist” added a concurring opinion on why “hyper-literalism is bad.”

Sports Marketing Playbook

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Pickleball reaches the big leagues with sports stars, brands investing

What’s currently being called the fastest-growing sport in the United States? (Hint: It’s not e-sports.) As of 2022, that honor goes to pickleball.

Racial Justice

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The assassination of Fred Hampton: Police, FBI targeted a revolutionary

Sunday marks the 53th anniversary of the assassination of Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton, killed at 21 when police executed a search warrant and shot him in his own bed. The 22-year-old Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed during the raid.

For the Defense

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Thanksgiving week arguments at state Supreme Court: Turkeys or valid claims?

For the first time since 2018, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The four disparate civil cases heard that day have a through line that may result in some of the parties giving thanks and will potentially clarify an important issue for civil litigators in Illinois. That commonality is that each of the cases involves a contention that one side forfeited its chief argument.

Law and Public Issues

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Lyman Trumbull – a principled Illinois lawyer who was true to his convictions

We admire those extraordinary people who act upon the courage of their convictions, whatever the cost. Lyman Trumbull, Illinois lawyer and statesman, was such an exceptional person. All but forgotten today, he was once a notable force in Illinois public life and a principled advocate for what he thought was right.

Letter to the Editor

Frye vs. Daubert: ‘Gatekeeping’ function better left for juries, not judges, to decide

In the Nov. 9, column For the Defense, a recent appellate decision, Molitor v. BNSF Railway Company, 2022 IL App (1st) 121486-U, is maligned to argue for replacing our Frye standard, codified in Illinois Rule of Evidence 702, with the federal Daubert standard.

Opening Statement


‘Trouble in Mind’ explores racism, sexism in a powerful Chicago production

Focusing on racism and sexism in American theater, “Trouble in Mind” by the late Alice Childress is playing through Dec. 18 at Timeline Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

Opening Statement


Stoppard’s ‘Leopoldstadt’ is a loving tribute to the Jewish family he never knew

Upon my return from a weekend in New York City, I reviewed three Big Apple musicals in last week’s column. But there’s one more that I want to share. With the subject being the Holocaust, its mood is somber but the play is thoughtful and provocative.

Opening Statement


Porchlight’s ‘Rent’ should not be missed

I have just returned from a weekend trip to New York City, where I attended the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) Conference. While in the Big Apple, my wife and I also attended one play and three musicals. But more on that later.

Opening Statement


Chicago Shakespeare puts a different spin on ‘Measure for Measure’

Since the play was first performed, William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” has often been referred to as one of the Bard of Avon’s “problem plays.”

Opening Statement


‘Swing State’ could have been a great political drama

Prolific playwright Rebecca Gilman’s latest work, “Swing State,” has come to Chicago. Under the direction of Robert Falls, the show is playing through Nov. 13 at the Goodman Theatre.

Opening Statement


‘The Malignant Ampersands’ is a treat for Halloween

There’s an old joke about a sailor stationed in the south Pacific who sees a beautiful and rare fish. It costs thousands of dollars but only measures a few inches. He buys it and ships it to his elderly mother so that she can admire it.
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