The Judicial Accountability Project Asks Voters to Remove Judge Michael Toomin and Judge Mauricio Araujo by Voting them Off the Bench for Conduct Unfit for the Illinois Judiciary.

The Judicial Accountability Project asks voters to remove Judge Michael Toomin and Judge Mauricio Araujo by voting them off the bench for conduct unfit for the Cook County judiciary. The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has added a glaring spotlight on the judiciary. This moment is incredibly important and we must not be afraid to act.

The Illinois constitution gives the Judicial Inquiry Board and the Illinois Court’s Commission power and authority to investigate and discipline errant judges. The commission is notorious for rendering the very lowest form of discipline.  In the last decade the commission decided 10 cases. More than half of those cases ended in a public reprimand. The others were dismissed. Where is the justice? Thousands of citizens are protesting across the country for justice. We want justice right here in Illinois. If the state will not do their job and discipline judges who are protecting police misconduct and racist practices on the bench, then we must do it for them. Judge Toomin and Judge Araujo are an embarrassment to the entire legal establishment.

“No Judge has done more over the last 40 years than Toomin to bring us to this seminal moment where we must necessarily work to undermine the systemic bureaucratic bulwarks designed to ensure mass incarceration and racial inequity. For four decades Toomin has been one of the pillars of mass incarceration in Cook County,” stated Charlotte Jenkins, President of The Judicial Accountability Project C4 Board.

Judge Michael Toomin is the epitome of legitimizing police misconduct. His complete disregard for youth and young adults in Black Latinx communities goes back a long way. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Toomin consistently made rulings designed to protect notorious Burge acolytes Detectives Michael Kill and Kenneth Boudreau and notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts.

Despite consistently protecting the abusive and ineffective practices of the Chicago Police Department in the 1990s and 2000s, Toomin was tapped to head the County’s Juvenile Court in 2012. This appointment gave him greater power and control as both a policymaker and supervisor over all other judges in the Juvenile Court building. Toomin held judges in that division under his thumb and waged war on Black and Brown children under 12 years old. When Cook County passed a law preventing the jailing of children 12 and under, Toomin challenged that law and successfully won the right to have his judges jail children 11 and 12 years old.

“Toomin represents the old guard of failed policies that emphasizes punishing kids over rehabilitation, despite decades of science that underscores that prison does nothing to reform minors. The bottom line is Toomin has to go,” said Clem Balanoff, Chairman Emeritus of Our Revolution.

At the time of this press conference, Judge Mauricio Araujo is relegated to “judge jail” (similar to desk duty for officers – full pay with major restrictions on judicial activities) after multiple accounts of sexual harassment. His history of misogyny is well documented.

He asked a court reporter, “how much money” he needed to pay to have sex with her and doubled down when she tried to laugh it off by asking again; He was stopped in his tracks by a female police officer after trying to kiss her without permission; He insulted a prosecutor and announced to the courtroom that he had sex with her. Judge Araujo’s disrespect for women is undeniable.

In spite of “plentiful evidence” to support the protective order, Judge Araujo denied a woman’s request for a protective order against her boyfriend. That denial was reversed based on “mistake of facts.”

“We have all seen the deadly consequences of no-knock warrants like the one that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor. Araujo has signed numerous no-knock warrants for corrupt CPD officers, Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado, who are personal friends of his,” said David Castro, Educational Organizer for SWOP.

“Actions like these are the reason Americans everywhere are screaming for criminal justice reform,” added 47th Ward Democratic Committeeman Paul Rosenfeld. “In Illinois we have virtually no system to hold judges accountable for their actions.  Our stance against these two judges takes us one step closer to holding all judges in Cook County to a higher standard of excellence.”

As we lay the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg to rest, we are reminded that the Supreme Court’s interpretations of the law are the final path to justice. In the United States we have all operated within a system that treats young Black and Brown men with more suspicion, more punishment, and more sanction than all others. We cannot—We will not turn a blind eye to the injustice of so many wrongful convictions in Illinois. We are taking our fight straight to the ballot box. Please help us, “TossToomin” and “SayNoAraujo.”

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