Illinois Judge Makes Bizarre Appearances In Federal Court Demanding To Intervene In Secret Cases By Her Lawyer, Doctor, or “Spiritual Adviser”

Cook County Judge Susan McDunn has had a controversial career with allegations from anti-gay bias to sheer incompetence. She is now adding suggestions of paranoia after appearing in federal court demanding to know what secret and sealed cases have been brought against her — despite the fact that no one has any evidence of such cases existing. Yet, McDunn insists “I’m not paranoid.” She could add that “even if I am paranoid it doesn’t mean my spiritual adviser is not after me.”

McDunn, 57, appeared before Federal Judge Amy St. Eve on an “emergency” matter, announcing that she was “almost certain there is a case or more pending in this court under seal involving claims that I have — that I have against people.” St. Eve tried to get McDunn to explain why she believes that there are secret lawsuits against her. McDunn simply assured her that she has all the evidence that she needs:

“I have a massive amount of evidence regarding that, but it’s in small pieces because basically I’ve been locked out of my own life because of these secret proceedings . . . Many people know about these cases . . . I have many pieces of evidence to know that. But people are lying to me about the existence of the cases and saying they don’t know anything about them. . . . But . . . I know the cases exist . . . I am being persecuted extensively by many people in many ways. I have many claims of many types against many potential defendants, including very powerful people in this city.”

Not surprisingly, St. Eve said that that was not enough, even for a fellow judge.

Two days later, McDunn went to the courtroom of Chief Federal Court Judge James F. Holderman claiming that her “life is being ruined” by secret lawsuits involving a variety of high-profile tormentors from former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Ald. Ed Burke (14th) to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to leading figures in the Archdiocese of Chicago. McDunn presented a motion alleging that either the attorney, her doctor or her “spiritual advisor” had filed or helped file the secret cases. While she could not identify which filed the action, she wanted to intervene in the case. Holderman said he checked with the clerk and no such cases were found. However, McDunn assured him, “I’m not paranoid.”

Holderman told her he’d asked the clerk’s office to find the mystery sealed cases McDunn was referring to, but “there is no case” — a statement he repeated to her eight times during the short hearing, according to a transcript.

McDunn was undeterred: “I’m a judge — I know that cases are sometimes filed but the parties involved are not given notice.”

McDunn has been previously the subject of great controversy. She has been deemed incompetent in the past by the Bar and moved from court to court due to her alleged lack of knowledge and judicial temperament. In one such move, she was put in charge of adoptions and almost immediately caused an outrage over her treatment to two cases involving lesbian parents, including one who was the biological mother of the child. McDunn held up the adoption and was accused of giving the names of the parties to a conservative group that opposes same-sex adoptions. She wanted the group to be the “secondary guardian” of the children. She was removed from the case and the presiding judge approved the adoptions.

She was then sent to traffic court despite her reputation for abusive treatment of litigants and lawyers. She then tried to issue orders putting herself back on the adoption court but was blocked by the Appellate Court which described her conduct as causing “inexcusable injustice.” She was removed from even the traffic court and put on a paper-pushing job.

She now joins Judge Cynthia Brim who has removed by the bench after being arrested for shoving a sheriff deputy and throwing keys at him. Brim was previously included in judges investigated for leaving their job early each day.

As for McDunn, she is not going quietly into that night. “I’m a completely healthy person — mentally, spiritually and physically.” Perhaps, but not quite right judicially.

Source: Sun-Times

32 thoughts on “Illinois Judge Makes Bizarre Appearances In Federal Court Demanding To Intervene In Secret Cases By Her Lawyer, Doctor, or “Spiritual Adviser”

  1. Is it possible to partition humanity into two batches, as some philosophical types may have suggested?

    Type 1: Those who know that they know, and are therefore those who don’t know.

    Type 2: Those who know that they don’t know, and are therefore those who do know?

    The late (d. 1954?) neuropsychiatrist, and once-upon-a-time Illinois Assistant State Alienist, Dr. Abraham A. Low, remarked that knowing that you don’t know is a secure thought.

    Dr Low also stated, and this works properly when read aloud, “If my patients had patience, I would not have patients.”

    He also observed that what he called “temper” led to “tenseness” which led to psychiatric symptoms, and trained his patients to avoid temper (both fearful and angry forms) so as to avoid the tenseness that he found results in psychiatric symptoms.

    And, Dr. Low suggested to his patients that temper was a luxury they could not afford.

    Of course, it is impossible to know for sure from reading the starter of this blog thread; however, the starter wording does allow for a “temper – tenseness – symptoms” explanation to make possibly useful sense.

    While Dr. Low may have attributed temper problems to “a weak nervous system,” it has come to my mind to wonder whether a nervous system can be weakened through traumatizing experiences.

    So, I have a schema which I have found difficult to refute.

    1. Ignorance regarding what causes trauma and what trauma is stems from the rather short time humanity has had so far for learning about human brain function in the presence of unresolved trauma.

    2. Ignorance about trauma prevents preventing traumatizing children, because trauma is yet to become sufficiently well understood that preventing it has become feasible.

    3. Effectively unpreventable and unresolved trauma produces psychological pain.

    4. Sustained psychological pain without resolution produces temper.

    5. Temper, if sufficiently intense, results in tenseness.

    6. Tenseness from temper from unresolved psychological pain from unpreventable abuse from ignorance about abuse, ends up as a form of neurological trauma adaptation with what is labeled, in the fields of abnormal psychology and psychiatry, as mental illness.

    Were there anyone who is religious around, what of the religious notion that one who judges will be judged, and perhaps more harshly by self than by others?

    Would, perchance, self-judgment, self-denied and delusionally projected onto others, provide a useful account for the observable overt conduct of Cook County Judge Susan McDunn?

  2. Mental illness is a terrible disease and likely affects our poor judge. The proper reaction, I think, is sorrow not recrimination for a mind so obviously crying for help with none apparently forthcoming.

  3. Does she think that a corporation is a person? I’d almost rather have a crazy judge on the bench than one with a political agenda.

  4. It usually takes a doctor named Dr. Low, to know. This judge also said that there were cases filed under “seal”. Then she went on to describe an arctic seal. We will know more when more light is shed on the subject. Just keep her out of Dog Court.

  5. Just out of curiosity how do you deal with a judge that has slipped the moorings of sanity? I assume it varies depending on the jurisdiction but is there some generally agreed upon process? I would think complaints from lawyers would have to go to someone who would look to make sure its not just sour grapes. Clerks and bailiffs might notice issues, who would they report them to? I suspect fellow judges might be the last to know since I would guess they don’t often see the work of their peers in real time.

  6. Sounds like Alzheimer’s.

    It’s interesting that professor Turley brought up abuse of litigants and lawyers. That was also what was said about Edward Nottingham, the judge who ordered me imprisoned without a bail hearing or criminal charge. Rudeness is associated with Alzheimer’s. I think Nottingham has early onset Alzheimer’s and that explains his risky behavior such as, according to 9 News of Denver, kissing prostitutes on the street outside his condo and telling people at a big orgy that he was a federal judge, and, according to the 10th Circuit, calling prostitutes on his court issued cell phone.

  7. You know, every movie plot you see where a person becomes targeted, those ‘not in the know’ believe that person is crazy…

    If there really is a secret agenda after her, the best way to keep that secret agenda hidden is by getting her to act like a crazy person so no one believes her that there is a secret agenda after her.

    I say this sarcastically, of course, but the slight possibility remains.

  8. “Is it possible to partition humanity into two batches, as some philosophical types may have suggested?”

    Clearly the answer is yes: (1) those who believe it is possible; and (2) those who do not.

  9. OK, here’s a non-question: Why is she able to decide the fate of other individuals, even in the slightest way?

    And here’s a real question: Who’s going back to re-evaluate all the cases she HAS heard and try to remedy whatever has gone wrong.

    And here’s a real obvious question: How can she be provided with treatment and some form of protection from whatever is about to befall at LEAST her if not many others? Mespo and Rafflaw, you and OS may be able to think of a way — short of filing a secret lawsuit, of course. Professor Turley, any ideas?

  10. “She then tried to issue orders putting herself back on the adoption court but was blocked by the Appellate Court which described her conduct as causing ‘inexcusable injustice.’”

    I must say, not in this judge’s defense but in globo, that the appellate court’s use — and possibly coinage — of the phrase “inexcusable injustice” is making me snarfle my room-temperature coffee all over my friend’s laptop computer. I now would like one of the lawyers on this blog to write an article comparing “inexcusable injustice” as dished out by this judge to “harmless error” dished out by her less wacky brethren and sistern on the bench. (No, not cistern!) PUHLEEEZ show us some precedents that clarify in our little laymen minds what constitutes “inexcusable injustice” in the eyes of the judiciary with garden variety judgemanship which, we all know, is only challenged by disgruntled litigants.

  11. Nick,

    I didn’t like either Daley, nor do I like Emmanuel. However, I have to say having visited Chicago on an extended stay about six years ago, it is one hell of a well-run City. Of course my visit was in August so the weather was beautiful.

  12. I really like your twitter/blog Jonathan but you really need to have someone proofread these before you post.

    e.g. “Cook County Judge Susan McDunn has had a controversial career with from allegations of anti-gay bias to sheer incompetence…”

  13. Mike, I love Chicago. I lived there during the Harold Washington election which was inspiring. It is a city I visit often[ 2 hour drive] and August is one of the best months. The son was a little better than the old man but that is “damning w/ faint praise.”

  14. Considering the judge has made some rather bizarre rulings and has been moved around, isn’t it just possible that there are some sealed and/or secret cases with her as the main subject? And isn’t it possible that they remain secret as a way of further marginalizing her? If she really needs mental health care, I hope she gets it. otoh, it could be that she’s on to something.

    Her situation seems to be like those suing the government covertly spying on them. The government argues that they don’t have standing b/c they can’t prove they are the subject being spied on since it’s all covert and a secret.

  15. Why was she a judge for so long? That is at the heart of the structural problem here. Snapping her around from office to office is what gets many organizations into trouble eventually because either they are unwilling or unable legally to remove this problem.

    As for this judge, I agree she seems to be having mental health issues. Treatment is the answer. If she has a retirement benefit from her service rightly or wrongly earned notwithstanding, she seems in need of this benefit.

  16. JCTheBigTree, yes, I’ve seen that movie, many of them.

    bettykath: “…isn’t it just possible that there are some sealed and/or secret cases with her as the main subject?”

    The problem with this case is, as bettykath posits, that while McDunn seems to be mentally ill that if there are sealed indictments against her, her fellow judges would be obligated to lie about them. If she’s ill and the secret cases are not real I hope she gets some help.

    Morpheus: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”

  17. What lottakatz, bettykath and JCTheBigTree said.

    There are some unbelievably crazy things going on in this country of ours — things that are inherently unbelievable, but true. (Thanks for the Morpheus quote, lottakatz.)

  18. I happened to be in this courtroom for another case and witnessed the whole exchange. I’m no mental health professional, but Judge McDunn did indeed seem emotionally troubled and paranoid. It was a sad scene.

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