Sidley secured a victory for the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board in a live judicial misconduct trial against Cook County Judge Mauricio Araujo before the seven-member Illinois Courts Commission. In an unusual move, the commission ruled from the bench at the close of the trial, finding that the board met its burden (by clear and convincing evidence) on all three counts against the judge, who the board alleged engaged in a pattern of inappropriate and harassing behavior toward women with whom he interacted in professional settings. The board’s complaint alleged that Judge Araujo made two separate unwanted sexual advances toward a court reporter while alone with her in the confined space of an elevator at the Domestic Violence Courthouse in Chicago; that he grabbed, and attempted to kiss, a Chicago police officer while she was attempting to obtain his signature on a search warrant in his chambers; and that he made a series of inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments about an assistant state’s attorney in his chambers, and in the presence of another one of her colleagues. Following the commission’s ruling on the merits, Judge Araujo tendered his resignation to the Illinois Supreme Court, effective October 5, 2020. The commission will issue a written decision in the matter in the coming months.
The Sidley team included Kevin M. Fee, who serves as trial counsel to the Judicial Inquiry Board, and Martha C. Clarke (both Chicago).