According to the great Mark Twain, “There are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies, and Judge John Dalton.” Well, that wasn’t exactly what he said, but it’s close enough. In response to his recent relegation to the lowliest of all civil courtrooms, Dalton posted this on social media:
After over four and a half years trying to help struggling families in often contentious parentage cases, it was announced last night that when our new associate judge joins us in mid February [sic], I will be moving back to the lovely, historic Third Street Courthouse to hear civil cases, which offer the opportunity to preside over jury trials, a long held goal of mine. I am very pleased about this change.
Clearly the Judge missed his calling as a smarmy Hallmark greeting card writer. Not even Donald Trump could compress that many untruths into a scant 72 words. So, let’s examine this abjectly insincere declaration!
First, during his 4.5-year family court reign of terror, John Dalton destroyed and created more struggling families than Hurricane Sandy. Aside from presiding over the death of a two-year-old boy whose cause of death mysteriously remains undetermined months after his death, here are but a few of Dalton’s greatest hits:
- He refuses to enforce his own rulings and laughs in desperate peoples’ faces as he does it
- He makes up the law as he goes along
- He’s a bigot who’s exceptionally hard on Hispanics and blacks
- He plays to the courtroom gallery consistently looking for reactions
- He granted unsupervised shared custody to a father who was out on bond for threatening to kill his ex-wife – twice
- He granted unsupervised shared custody to a women with a series of arrests for public intoxication
And my personal favorite, when a mother showed Dalton a text in which her ex claimed to be masturbating in bed next to their two-year-old daughter, his response was “Do you know how many parents have sex in the same room as their children?”
So, let’s just dispense with the blatant “help struggling families in often contentious parentage cases” mendaciousness.
Moving on to the “the lovely, historic Third Street Courthouse!” It may look good on the outside, but on an 18-degree day like this one, half the courtrooms will register a bonny 34 degrees while rest will be roasting at the 98 mark. And air conditioning? That’s not exactly what I’d call it.
Let’s just say the interior of that building shows every bit of its 166 years. I certainly wouldn’t want to work there.
To be fair, when Dalton wrote he’d “hear civil cases” at Third Street, he actually was correct. See John! You can tell the truth if you really put your mind to it!
But as far as jury trials? Nope! Not in courtroom 250! That’s where eviction and property arbitration cases are heard. A local attorney said he’s seen just one forcible eviction trial in 12 long years, and arbitration cases virtually never require a jury. That means Dalton might see one jury trial every two or three years.
But the best part about this demotion – and it is a demotion – is, unlike family court where most folks proceed pro se and know nothing about the judges, the majority of courtroom 250 cases are presented by attorneys. And since every Kane County attorney is well aware of Dalton’s sadistic nature, if they find themselves headed in his direction, they will immediately file an SOJ motion.
“SOJ” stands for “substitution of judge,” and every court bound Illinoisans has the statutory right to ask for a different judge before the proceeding commence – no questions asked. So, as you might imagine, John Dalton is going to be a very lonely man.
I’d generally compliment Chief Judge Clint Hull for this rather propitious maneuver, but the fact that he’s attempting to pay a rather hefty sum to the perpetually absent former Kane County Public Defender Kelli Childress just to shut her up kinda mutes that enthusiasm.
By the way, Judge Hull! The Public Defender’s job still isn’t posted on the County website, and yet you remain steadfast in your refusal to provide me with a reason. Perhaps we’ll discuss it at the January 16 Judicial and Public Safety meeting where I will be addressing those board members.
But back to the issue at hand.
John Dalton can spin this demotion any way he wants, but it won’t change the fact that he’s finally being exiled to a place where he can do the least possible amount of damage. And all I can say is, “Goodbye and good riddance.”