Shadid did the right thing

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

I have in my nicotine-stained fingers a copy of the court order from Judge James E. Shadid filed today recusing himself from the rape trial of Monterius Hinkle.

Shadid did the right thing.

This case is already a political circus which is going to spill over into a courtroom tomorrow as a motion to change venue takes place.

This morning at 6 am. I went to the Web site of the Illinois State Board of Elections and typed in Shadid's name and clicked the contributions button.

Under the name James Shadid I found the following:

Contributions - Shadid, James

Peoria, IL 61614 $250.00

4/29/2008  Individual Contribution

Committee to Elect Kevin Lyons State’s Attorney

That raised a red flag, especially with all the politics swirling around this case.

Shadid was in line to decide whether or not this widely publicized and political rape trial will be moved out of Peoria.

There were political ramifications in this motion and the decision Shadid would render.

Moving the trial because of media attention generated by LaHood getting involved in the case would stain LaHood, the Republican candidate.

To think Lyons would not make political hay out of that is naive.

Many say this is the first time Lyons has had a formidable opponent and that he is not out to just win — he is out to destroy LaHood.

This development with Shadid needed to be brought out.

In my experience I have found Shadid to be an honorable man.

But, it is reasonable to ask whether Shadid’s political contribution brings more electricity to an already politically charged issue.

At the courthouse I learned of the order by Shadid recusing himself.

Shadid, in his court order, filed today, said, in part, "This case was assigned to me in February 2008. As a candidate for judicial retention I have attended a variety of political functions, including a fundraiser for state's attorney Kevin Lyons in April of 2008. This does not disqualify me from my sworn duties, nor does it create any reasonable appearance of partiality.

"Nonetheless, because the case has become an issue in the state's attorney's race, and before any rulings are made on the defense motions as to change of venue, I have determined to recuse myself for the reasons stated above."

Shadid did the right thing. He proved himself, once again, to be an honorable man.

We should expect no less from our judiciary.