Douglas J. Simpson, Cook County Associate Judge

DOUGLAS J. SIMPSON Five years after being named a Cook County associate judge in 2005, Simpson participated in an ex parte conversation involving another judge and a business owner whom Simpson had talked to about detailing his vehicle. Simpson received a censure for the misconduct. Simpson is retired from the bench, is registered to practice law in Illinois and will receive $73,449.36 in Illinois pension this year.

What the judge did: In September, 2010, Cook County Associate Judge Douglas Simpson learned as he was getting his car detailed that the shop owner had an upcoming case in the Markham courthouse, where Simpson worked. Simpson then visited the courtroom of the assigned judge and told him the shop owner was a “good guy” who had done work for another judge. When the assigned judge – who was not named in the complaint – said that he felt “uncomfortable” and intended to report Simpson’s approach, Simpson tried to talk the judge out of doing so, the record shows.

What the Judicial Inquiry Board said: The board charged Simpson in February, 2011, with violating the Judicial Code provisions on using the prestige of office to advance private interests, and with initiating a private conversation about a case with the assigned judge.

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What the Illinois Courts Commission decided: The commission rejected a recommendation from the board that Simpson be suspended for a period of time over his misconduct, and instead issued a “censure.” The board cited witnesses and letters who attested to Simpson’s good character, including a judicial colleague who said she believed the matter was an isolated incident.