David Bernthal

David Bernthal

Off the Bench | Tough decisions often left to judges

Ready or not, we have entered a new year. As is usually the case, many people are talking about their New Year's resolutions.

The minister in a recent church service even made them the centerpiece of his sermon. He observed that most of these resolutions are the same and will be abandoned by Easter.

Off the Bench| First Amendment is a common element

We are in the middle of a very special time of year. Three significant events have happened or will soon take place. At first glance they may not seem related, but I suggest there is a common element. First, since I last wrote, the elections have been completed.

Off the Bench | Rarely an easy resolution in civil cases

One of the questions regularly asked by people involved in civil litigation is "why does it take so long?"

Recognize that the court has a mission of processing its cases while allowing the litigants adequate time to prepare.

Off the Bench | Constitution still has everyday impact

How did you spend Monday, Sept. 17, 2018? That may seem an odd question. That day was the 231st anniversary of the United States Constitution. The day is now referred to as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. While I think the parades and celebrations were few, judges were encouraged to note the importance of the day in remarks from the bench and otherwise.

Off the Bench | Restoring civility in our society

Despite growing up in an era in which one read a newspaper that was delivered to the residence, I am still a little surprised when someone outside the delivery area sends me a comment on a column.

Off the Bench | Reinforcing a culture of civility

In a recent conversation, a friend commented on the deterioration of civility in our society. He was referring to civilized conduct in which people are polite and show courtesy to others. I had to agree. While our technological and scientific advancements have proceeded with astonishing pace, our behavior toward one another has become more hostile and rude.

Off the Bench | Pro se litigants face several challenges

Recently, I saw a commercial in which a man was depicted performing surgery on himself. While that may have been an attention-getter, we all know that we cannot go to the hospital for such a procedure. On the other hand, we can go to the courthouse and pursue our own case. If so, we are said to be proceeding pro se.

Off the Bench | Expect more 'difficult questions' to be raised

This month, I decided to take on a challenge in terms of controversy and complexity. The topic is a case recently decided by the United States Supreme Court. The case highlights changes in our society and the conflicts that can arise from those changes. At the center of the legal controversy is a wedding cake.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench | Understanding the significance of Law Day

We are frequently reminded that time does fly. I experienced one such reminder when I sat down to write my May column. Since May 1 is Law Day, I had an obvious subject. But I hesitated, thinking I had written about Law Day just a few months ago. Well, a few turned out to be 12. It is no wonder there are so many candles on my birthday cake.

David Bernthal/Off the Bench | Importance of free press, independent judiciary

Recently, I had occasion to read a News-Gazette editorial and a letter in response written by my friend and colleague John Thies, past president of the Illinois State Bar Association. What I read prompted some thought about two aspects of our democracy — freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.

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