Rebecca Pallmeyer

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Rebecca Pallmeyer
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Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #1
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   10/22/1998 - Present
Preceded by:   William Hart
Past post:   Magistrate Judge
Past term:   1991 - 1998
Personal History
Born:   1954
Hometown:   Tokyo, Japan
Undergraduate:   University of Valparaiso, B.A., 1976
Law School:   University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1979

Rebecca R. Pallmeyer is an Article III Federal Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She joined the Court in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.

Early life and education

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Pallmeyer received her bachelor's degree from the University of Valparaiso in 1976 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979.[1]

Professional career

Pallmeyer was a law clerk for the Hon. Rosalie E. Wahl in the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1979 to 1980, before entering private practice in Chicago, Illinois until 1985. Pallmeyer was an Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Human Rights Commission from 1986 to 1991.[1]

Judicial career

Northern District of Illinois

Pallmeyer was a federal magistrate judge for the Northern District of Illinois from 1991 to 1998.[1]

On the recommendation of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Pallmeyer was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by President Bill Clinton on July 31, 1998, to a seat vacated by William Hart. Pallmeyer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21, 1998, and received her commission on October 22, 1998.[1]

Notable cases

Case against man pardoned from death row (2010)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (United States, v. Aaron Patterson, 04-cr-705-1)

Pallmeyer earned national buzz over the case of Aaron Patterson who was freed by former Illinois Governor George Ryan after being pardoned from death row. Aaron Patterson had been charged on federal drug trafficking and gun charges. Pallmeyer received a lot of criticism from community organizers over the treatment of Aaron Patterson in her courtroom. This criticism came from a July 20, 2007 incident when Pallmeyer ejected Patterson from her courtroom over an outburst during his own sentencing hearing.[2] Patterson appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals but was denied a retrial after the court affirmed Pallmeyer's ruling and found no grounds for declaring a mistrial.[3]

Chicago Transit Authority ban on certain ads (2010)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Entertainment Software Association, v. Chicago Transit Authority, 1:09-cv-04387)

On January 8, 2010, Judge Pallmeyer ruled to prevent the Chicago Transit Authority from barring commercial advertisements of video games on trains and buses. She found that the CTA's ban on "M" and "AO" rated video games was not narrowly tailored to exclude protected speech, and thus that it was 'overbroad' and violated the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Pallmeyer said that the ruling is part of a long history of "the CTA barring free speech on its trains and buses".[4]

Former Illinois governor guilty in corruption case (2007)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (United States, v. Lawrence E. Warner and George H. Ryan, Sr., 02-cr-506)

Rebecca Pallmeyer was known for her role in the case involving former Illinois Governor George Ryan. Attorneys for the embattled, former Governor criticized Pallmeyer in a 37-page petition to the US Supreme Court, claiming Ryan's chances of getting a fair trial were wrecked when Pallmeyer replaced two jurors with alternates after deliberations were well under way. The two jurors were removed for failing to mention their police records on a pretrial questionnaire.[5] The attorneys also alleged other instances of misconduct in the course of the trial as their basis for a rehearing. Subsequent to Pallmeyer's opinion, Ryan appealed at the higher courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, and was denied in each instance.[6] Although the trial Judge Pallmeyer presided over was never overturned, these decisions were not unanimous, and several dissenting judges including Judge Richard Posner, held that the manner in which the trial was conducted was insufficient to meet legal standards. Posner commented that "the evidence of the defendant's guilt was overwhelming...guilt no matter how clearly established cannot cancel a criminal defendant's right to a trial that meets minimum standards of procedural justice."[7] Ultimately, Ryan's conviction and six-and-half year prison sentence for racketeering and fraud was upheld.[6]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
William Hart
Northern District of Illinois
Seat #1
Succeeded by: