Can a trained service dog bark under the ADA? Judge Aicha MacCarthy answers the question today, and a whole lot more

Dear Readers;

As you know, there is fairly not much more entertaining than the Sykes case, ARDC decision or not withstanding that this blog is now the MOST DANGEROUS BLOG IN ILLINOIS–and it’s for reporting on the Sykes case.

So, let’s state the facts ma’am and only the facts of what happened to day in court.

1) Gloria files an ADA pleading, and no, I don’t have it yet, but I will get it, I promise.  The essence of the complaint is a) Mary Sykes has rights under the ADA and she is being discriminated against in that b) she is isolated from 20+ former friends and neighbors, including her beloved younger daughter Gloria; c) she can’t live where she wants, which is with Gloria; and d) Gloria’s POA was summarily suspended without notice or hearing, etc.  That’s the gist I got from Gloria today who braved 1804 again, this time with the very formidable Judge M.

2)  We all show up at 10 am, and I would bring out my laptop but I get harassed from the court, AS and PS, and I figure, the ADA is going to be a real kicker out the door today, they’ll hear it first, MOTION DENIED, and I’m outta there.  No reason to fight over the laptop, so I grab some order forms and prepare to take 2 notes:  Gloria steps up, MOTION DENIED.  ADA?  are you kidding on the 18th floor?  What a loser.  Okay, I’m the legal  pessimist today.

3)  Neither Carolyn nor Mary shows up.  No surprise there.

4) AS and PS show up–eventually.  But here’s the weird part.  Judge M keeps on going back and forth from bench to back door, about 3 or 4 times from 10 am to 11 am.  Interesting.  PS is here, but apparently wandering.  AS is waiting, for Godoh, I’m sure.

5)  Finally after about an hour the case is called.  Curiously, Judge M seemed to know where PS was and what he was up to even tho it was not disclosed in open court.  Gloria has been wandering in and out and say PS walked to the back hall and disappears.  Okay, I would put 2 and 2 together, but that takes work.  The ARDC says stuff like that never happens, and Lord Larkin has ruled those are actually 18th floor optical illusions and that’s that.  No more stating the obvious.  Let the reader figure that out.

6)  Right away, the argument ensues between Gloria and Judge M.  It takes on a rather personal, nasty tone for some strange reason.  Judge M declares “no dog and this is my courtroom.”  Gloria retorts with the ADA and the dog is not a service dog like one for the blind or deaf, but a working dog and it is covered under the ADA.  Gloria repeats firmly 1)  I have a disability; 2) the dog mitigates my disability.  Judge M says you have to also assert training.  Gloria:  no I don’t.  Judge M: yes you do.  Gloria:  fine, he’s trained.  Judge M:  Get him out of here.  I already ruled and issued a court order and you’re openly defying me.  Gloria’s friends comply and dog leaves.

So much for that.  I’ve really never seen a judge or any court employee challenge a disabled person and grill them, but hey, this is cook county court, right?  We have judges that jail court room observers for pants too low. Got it. Those weenie disableds with all those problems better get their act together and put together a cohesive legal argument and get it done–or else!

Gloria then argues her motion and her ADA claim about her mother and Judge M just says MOTION DENIED.  Finally.  What I came for. There’s no ADA on the 18th floor, not with all those sick people who need to be billed by attys and gotten rid of, right?

You’d think it was the end, but oh, no, there are more points to be made.

A dog bark is heard.  Judge M flies into a flury over how service dogs don’t bark.  Gloria says Shaggy is a working dog and sometimes, yes, they do bark.  I have to agree with that, even tho I don’t have the immediate authority of Google or Wiki, and I’m a reporter at this point, so I have no need to get involved in all that.

But Gloria argues the dog barking point, the working dog point and Judge M kicks Gloria out.  In fact, Judge is fairly rude and condescending to Gloria, like usu., making faces, laughing at times, probate victims know the rigamarole. So do I.  Yawn.

Gloria leaves.

Here’s the weird part.  Judge M then stands up, arms a flying and points at me and yells “And Mrs. Denison, you can go ahead and write down whatever you want in your notes!”  (in a sarcastic condescending tone) (Since when do court watchers get a comment from the judge???  Interesting)  I leave.  I am mostly puzzled and not at all bothered by the comment other than it didn’t seem appropriate from a sitting circuit judge.

Scott reports later that she then turned to him and yelled at him from the bench sarcastically “Mr. Evans, and you too can write down whatever you want to!”

After I leave get in the hall, Gloria bursts into tears.  I comfort and tell her to leave with Shaggy ASAP.  I trust no one, absolutely no one on that floor.

Shaggy gives a few barks on the way out and I guess that was the cue for Judge M to come a flying off the bench, arms waving about the dog that’s never supposed to bark.

But even with all that, Gloria and Shaggy have already made the turn to the elevators.  They are safe.  My work is done.  Gloria would have gone back on the anteroom work bench in silver bracelets and Shaggy down to the pound for assisted involuntary suicide.

Scott says he heard she wanted to put Gloria in contempt again and arrest her (for a barking working dog).

So I close with this article

and I suggest Judge M get a 4G wireless table with google to try to keep up on these things.

But we then made it to Starbucks!  Yeah, Starbucks.

But then a guy in a sheriff’s white shirt and a gun walked up to Gloria and said “lady, is this your dog, you ain’t blind or nothing, he has to leave.”


One of our party that shall be kept nameless simply said, “officer, are you trained in the ADA?”  “Well, actually, no I’m not.”  “But you’re a deputy, right, with over 200 hours of training, right?”  “Okay.”  “Maybe you ought to think about getting some ADA training before you talk to this young lady about her dog, okay?”  “Okay.”

He left to give directions to a kid.  Good idea.  He’s trained in getting that kid to the State of Illinois building in the pedway.  Good choice.


3 thoughts on “Can a trained service dog bark under the ADA? Judge Aicha MacCarthy answers the question today, and a whole lot more

  1. Joanne, you don’t miss anything, super job of reporting all of this! I wish you could be at our Kangaroo Courts over here, it would be a blast!  We really need you at least in my Courts,  full of condescending attitudes, finger pointing in a threatening manner to the defendant,  cocktail

    attire almost always worn by the opposing counsel, to include her 6 inch heels,  winking of eyes to judge by attorneys and several other

    observations in the etc,etc,etc.! REAL SIDESHOW OVER HERE! gms

    • Dear Glenda;
      Glad you enjoyed it. The reporting is so that the Judges know how they appear to others. We have some 20+ floor of courtrooms here in Chicago, the largest and busiest court system in the world. Some judges are excellent, well reasoned, prepared, just and honorable. But far too many run their courtrooms like little fiefdoms passing out favors and business to attorneys, being obvious in bias, and not reading or understanding the law or sighing when they must follow it when forced to by some uppity mouthy attorney.
      Wish I could say we had better, but we don’t.
      I do this because I see what is wrong and I want others to know this is not the way to go, and they are no alone if they see it.

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