Candidate fights to run as write-in against 'impostor judge'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A candidate hoping to run as a write-in for a Cook County judgeship is fighting for a chance to run, days after the Chicago Board of Elections ruled that she could not run.

Maryam Ahmad wants to run against fired law clerk Rhonda Crawford who is being investigated for allegedly posing as a judge in a Cook County courtroom in south suburban Markham, putting on a black robe and climbing onto the bench. Crawford's campaign to be a judge pre-dates her alleged courtroom masquerade.

Ahmad an attorney and currently an appointee judge in south suburban Maywood announced last week that she was waging a write-in campaign. The elections board ruled she could run because she already lost in a primary contest for judge last spring.

Tuesday afternoon, Ahmad hired noted election attorney Burt Odelson to get her back on the ballot.

"She is not getting two bites at the apple, which the law was passed to prevent. She is getting one bite at a different vacancy in the First Judicial Sub-Circuit," Odelson said.

Odelson, who challenged Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago residency in 2010, believes he and Ahmad have a strong case allowing her to be a write-in candidate.

Otherwise, Crawford is the likely winner despite being the subject of a criminal investigation.

"I was found either highly qualified or qualified by every bar association that evaluates judges," Ahmad said.

"It's a very difficult thing to run and win as a write-in. There are unique circumstances and I think everybody knows why she is running for this vacancy, because of the troubles of their person who is the slated candidate," Odelson.

Both women are vying for a seat on the First Sub-Circuit, which includes Chicago and the south suburbs.

So far, only the Chicago elections board has ruled against Ahmad, which means that Ahmad's name could be allowed on some suburban ballots.

In the end, the case could be decided by a Cook County judge.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.