Curt Benson sworn in as 17th Circuit Judge


by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Anyone who knows the power couple Curt Benson and Judge Jane Markey would have been reasonable to expect Benson’s investiture as a judge for the 17th Circuit Court to be entertaining.

And the event did not disappoint.

From emcee Mike Dunn to Judge Benson’s attorney sister Margaret Benson to Judge Markey to Benson himself, humor was the order of the day.

However, all the affectionate teasing could not mask an undercurrent of strong emotion as those who knew Curt Benson’s dad Robert, a judge for over 30 years, expressed delight in seeing the son follow in his father’s footsteps.

As the investiture’s Presiding Judge Mark Trusock put it, “No doubt his father is looking down on us right now and he’s so proud of you, Curt.”

The children of Judges Benson and Markey,  Caitlin and Robert or  “Bo,” helped Curt Benson into a robe that was his father’s, and he will be using his father’s gavel. In addition, Margaret Benson, who is the Executive Director of Chicago Legal Services, presented him with their father’s gavel stand with his engraved placard, to which she had added one for Curt.

“I wish my parents were here,” she said. “They deserve the credit.”

Curt Benson himself is well-known for his humor, evidenced throughout his career as a popular professor at WMU-Cooley but most strongly in his WOOD radio show “The Lawyers.” Investiture emcee Mike Dunn, co-hosted.

“His knowledge of the law is vast, and most of it is useless,” joked Dunn. “We had a segment on the show called Professor Benson’s Useless Legal Knowledge. He not only knows the Rule in Shelley’s Case, he knows who Shelley was.”

Benson’s partner Judge Markey, a serious and successful Court of Appeals judge, is at the same time a very funny person, more than willing to push the envelope in her recollections of an adult lifetime spent with Benson. From their initial introduction at the hand of the “terrifying” Judge Robert Benson to the challenges presented by running several judicial campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful, Markey teased and praised the man she calls her “forever friend.”

It was therefore a very satisfying moment when Judge Markey swore in the new Judge Benson.