Posted by rpjr on May 24, 2018
Ernest R. Blomquist III, well-known, well-regarded long-time attorney provided a “Conversation with a Criminal Lawyer”.  He reminded and educated us about the constitutional provisions which form the basis of our court and legal proceedings.  These provisions  affect us as citizens…and help explain  some of the legal proceedings and maneuvers we read about in the press, see in movies, TV shows, and including some especially significant events happening Thursday and this week in Washington, D.C.  To read more, click “more”. 
Ernie has represented the Village for many years as village prosecutor, has lectured, taught, and written about the law.  He represented the village before the Supreme Court in a precedent setting case in the 1970s, one which affects President Trump’s travel ban (see Daily Herald article by clicking here).  For more from the presentation, and to find out more about Ernie, click "more". 
Ernie spoke from the perspective of working as both a defense attorney and prosecutor.  As an aside, he expressed his view that our U.S. system of justice would be well served it if adopted a requirement similar to that in Briton which requires lawyers to indeed practice both aspects.  He felt it would help prosecutors and defense attorneys maintain a realistic, useful perspective which would contribute to more fairness and justice.
By citing interesting legal cases which established and developed our case law and interpretation, he explored five constitutional amendments which govern significant parts of our system:
Some reflections and insights:
  • The Constitution is expressed in general terms and is meant to be flexible for interpretation as times change.
  • A defense attorney shouldn’t ask a client “Did you do it?” 
  • Part of the role of a defense attorney is to try to make the prosecutor do his/her job, and tries to determine whether the prosecution followed the law.
  • It takes a lot of work to get a warrant.
  • Government is accountable to the same laws as citizens.
  • The current Washington issue of presenting documents/evidence to the President (without a formal charge having been brought) seriously risks legal process and precedent.
You can email Ernie at
Ernie was part of the team, along with attorney Jack Siegel, who represented the village of Arlington Heights at the Supreme Court when the village challenged lower court rulings about St. Viator housing and discrimination.  An important legal precedent was set there for housing and zoning codes, and for proof of discrimination requiring proof of intent, not simply descriptions and numbers.  He distributed a summary overview of arguments concerning the case of former President Richard Nixon vs. the United States.  If you’d like to read it, send Ernie or Bob Paddock an email and ask for a copy.
He shared some history of the building where the firm is located, including a secret basement room, gambling, and surprising one-time well-known ownership.  Some audience questions included a reference to Shakespeare’s famous line (Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.), and Ernie’s suggestion to recall the line right after it.  The topic of seeming injustices was also raised.  Though there are problems, Ernie said, the vast majority of the lawyers and government officials he has met over his career are honorable and try to do the right thing.  Another Rotarian suggested that we citizens need to better fund our courts and processes.
  • Admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1973
  • Law Degree from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Ernie has been a lifelong resident of the northwest suburbs of Chicago, including graduating from Prospect High School, followed by his undergraduate education at Western Illinois University. Previous to his distinguished career as a lawyer, Ernie was a teacher in the Mount Prospect Public Schools, District 57.
The focus of Ernie’s career has been criminal defense law. He began his career as an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Division. Since 1977, he has also served as legal counsel and prosecutor for the Village of Arlington Heights.
Ernie has become well known within the Illinois legal community for his professional achievements and awards, many of them through peer review of the Criminal Defense Bar. He has also received the highest possible rating in ability and legal standards from Martindale-Hubbell® every year from 2009-2014.
Ernie has been on the faculty of the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada for national judicial training. He has also served the Circuit Court of Cook County for judicial training seminars, as well as the Illinois Traffic Institute at Bradley University. He is a frequent lecturer at the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education and is the co-editor and author of “Defending DUI Related Cases” for the IICLE. In 2004, the Institute named these books the “publication of the year.” He has also authored articles on Illinois municipal law and other criminal law topics. Ernie has been a program speaker at the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and other numerous local and county bar associations.
Ernie’s accomplishments and advocacy have earned him much recognition. In 2013, he was named to the as part of the prestigious “Top Lawyers in Chicago.” In 2005, he was name the Illinois Crime Commission’s Municipal Attorney of the Year. He has also served on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Advisory Commission on the evaluation and performance of Illinois judges. He was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to serve on a special commission to review Judicial Merit Selection. In 2007-2008, he was named to “Who’s Who in American Law.”
Ernie has been President of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, which additionally honored him in 2006 with its Award of Professional Excellence. He also was named to the Western Illinois University Alumni Hall of Fame, having earlier received the honor for the Alumni Achievement Award. Additionally, he has been named to the “Leading Illinois Attorneys” since 1995.
You can email Ernie at