It's been my experience that Illinois trial judges pay more attention to appellate cases arising from the district in which they sit. So at a hearing in St. Clair County this week, I tried to minimize the effect of a case my opponent handed to the judge by pointing out, among other things, that it arose out of the First District, not the Fifth District.
"I'm not sure that's a correct recitation of precedent in Illinois," the judge responded. "Illinois has only one appellate court."
He was right, of course. Here's a summary of the rule from a Supreme Court case:
Illinois has but one appellate court. Although the state is divided into five judicial districts, those districts have nothing whatever to do with the court's authority. Their sole purpose is to define the political units from which judges of the supreme and appellate courts are selected.
Because there is only one appellate court, a decision by any division of that court is binding precedent on all circuit courts throughout the state, regardless of locale.
Aleckson v. Village of Round Lake Park, 176 Ill. 2d 82, 679 N.E.2d 1224 (1997) (citations omitted).
UPDATE: Negative Treatment Indicated. In a comment, lawyer Benjamin Barr advises me that this post incorrectly states the law. If you read this post, please read his comment. Although I wasn't writing specifically about conflicts among districts (and in the case on which I was appearing, I didn't have a Fifth District case to present), Mr. Barr's point is well taken, and he's right that the portion of the case I quoted does not express the Supreme Court's view.