For the Public

Retired New York Judge, an Advocate for Juvenile Justice Reform, To Speak at Illinois State Bar Association Midyear Meeting Dec. 10

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Chris Ruys
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2010

CHICAGO, IL – The Honorable Michael A. Corriero, a retired New York state judge whose court became a model for mobilization and coordination of treatment and social services for children prosecuted in adult courts, will deliver the keynote address at the annual joint Midyear Meeting of the Illinois State Bar Association and Illinois Judges Association on Friday, December 10, at 9 a.m.
 
A focus on reforming the Illinois juvenile justice system is the theme of Mt. Vernon attorney Mark D. Hassakis’ term as ISBA president. 
 
Titled “Judging Children as Children” – the same title as the book he authored in 2006 which is considered a blueprint for juvenile court reform – Justice Corriero’s remarks will focus on his many years on the bench presiding over Manhattan’s Youth Part. During that time, he became convinced that most juvenile offenders need a second chance through rehabilitation. “Judges can play a significant role in that process,” he said.
Having grown up in New York’s Little Italy in a blue collar family, he considers it a miracle that he didn’t get into trouble. “I saw how easily a careless choice could change the course of someone’s life,” he said in a New York Times article last year. “A lot of people would never have imagined that that kid would become a judge instead of appearing before one.”
 
After his retirement from the bench in September 2009, he joined Big Brothers Big Sisters New York City as executive director. He left earlier this year to focus his efforts nationally as an advocate for juvenile justice reform.
 
In his book, Corriero writes: “Trying children in systems created for adults is flawed reasoning…America and its children deserve a system of justice that not only holds children accountable for their behavior but also protects and nurtures those who can learn from their mistakes.”
 
Cook County was the first jurisdiction in the country to create a juvenile court, exclusively to deal with youth in trouble. That court has operated since 1899.
 
Following Corriero’s keynote address, he will participate in a discussion on Illinois’ efforts at juvenile justice reform with a panel that includes James Radcliffe, a retired circuit judge from Illinois’ 20th Judicial Circuit; Cook County Circuit Court Judge Curtis Heaston; and Michael Tardy, executive assistant of the administrative office of the Illinois Courts. Retired Circuit Judge George W. Timberlake will moderate the panel.
 
The 33,000-member ISBA, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public. For more information, visit www.isba.org.

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