The Bar News

Memorial Service honors late Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald - video available

The Illinois Supreme Court hosted a memorial service in honor of the late Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald. Chief Justice Rita B. Garman gave the opening and closing remarks. Tributes were given by Supreme Court Justices Robert R. Thomas and Mary Jane Theis; Umberto Davi, president of the Illinois State Bar Association; and Nicholas J. Motherway, a Chicago attorney and close friend of the late justice.

Video of the event is available at

Justice Fitzgerald was born in 1941 in Chicago and raised on the city's South Side. He graduated from Leo Catholic High School and attended Loyola University Chicago before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. Following his tour of duty, Justice Fitzgerald graduated with honors from The John Marshall Law School in 1968.

Justice Fitzgerald began his career in 1968 as a prosecutor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He was elected a circuit court judge in 1976, becoming the youngest elected circuit judge in Cook County. He served as Supervising Judge of Traffic Court following the Operation Greylord scandal and Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division.

In 2000, Justice Fitzgerald was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court for the First Judicial District. In 2008, he was unanimously chosen by his colleagues to be Chief Justice, a position he served in until his October 6, 2010, retirement. During his tenure as Chief, Justice Fitzgerald presided over the impeachment trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, spearheaded several initiatives to enhance the judiciary, and was a tireless advocate for the use and funding of probation.

Justice Fitzgerald received numerous awards over the course of his 34-year judicial career, including the prestigious John Paul Stevens Award. In 2010, he was named the Chicago Lawyer's Person of the Year. On May 12, 2012, the Chicago White Sox honored him with the Justice Thomas Fitzgerald Appreciation Day.
More information about Justice Fitzgerald can be found in the Supreme Court's news release about his November 1, 2015, passing:

Posted on May 9, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

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