The Bar News

Nominating Committee Announces Cook County Associate Judge Finalists

The Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced its selection of the 30 candidates who will seek appointment to 15 associate judge vacancies by a vote of the circuit judges. All of the candidates received across-the-board positive ratings from the bar associations.

The nominating committee employed a comprehensive approach in the nomination process that considered multiple aspects such as a variety of legal experience in the public and private sectors, and diversity of race, ethnicity and gender.

The Nominating Committee is made up of the following judges:

  • Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge
  • Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Justice, Illinois Appellate Court
  • Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division
  • Honorable James P. Flannery Jr., Presiding Judge, Law Division
  • Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section
  • Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
  • Honorable Raymond L. Jagielski, Presiding Judge, Fifth Municipal District
  • Honorable LeRoy K. Martin Jr., Presiding Judge, Criminal Division
  • Honorable Sharon M. Sullivan, Presiding Judge, County Division
  • Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District
  • Honorable E. Kenneth Wright Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District

A total of 212 licensed attorneys originally submitted applications for consideration, and 18 applicants withdrew from the process before interviews. The nominating committee interviewed 194 applicants. However, one applicant withdrew after being interviewed, leaving 193 applicants. The selection of the 30 candidates was unanimous.

Below is the list of the 30 candidates that was forwarded to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts:

  • ALONSO, Amee Elizabeth
  • AMMENDOLA, Marina E.
  • ANDREOU, Frank John
  • AYALA-GONZALEZ, Laura
  • BATES, Fredrick Hayze
  • BHANDARI, Aileen
  • BROOKS, Lloyd James
  • COLEMAN, Jennifer Frances
  • FAIRMAN, John Abbrey
  • FORTI, Michael Angelo
  • FOTOPOULOS, John S.
  • GUDINO, Ruth Isabel
  • HOGAN, Michael James, Jr.
  • MALONEY, Edward James
  • MAYS, Celestia Laurene
  • O’DELL, Katherine Angela
  • PATTERSON, Monique Lenee’
  • PAYNE, Jennifer Joyce
  • PEZANOSKI, Diane Marie
  • PLOTNICK, Paul William
  • RAKOWSKI, Leo Steven
  • ROSENBERG, Geri Pinzur
  • ROSS, Curtis Bennett
  • SAUCEDA, Eric Michael
  • SHALABI, Rouhy J.
  • SIMON, John Anthony
  • SMITH, Levander, Jr.
  • SMITH, Theresa Marie
  • TIERNAN, Daniel Owen
  • WALTON, Tyria Beatrice

The 252 circuit judges have the constitutional authority to fill associate judge vacancies and are required to follow the procedures outlined in Rule 39 of the Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. Under Supreme Court Rule 39, the nominating committee must select twice as many qualified candidates as there are vacancies to be filled; in this case, 30 candidates were selected to fill 15 vacancies.

The chief judge must then notify the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts of the names of the candidates selected by the committee and request the director to begin the balloting process. Within 14 days after the chief judge’s notification, the director mails a secret ballot with the names of each candidate to each circuit judge. The judges vote for one candidate for each vacancy to be filled. The judges must return the ballots to the director within 14 days of the date the ballots were distributed. The director then counts the ballots which are accompanied by a signed card, tabulates the results and certifies them to the chief judge – at all times maintaining the secrecy of the ballots.

Bar evaluations were issued for all of the associate judge applicants by The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, at the request of Chief Judge Evans. The Alliance is made up of 12 minority and ethnic bar organizations as follows: the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Cook County Bar Association, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois.

Each bar association issued its own ratings for individual associate judge applicants. During the next few weeks, the candidates will present their credentials to the circuit judges. The nominating committee, in an effort to assist the process, has established receptions in Chicago for circuit judges to meet the candidates. The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Richard J. Daley Center
Jury Assembly Room – 17th Floor
50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Leighton Criminal Courthouse
Jury Assembly Room
2650 South California Avenue, 3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60608

Thursday, November 14, 2019, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cook County Juvenile Center
The Atrium, 2nd Floor
1100 South Hamilton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60612

To further minimize disruption of court proceedings, set times also have been established in additional courthouses for judges to meet the candidates.  

Posted on November 5, 2019 by Rhys Saunders

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