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Released on 11/05/2019

The Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced its selection of the 30 candidates who will seek appointment to15 Associate Judge vacancies by a vote of the Circuit Judges. All of the candidates received across-the-board positive ratings from the bar associations.

“I am pleased to submit the names of these candidates for consideration to join the bench of the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said. “With their bar association evaluations, legal experience and diverse backgrounds, these candidates represent excellence. Any one of them is ready to serve the public as a member of the judiciary.”

“The interview process presented a wealth of talented applicants, and we thank them all. The challenge the Nominating Committee faces every time is that there are more excellent applicants than the number of candidates we can nominate,” Chief Judge Evans said. 

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. Attached with this press release are the evaluations of the 30 candidates. Chief Judge Evans thanks The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance for the considerable time and resources that were expended to produce the ratings. 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 – 17thFloor

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, 3rdFloor

Chicago, Illinois 60608

 
Thursday, November 14, 2019, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Cook County Juvenile Center

The Atrium, 2ndFloor

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.  

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