Nominating Committee announces names of 18 associate judge candidates

Released On 08/13/2008

The ten-member Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County announced today the names of the 18 candidates who will appear on the ballot from which the circuit judges will select the 9 new associate judges. The Nominating Committee is made up of the following circuit judges:

Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge
Honorable Paul P. Biebel, Jr., Presiding Judge of Criminal Division
Honorable Henry A. Budzinski, Presiding Judge of Probate Division
Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge of Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section
Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge of Domestic Relations Division
Honorable Patricia M. Martin, Presiding Judge of Child Protection Division
Honorable Edmund Ponce de León, Presiding Judge of Fourth Municipal District
Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge of Second Municipal District
Honorable Joseph J. Urso, Presiding Judge of Third Municipal District
Honorable E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge of First Municipal District

The Nominating Committee interviewed 265 applicants over a four-week period. A total of 287 persons submitted applications for consideration; however, 22 applicants withdrew, one applicant died and one applicant withdrew after being interviewed by the Nominating Committee.

The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, comprising 10 bar associations, conducted separate screenings for this associate judge process. Each bar association issued its own ratings for individual associate judge applicants. The Committee appreciated the time and the effort of each bar association in providing the evaluations which assisted in the selection process.

Current Alliance members are 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 Illinois State Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association.

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, 18 qualified candidates have been selected. 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 comprised of the names of each candidate to each circuit judge. The judges then vote for one candidate for each vacancy to be filled. In this case, 9 vacancies are 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.

Chief Judge Evans noted that the selection of the 18 candidates by the Nominating Committee was unanimous. “I thank my colleagues on the Committee for the important work they performed for the court’s associate judge selection process,” Evans said. “The selected candidates reflect the Committee’s consideration of legal excellence and variety of legal experience as well as diversity of race, ethnicity and gender. The selection of these candidates ensures the court’s continued commitment that litigants coming before the bench can be confident of being treated fairly and justly.

“The Committee also strove to ensure fairness in the selection process itself, not limiting consideration to any single variable, but conducting a comprehensive overview of all aspects of a candidate, including bar ratings and career achievements and the potential of these attorneys to do justice once they ascend the bench,” said Chief Judge Evans.

Below is the list of the 18 candidates chosen by the Circuit Court of Cook County Nominating Committee that was forwarded to Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Esq., Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts:

Patrice Munzel Ball-Reed
Edward J. Barron
Laura Bertucci Smith
Yolaine Marie Dauphin
John Leonard Huff
William Richard Jackson
Margarita Teresele Kulys Hoffman
Pamela Mariam Leeming
Ellen Beth Mandeltort
Diann Karen Marsalek
Adrienne Denise Mebane
Thomas R. Mulroy
Bernard Joseph Murray
Michael Richard Panter
James Edward Snyder
Michael Alan Strom
Gregory Paul Vazquez
Lauretta Higgins Wolfson

During the next few weeks the candidates will be presenting their credentials to the circuit judges. The Nominating Committee, in an effort to assist the process, has established three receptions as follows:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Richard J. Daley Center
Jury Assembly Room, 17th floor
50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, August 21, 2008, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cook County Juvenile Court Center
The Atrium, 2nd floor
1100 South Hamilton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Criminal Court Administration Building
Jury Assembly Room
2650 South California Avenue, Chicago, Illinois




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