PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief Judge Evans appoints new presiding judge of County Division and new supervising judge of Traffic Section

Released On 09/22/2005

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced he has appointed Judge Patrick E. McGann as Presiding Judge of the County Division and Judge Walter Williams as Supervising Judge of the Traffic Section of the First Municipal District. Judge McGann replaces Judge Michael J. Murphy who recently received an assignment to the First District Appellate Court of Illinois from the Illinois Supreme Court. Judge Williams replaces former Judge Robert P. Bastone who recently retired.

The appointment of Judge McGann as Presiding Judge of the County Division and the appointment of Judge Williams as Supervising Judge of the First Municipal District’s Traffic Section are effective Monday, October 3, 2005.

Chief Judge Evans said the backgrounds and the abilities of each judge were particularly suited to assuming administrative responsibilities in addition to their regular judicial duties. "Both Judge McGann and Judge Williams bring extensive management experience, impeccable integrity, and a commitment to excellence to their new assignments," said Chief Judge Evans.

Judge McGann was selected as an associate judge in 1988 and assigned to the First Municipal District in the Traffic Section, with an additional assignment to the Criminal Division. Within a year of becoming an associate judge, he was appointed Assistant Supervising Judge of the Traffic Section. In 1992 he was elected as a circuit judge and continued in his dual First Municipal District/Criminal Division assignment until 1993 when he was reassigned to the Law Division. He served in the Motion Section of that division until his appointment as Supervising Judge of the Traffic Section in January 1996. In July 2001, he was reassigned to the Chancery Division, where he recently presided over Calendar 6, hearing mortgage and lien foreclosure cases, class actions, declaratory judgements, review of administrative decisions by local and state governments, partition suits, actions under the Business Corporations Act and other equitable matters.

As Supervising Judge of the Traffic Section from 1996 to 2001, Judge McGann was responsible for the day-to-day management of a 19-courtroom facility where more than 700,000 matters were litigated on an annual basis. His tenure saw the implementation of "user friendly" initiatives that helped to bring the Traffic Section into the 21st century, including the online Traffic Safety School.

Prior to becoming a judge, Judge McGann was engaged in the private practice of law for ten years, from 1978 to 1988. He also served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for six years, from 1972 to 1978, prior to entering private practice. Judge McGann received his J.D. from De Paul University College of Law in 1972 and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, in 1969.

Judge Walter Williams was appointed as an associate judge in June 1986 and initially served in the First Municipal District in Branch 49 hearing misdemeanor/ordinance matters. In November 1986, he was reassigned to the Juvenile Division where he heard abuse and neglect and delinquency matters. During the period from January 1994 to the present, he has served as the Supervising Judge of the Felony Preliminary Hearing Section of the First Municipal District. In that capacity, Judge Williams was integral in overseeing the seven (7) courtrooms located throughout Chicago that hear all felony charges originating in the city of Chicago.

Judge Williams became a circuit judge by interim appointment of the Supreme Court of Illinois effective September 9, 2005, until December 4, 2006. He is a past president of the Cook County Bar Association and the Illinois Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, as well as past chairperson of the Illinois Judicial Council. He also is a past board member of the Illinois Judges Association.

Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Williams was a criminal defense attorney from 1970 to 1986, and during that same time, he also was an assistant professor in the Behavioral Sciences Department of Malcolm X Community College, Chicago, Illinois. Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Judge Williams received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in 1970. He also did undergraduate work at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

Chief Judge Evans also announced that Criminal Division Judge Marjorie C. Laws, in addition to handling her trial court assignment, will become a Supervising Judge in that division. She will become one of five Supervising Judges who assist in the administration of the Criminal Division. Evans also announced the reassignment of Judge William J. Kunkle from the Traffic Section of the First Municipal District to Branch 44, of the Felony Preliminary Hearing Section of the First Municipal District. Both the elevation of Judge Laws to Supervising Judge and Judge Kunkle’s reassignment are effective October 3, 2005.

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