Chief Judge Evans appoints Judge Ponce de Leon Presiding Judge of Fourth Municipal District

Released On 03/05/2002

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced the appointment of Circuit Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon as Presiding Judge of the west suburban Fourth Municipal District effective immediately. Judge Ponce de Leon succeeds Judge Themis N. Karnezis who was assigned to the Appellate Court. Judge Ponce de Leon is the first Hispanic American appointed a presiding judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

"Judge Ponce de Leon possesses all the appropriate qualities necessary to make him an outstanding presiding judge, including fairness, compassion, a superb work ethic, and broad judicial experience," said Chief Judge Evans. "I have full confidence that he will be an effective and productive member of my judicial management team."

Judge Ponce de Leon was elected to the bench in 1996 and was immediately assigned to the Domestic Relations Division where he served as a trial judge. Later he was assigned an Independent Calendar in that division, hearing pre-trial, trial and post-divorce matters. In January 2001 he was transferred to the Law Division where he was assigned to the Commercial Section presiding over an Independent Commercial Calendar hearing pre-trial, trial and post-trial matters.

Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Ponce de Leon practiced bankruptcy and commercial law from 1984 through 1996 with several law firms as follows: Ponce de Leon & Salgado, as a solo practitioner, and Rodriguez & Villalobos. His experience entailed litigation in contract law, consumer fraud, franchise law, consumer bankruptcy, taxation and administrative matters, including labor and employment disputes. Also, he was general counsel to a U.S. Trustee in the Federal Bankruptcy Court, and was licensed as a trial attorney before the Federal Trial Bar in the Northern District of Illinois. In his early legal career, Judge Ponce de Leon handled family law, real estate transactions, personal injury and workers' compensation.

While in the Domestic Relations Division, Judge Ponce de Leon co-chaired the Child Representative Program and served as a member of the lecture panels on Child Custody and Psychological Testing in Child Custody Cases.

Judge Ponce de Leon is a member of various Cook County Circuit Court committees, including the Adult Probation Oversight Committee and the Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Sexual Orientation Awareness. In 2000, he was selected to serve as an official mentor for new judges by the Mentoring Committee of the Chief Judge's Office.

Judge Ponce de Leon received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in 1984, receiving the Bureau of National Affairs Award for highest third year grades, and the American Jurisprudence Award from Northern Illinois University College of Law. He received his B.A. in political science from Northeastern University in 1979. Fluent in Spanish, he is active in various community projects, including the ASPIRA Mentoring program for teens and young adults, and the Motivational Youth Program at Roberto Clemente High School.

Judge Ponce de Leon said, "I appreciate the trust that Chief Judge Evans has shown in me. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and the staff in the Fourth Municipal District as well as with the residents of its diverse community."

Subject to the general administrative authority of the Chief Judge, presiding judges are responsible for the day to day administration of their respective division or district of the court. The Fourth Municipal District, one of the court's six geographical districts, covers Cook County's western suburbs.




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