FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement by Chief Judge Donald P. O'Connell, June 28, 2001
Released On 06/28/2001
The Honorable Donald P. O'Connell, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, today released this statement:
Effective at the close of business on July 31, 2001, I will resign as a circuit court judge. After 22 ½ years as a circuit judge, having served as a Law Division trial judge, Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District, Presiding Judge of the Law Division and for the last 6 ½ years as Chief Judge -- continuing to regularly hear Law Division motions and to conduct Law Division mediations in each of those assignments -- I have determined the time is right to explore new directions and seek fresh challenges.
While I am gratified by the many opportunities available to me, none has yet been finalized. Wherever I go, however, I take with me wonderful friendships -- the judges with whom I have worked, many lawyers I have come to know and many government officials and others with whom I have worked on projects to improve our courts.
I leave with an enormous satisfaction that comes from knowing that with the support and dedication of the judges, state and local officials, bar association leaders and many others, together we have re-energized and restructured the Circuit Court of Cook County into a more progressive and responsive unified court.
I expect to be away part of the month of July. Judge Henry A. Budzinski, Presiding Judge, Probate Division, by Special Order Number 95-17 which I entered January 6, 1995, serves as Acting Chief Judge whenever the Chief Judge is unavailable. Judge Budzinski, in his capacity as Acting Chief Judge will ably administer the court in my absence. Judge Budzinski, along with the Circuit Court's Executive Committee, also will discuss an appropriate schedule for the circuit judges to elect a new chief judge.
I have been honored to serve as a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and as Chief Judge.