Chief Judge Evans appoints Presiding Judges for Fifth and Sixth Municipal Districts
Released on 5/9/2012 6:06:07 PM

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced he has appointed Circuit Judge Marjorie C. Laws, a Criminal Division supervising judge and a past chairperson of the Illinois Judicial Council, as Presiding Judge of the Sixth Municipal District. She succeeds Sixth Municipal District Presiding Judge Ronald C. Riley who retires January 31, 2009.

Chief Judge Evans also announced he has appointed Circuit Judge David P. Sterba Presiding Judge of the Fifth Municipal District. Sterba has been serving as the Fifth District’s Acting Presiding Judge since April 22, 2008, following the death of that district’s Presiding Judge, Thomas F. Carmody, Jr.

“Judge Laws will be an effective leader for the court’s Sixth Municipal District. She has demonstrated extraordinary administrative skills both in supervising the narcotics courtrooms at 26th and California and chairing one of the state’s major judicial organizations, all while continuing to preside over significant matters,” said Chief Judge Evans. He also praised the excellent work of Judge Sterba in overseeing the court’s southwest suburban Fifth Municipal District and its court facility in Bridgeview.

The appointments of Laws and Sterba are effective February 2, 2009.

A 12-year veteran of the bench, Judge Laws was first elected a circuit judge in November 1996. She was initially assigned to the First Municipal District where she presided over felony preliminary hearings and later, domestic violence cases. In December 1998, she was assigned to the Juvenile Justice Division, hearing juvenile delinquency and criminal matters. In January 2000, she was assigned to the Criminal Division’s Felony Trial Division at 26th and California. In October 2005, she was additionally assigned as a supervising judge of the Criminal Division by Chief Judge Evans. She is one of five supervising judges who assist in the administration of the Criminal Division, one of the court’s largest divisions.

In addition to her judicial duties, Judge Laws served as chairperson of the Illinois Judicial Council, an organization of predominantly, but not exclusively, African American judges in the State of Illinois, from 2006 to 2007. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Illinois appointed Judge Laws to the Illinois Committee on Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases. In 2008, she served as faculty for the Judicial Education Conference sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

Prior to her election to the bench, Judge Laws was an assistant state’s attorney in the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney from 1982 to 1996. She prosecuted misdemeanors and major felony cases, as well as causes involving child support enforcement, paternity adjudication and consumer fraud. From 1986 to 1988, she served as Deputy Director of that office’s Child Support Enforcement Unit. Before joining the state’s attorney’s office, from 1977 to 1982, Judge Laws was a title examiner with Chicago Title and Trust as well as a partner in Cunningham and Cunningham and Associates in Chicago.

A native of Welch, West Virginia, Judge Laws received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1977 and her B.A. from West Virginia State College in 1974.

The Sixth Municipal District is the court’s geographical district which comprises the communities of southern Cook County. Its courthouse is located in south suburban Markham.