Nominating Committee announces candidates for 13 associate judgeships

Released On 03/18/2016

The Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced its selection of the 26 candidates who will seek appointment to 13 associate judge vacancies by vote of the circuit judges.

“The Nominating Committee worked diligently to ensure that any one of these 26 individuals will be an asset to the bench if ultimately elected by the circuit judges,” Chief Judge Evans said, adding that the process also examined applicants’ bar ratings, career achievements, and whether they could be fair and impartial adjudicators.

“Given that all of the candidates received positive ratings from the bar associations, I am confident that our new associate judges will be ready to hit the ground running in the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Chief Judge Evans said.

The Nominating Committee is made up of the following circuit judges:

  • Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge
  • Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Presiding Judge, Probate Division
  • Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section
  • Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
  • Honorable Raymond L. Jagielski, Presiding Judge, Fifth Municipal District
  • Honorable Marjorie C. Laws, Presiding Judge, Sixth Municipal District
  • Honorable William O. Maki, Presiding Judge, Third Municipal District
  • Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District
  • Honorable E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District

A total of 283 licensed attorneys originally submitted applications for consideration, and 30 applicants withdrew from the process. The Nominating Committee interviewed 255 applicants, and the selection of the 26 candidates was unanimous. Two applicants withdrew after the interview process, leaving the committee to select from a list of 253 applicants.

Below is the list of the 26 candidates that was forwarded to Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts:

  • Maryam Ahmad
  • Julie Bess Aimen
  • Sophia Jane Atcherson
  • Jeffrey S. Blumenthal
  • George Louis Canellis Jr.
  • Vincenzo Chimera
  • Joel Louis Chupack
  • Jean Margaret Cocozza
  • Thomas Maloney Cushing
  • Geraldine Ann D’Souza
  • Tiffany Mary Ferguson
  • Mark Vincent Ferrante
  • Mohammed Mujahid Ghouse
  • Sanju Oommen Green
  • Patrick Joseph Heneghan
  • Robert Wade Johnson
  • Marc William Martin
  • Mary Catherine Marubio
  • Lisette Catherine Mojica
  • David Ricardo Navarro
  • Marian Emily Perkins
  • Gregory Gerard Plesha
  • Edward Nicholas Robles
  • Anthony E. Simpkins
  • Marita Clare Sullivan
  • Jeanne Marie Wrenn

Evans said the committee employed a comprehensive approach in the selection process that considered multiple aspects such as legal excellence, a variety of legal experience in the public and private sectors, and diversity of race, ethnicity, and gender.

Circuit judges have the constitutional authority to fill associate judge vacancies and are required to follow the procedures outlined in Rule 39 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Illinois. 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, 26 candidates were selected to fill 13 vacancies.

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 with the names of each candidate to each circuit judge. The judges vote for one candidate for each vacancy 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.

Bar evaluations were issued for all of the associate judge applicants by The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, at the request of Chief Judge Evans.  The Alliance is made up of 11 minority and ethnic bar organizations 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 Hispanic Lawyers 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 of Illinois.

Each bar association issued its own ratings for individual associate judge applicants. Attached with this press release are the evaluations of the 26 candidates.  Chief Judge Evans thanked The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance for the considerable time and resources that were expended to produce the ratings.

“The Nominating Committee appreciated the time and effort that the bar associations contributed to this important process,” Chief Judge Evans said.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Richard J. Daley Center

Jury Assembly Room, 17th floor

50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Cook County Juvenile Center

The Atrium, 2nd floor

1100 South Hamilton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, March 24, 2016, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Criminal Court Administration Building

Jury Assembly Room, 3rd floor

2650 South California Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

To further minimize disruption of court proceedings, set times also have been established in additional courthouses for judges to meet the candidates.  



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