Associate Judge finalists announced

Released On 08/10/2021

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and the Nominating Committee of the Circuit Court of Cook County today announced the names of the 44 candidates selected to appear on the ballot from which circuit judges will vote to fill 22 associate judge vacancies.

“After much work and careful consideration by the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to submit the names of these candidates for consideration to join the bench of the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Chief Judge Evans said. “Any one of these talented and capable candidates will be an asset to the bench if ultimately elected by the circuit judges.”

All of the candidates received positive ratings from the bar associations.

“My colleagues and I were guided in our deliberations by a comprehensive approach that considered multiple aspects such as legal excellence and variety of legal experience as well as diversity of race, ethnicity and gender,” Judge Evans said. “We also examined the applicants’ bar ratings, career achievements, and whether they could be fair and impartial adjudicators.”  

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

Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge

Honorable Grace G. Dickler, Presiding Judge, Domestic Relations Division

Honorable Erica L. Reddick, Acting Presiding Judge, Criminal Division

Honorable James P. Flannery, Jr., Presiding Judge, Law Division

Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section

Honorable Moshe Jacobius, Presiding Judge, Chancery Division

Honorable Sanjay T. Tailor, Acting Presiding Judge, County Division

Honorable Raul Vega, Presiding Judge, Domestic Violence Division

Honorable Jill C. Marisie, Presiding Judge, Third Municipal District

Honorable Shelley Sutker-Dermer, Presiding Judge, Second Municipal District

Honorable E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, First Municipal District

Chief Judge Evans said the Nominating Committee interviewed 225 applicants over a 10-week period, and the selection of the 44 candidates was unanimous. A total of 246 attorneys originally submitted applications for consideration, and 23 applicants withdrew from the process, including two who withdrew after being interviewed.

Below is the list of the 44 candidates that was forwarded to the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts:


ADAMS, David Charles

AHMAD, Maryam

BHAVE, Sunil Shashikant

BLANCHARD, Patrick Malone

BROOKS, Lloyd James

CENAR, Richard George

CLEWIS, Scott Richard

DAWKINS, Barbara Lynette

DEMATTEO, Gabriel Joseph

DERICO, JR., James Thomas

EBERSOLE, Sabra Lynne

EVANS, Jr., Carl Lauras

FAHY, William Nicholas

FLORES, Barbara Nubia


GLENNON, Caroline Gale

GOLDBERG, Mitchell Benjamin

GONZALEZ, Dawn Marie

HERNANDEZ, Jasmine Villaflor

JANNUSCH, Matthew William

JHA, Lakshmi Elkhanialy

JIMENEZ, Martha-Victoria

LOPEZ, Diana Elena

MALONEY, Edward James

MALONEY LAYTIN, Kerrie Elizabeth



NOVY, James Bryan


PIEMONTE, Gina Angela

PITTS, Dartesia Ayanna

PLANEY, Mary Anna

PORTER, Brian Randall



SAUCEDA, Eric Michael

SMITH CONYERS, Theresa Marie

SMUDA, Joan Ellen



SWANAGAN, Anthony Charles

TURANO, Andreana Ann

TZINBERG, Scott William

WRIGHT, III., Timothy W.

The candidates constitute a diverse group, racially and ethnically, and include 22 men and 22 women. The group includes both government attorneys and attorneys in private practice.

The 249 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 Illinois Supreme Court. 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, 44 candidates were selected to fill 22 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 12 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, the Women’s Bar Association, and the Arab American 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 44 candidates. Chief Judge Evans thanked The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance for their work in evaluating the associate judge applicants, saying, “The bar ratings are helpful throughout the entire process, both to the Nominating Committee during its final deliberations and to the circuit judges when casting their ballots.”

Evans added, “I appreciate the considerable resources that the bar association members and staff devoted to performing this task. It is an invaluable public service.”

During the next few weeks, the candidates will present their credentials to the Circuit Judges. Each candidate will create a short video, and also will submit a resume and one-page biography. Presiding judges will set up Zoom and/or in-person meetings to allow circuit judges to meet with all the candidates.


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