Judges elevated to Presiding Judge of Circuit Court of Cook County

Cook County acting presiding judges were elevated on Wednesday to the position of presiding judge in their respective divisions, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced. 

The presiding judges, promoted by Judge Evans, are the Hon. Donna L. Cooper of the Juvenile Division, the Hon. Sophia H. Hall of the Chancery Division, the Hon. Mary C. Marubio of the Pretrial Division, the Hon. Judith C. Rice of the Domestic Violence Division and the Hon. Regina Scannicchio of the Domestic Relations Division. 

“Each of these experienced and highly-regarded judges has done an excellent job during their time as acting presiding judges of their respective divisions, and I’m sure they’ll continue to be great leaders as presiding judges,” said Judge Evans. “I welcome them to the full-fledged commitment of providing access to justice, here in Cook County, to all who come before our courts.” 

Judge Donna L. Cooper 

Judge Cooper was named acting presiding judge of the Juvenile Justice Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County on May 3, 2023. A retired colonel with the Illinois Army National Guard, Judge Cooper has been a judge in the Juvenile Justice Division since April of 2009. She has presided over the Juvenile Justice Division of the Sixth Municipal District in Markham since July of 2011, and has also led the Englewood Restorative Justice Community Court since its opening in August 2020. Judge Cooper was first elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County in November 2008. 

Prior to her election, Judge Cooper served as City of Chicago Assistant Corporation Counsel, Assistant General Attorney with the Chicago Park District, Cook County Assistant Public Defender and a staff attorney with the Illinois Industrial Commission. 

Judge Cooper plans a Restorative Justice program for the Juvenile Division for the coming year, which will allow for more community involvement with youth and offer more mentorship and guidance to prevent the need for more court involvement. 

In the coming weeks, the Juvenile Justice Division will introduce a new calendar to specifically address the needs of wards of the Department of Children and Family Services. The Hon. Tiesha L. Smith will preside. 

The Division has implanted in this past year the “Redeploy Illinois” program to address the needs of high-risk youth and lower the commitment rate to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. 

“I want to thank Judge Evans for his confidence in me and allowing me the continued opportunity to serve the young people of Cook County,” Judge Cooper said. 

Judge Sophia H. Hall 

Judge Hall was appointed interim acting presiding judge of the Chancery Division on Jan. 31, 2022. She has been serving in the Chancery Division for about half of her more than 40 years on the bench, and has been serving as administrative presiding judge of the Resource Section of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department since 1995. 

Judge Hall was first elected judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1980, serving in the Criminal Division and the Chancery Division before becoming presiding judge of the Juvenile Division in 1992. She was the first female presiding judge of any division or district in the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

Hall has focused on streamlining procedures to allow the public full access to the courts through the use of technology. These efforts include ensuring that all the judges and staff have the necessary technology to conduct both remote and hybrid proceedings. Judge Hall has also worked with other court partners, such as the Clerk of the Court, to ensure court operations are coordinated. She has clarified the procedures that enable persons to present information to the Court for its determination of their entitlement to receive surplus funds from the sale of foreclosed properties. 

“I am so grateful for this opportunity which Chief Judge Evans has given me, and the trust he has placed in me,” Judge Hall said. “Together, and with the dedication of the excellent judges in this division, we will continue, to the best of our ability, to serve the litigants and lawyers who seek justice in the Circuit Court of Cook County.” 

Judge Mary C. Marubio 

The Hon. Mary C. Marubio was named acting presiding judge of the Pretrial Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County on Jan. 27, 2023, with the assigned task of working with Chief Judge’s Office and the other Presiding Judges to help facilitate the smooth implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act, which took effect in September of 2023. Judge Marubio has been a judge in the Pretrial Division since its creation in 2017, and has been a supervising judge since November 2021. Appointed an associate judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2016, she was initially assigned to the First Municipal District and then the Domestic Relations Division. She was elected a circuit judge in 2020. 

“I’m grateful to Judge Evans for this opportunity,” Judge Marubio said. “With the chief’s support, we’ve had a successful roll-out of the PFA. I’m excited to continue the mission of the Pretrial Division in ensuring fair and safe pretrial practices.” 

Judge Judith C. Rice 

Judge Rice was named acting presiding judge of the Domestic Violence Division on Dec. 23, 2021. Before Judge Rice came to the bench in 2014, she served in executive positions at BMO Harris Bank, most recently as senior vice president and head of community affairs and economic development. She also has served as a prosecutor with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago. She was elected Chicago City Treasurer after serving as the first female commissioner of two key city agencies -- the Department of Water from 1996 until 1999 and the Department of Transportation from 1999-2000. 

During Judge Rice’s term as acting presiding judge, she has overseen the implementation of after-hours court for persons seeking civil emergency orders of protection, for an ongoing pilot program. 

Under Judge Rice’s leadership, the Domestic Violence Division continues to enhance its model of hybrid court access. Survivors can access the court either in person or through an entirely remote filing and hearing process. 

Those coming to the Domestic Violence Courthouse in person are now met with Litigant Services Associates, an entirely new position. These associates fill in the gaps for survivors who do not have the assistance of an attorney or advocate. They make sure everyone knows what paperwork to fill out, how to fill it out and how to navigate the often-daunting court process. 

“I’m deeply honored that Chief Judge Evans has chosen me for this role,” Judge Rice said. “I have the privilege of working with a team of specialized and dedicated, trauma-informed judges in the Domestic Violence Division. Our ongoing goal is to expand access to the justice system and provide increasingly needed, quality services to those experiencing domestic violence.” 

Judge Regina Scannicchio 

Judge Scannicchio was named acting presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County on Sept. 23, 2022. Judge Scannicchio was first appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2011, after 23 years as a private domestic relations attorney. She was elected in 2012 and retained in 2018. She was assigned to the Domestic Relations Division in 2012. 

During Judge Scannicchio’s time as acting presiding judge, she has focused on continuing education due to the complex, multidisciplinary legal proceedings routinely heard in the Division, implementing a monthly educational series for judges, quarterly seminars for court coordinators, and creating a resource repository for judges, hearing officers and law clerks. She has also overseen the reorganization and revitalization of the Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representative program and expanded the Division’s externship program. 

In addition, Judge Scannicchio has worked with Judge Rice to implement a procedure that increases access to justice for litigants filing Emergency Orders of Protection at the Domestic Violence Courthouse by allowing them to appear remotely before their regularly-assigned Domestic Relations judge. 

“I am grateful to Chief Judge Evans for his faith in me, and I am humbled by the privilege to continue working alongside the dedicated judges and staff in Domestic Relations Division in our steadfast commitment to the families and children of Cook County as the Presiding Judge,” said Judge Scannicchio. 

All appointments are effective immediately.

Media Contact: ocj.press@cookcountyil.gov 
(312) 603-5414

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