Six Associate Judge Finalists Announced

Announcement, Press Release |

Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and the court’s Nominating Committee today announced the names of the six candidates who will be on the ballot for circuit judges to vote to fill three associate judge vacancies.

“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. “I am grateful for the hard work of the Nominating Committee in putting together this list of capable and talented candidates. The candidates received positive ratings from all bar associations.

The Circuit Court of Cook County is operating with a shortage of judges. To address that shortage, the Nominating Committee met as soon as it received the results of the Bar Associations evaluations of applicants for the pending three vacancies in the Office of Associate Judge.

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

  • Honorable Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge
  • Honorable Erica L. Reddick, Presiding Judge, Criminal Division
  • Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Administrative Presiding Judge, Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section and Interim Acting Presiding Judge, Chancery Division
  • Honorable Sanjay T. Tailor, Justice, Illinois 1st District Appellate Court
  • 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 65 applicants. A total of 81 attorneys originally submitted applications for consideration, and 17 applicants withdrew from the process, one after being interviewed.

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

  • David Charles Adams
  • Kenya Alicia Jenkins-Wright
  • Gina Angela Piemonte
  • Antara Nath Rivera
  • Federico Martin Rodriguez
  • Torrick Alan Ward

The 247 circuit judges have the constitutional authority to fill associate judge vacancies, using the procedures outlined in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39. Under Rule 39, the Nominating Committee must select twice as many qualified candidates as there are vacancies to be filled; in this case, six candidates were selected for three 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 all candidates to each circuit judge. The judges may vote for as many candidates as there are vacancies to be filled and 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 for associate judge applicants were conducted 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 the Illinois State Bar Association and the following 12 minority and ethnic bar organizations: Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association, Puerto Rican Bar Association, and Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. The Alliance was recently expanded to include the Black Men Lawyers’ Association.

Each bar association issues its own ratings for all individual associate judge applicants. Chief Judge Evans thanked The Chicago Bar Association and the Alliance for their work in evaluating the associate judge applicants.

During the next few weeks, the candidates will present circuit judges with their credentials, including a short video, resume, and one-page biography. Presiding Judges will set up video or in-person meetings to enable circuit judges to meet with all the candidates.

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