Cook County 2016 Election Guide: The judges up for retention

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Voting

On November 8, Cook County voters will once again be asked to decide on which Circuit Court judges should be retained.

An alliance of 11 bar associations review and rate the judges. Injustice Watch reviewed those evaluations, and compiled the findings. We especially focused on the evaluations of three bar associations: The Chicago Bar Association (CBA), the Chicago Council of Lawyers (CCL) and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). What follows is our breakdown.

Partisan judicial races will also be on the ballot. Here’s a link to our voters guide for the partisan judicial races. Read more about judges who were found not qualified by the CCL, and check out our infographic on how Cook County Circuit Court judges are elected.

Confused about which candidates will be on your ballot? If you’re not sure which subcircuit you live in, city residents can check here and suburban voters can check here. Good luck!

Skip down to a specific jurisdiction: Countywide | First subcircuit | Second subcircuit | Third subcircuit | Fifth subcircuit | Sixth subcircuit | Eighth subcircuit | Ninth subcircuit | Tenth subcircuit | Eleventh subcircuit | Twelfth subcircuit | Thirteenth subcircuit | Fourteenth subcircuit | Fifteenth subcircuit |

Countywide

Kathleen Marie Burke (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Burke, a licensed lawyer since 1989, hears civil actions and post-judgment matters in the Bridgeview courthouse. She was elected to the bench in 2004. She previously defended Cook County in medical malpractice cases as an assistant state’s attorney and has taught law part-time at Loyola University for 16 years.
What the bar associations say: “She is fair to all, courteous and takes her job seriously,” the ISBA wrote. While the CBA noted that Burke is praised for her effective management of a busy courtroom, evaluations by the CCL and the ISBA brought her decision-making speed into question.

John P. Callahan Jr. (D):

Judge since: 2009 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Motion Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Callahan is a former tax consultant, assistant state’s attorney and private practitioner who was sworn in as an attorney in 1988. He presided over the Traffic Division upon his appointment to the bench in 2009. Callahan now handles pretrial motions in the Law Division.
What the bar associations say: Callahan is praised for his ability to handle complex cases, according to the CCL and the ISBA. “He is reported to show respect to all parties before him, and is praised for the patience and understanding he shows pro se litigants,” referring to people who come into court without attorneys, the CCL wrote.

Deborah Mary Dooling (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: After her admission to the Illinois Bar in 1978, Dooling spent 12 years as an assistant state’s attorney and worked in the legal departments of two international corporations. She teaches trial advocacy at the John Marshall Law School and has been retained three times since her 1992 election to the Circuit Court.
What the bar associations say: Presiding over “a variety of complex jury cases,” Dooling is “hardworking and well regarded for her knowledge of the law, judicial experience, and fine temperament,” the CBA wrote.

Laurence J. Dunford (D):

Judge since: 2003 by appointment, elected in 2004
Currently assigned to: Domestic Violence Division, Sixth Municipal District (Markham)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Dunford was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1971 and worked in private practice for more than 30 years before he was appointed to the bench in 2003. After receiving a “not qualified” rating from the CCL in 2010, Dunford told WBEZ that the attorneys who complained about him “were upset because I did not give them what they wanted.”
What the bar associations say: Since Dunford changed judicial assignments, respondents “spoke favorably about his temperament and demeanor” in the CCL’s latest evaluation. He “does a good job of managing his courtroom and dockets,” the ISBA wrote.

Nicholas R. Ford (D):

Judge since: 1997 by appointment, elected in 1998
Currently assigned to: Criminal and Elder Law and Miscellaneous Remedies Divisions
Rated: Not Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Ford was admitted to practice law in 1988 and worked as an assistant state’s attorney until his judicial appointment in 1998. The Illinois Appellate Court has questioned his impartiality in two cases since 2010 and reassigned them to different judges.
What the bar associations say: The ISBA praised Ford for running a “tight, but not unfair, courtroom” and having “excellent legal knowledge.” But the CCL said the two recent Appellate Court reversals raise “serious concerns” about Ford’s impartiality.

Daniel J. Gallagher (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: First Municipal District (Chicago)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Gallagher, a licensed lawyer since 1994, worked in private practice and as an assistant public defender before getting elected to the bench in 2010. He currently presides over misdemeanor cases at the First Municipal District.
What the bar associations say: Despite giving him qualified ratings, all three prominent bar groups noted concerns about Gallagher’s temperament. Attorneys reported that he “has a good heart” and helps mentally ill and homeless defendants, but “he can be volatile in demeanor,” the ISBA wrote. Gallagher has acknowledged this problem and is “taking steps to remedy” it, according to the CCL.

Vincent Michael Gaughan (D):

Judge since: 1991 by appointment, elected in 1992
Currently assigned to: Criminal Division
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Gaughan has presided over a number of high-profile cases since he was appointed to the bench in 1991, including the upcoming trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. He previously spent 18 years as an assistant public defender. Two years before his admission to the Illinois Bar in 1972, Gaughan was charged with aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon, failure to register a weapon, and discharging a firearm after firing a rifle in his home, according to a Chicago Tribune story revisited in the Chicago Reader. He was randomly selected last year to preside over the Van Dyke murder case.
What the bar associations say: The CCL and the ISBA praised Gaughan’s legal ability and adeptness at handling complex cases. Both bar groups, however, said he is reported to have a short temper. Gaughan has received “outstanding reviews” from lawyers for his “knowledge of criminal law, judicial experience, and dedication to public service,” according to the CBA.

William H. Hooks (D):

Judge since: 2008
Currently assigned to: Criminal Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: After his admission to the Illinois Bar in 1981, Hooks handled criminal cases as a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps and Reserves. He later concentrated on civil litigation and criminal defense in private practice. A former president of the Cook County Bar Association, Hooks currently hears felony cases in the Criminal Division. He taught law at DePaul University and the University of Chicago and has served on a number of judicial committees.
What the bar associations say: Hooks is “dedicated to the improvement of the court system,” according to the CCL, which wrote in its evaluation that his “professional conduct and personal integrity are above reproach.” He sometimes has an “overbearing temperament,” according to the ISBA.

Cheryl D. Ingram (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Fourth Municipal District (Maywood), Presiding Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Ingram has held the title of Presiding Judge of the Fourth Municipal District since 2010. She served as an assistant public defender after becoming a licensed lawyer in 1979. Since her election to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1992, she has been retained four times.
What the bar associations say: Ingram is considered to be a skillful and well-prepared judge who is “respectful of all parties before her,” the CCL wrote in its evaluation. The CBA noted her administrative skills and “excellent temperament.”

Susan Kennedy Sullivan (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Elder Law and Miscellaneous Remedies and Probate Divisions
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: A former nurse, Sullivan worked as a sole practitioner concentrating in elder law and mental health law after her admission to the Illinois Bar in 1994. She served as a guardian ad litem—an investigator appointed to protect a child’s best interests in court—more than 300 times before her 2010 election to the bench, according to the ISBA. She has taught elder law at DePaul University since 1998.
What the bar associations say: Sullivan is a “hard worker who makes common sense recommendations,” the ISBA wrote. While the CBA and CCL praised Sullivan’s temperament, the ISBA reported that some attorneys were concerned about occasional temperament issues.

John Patrick Kirby (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Kirby was elected to the bench in 1998 and retained twice afterward. He heard felony cases in the Criminal Division before being assigned to the Law Division Trial Section in 2011. After his admission to the Illinois Bar in 1983, Kirby worked in private practice and as an assistant state’s attorney. He also lectures at the DePaul University College of Law.
What the bar associations say: Kirby has been praised for his preparedness, temperament and “reputation of being fair to all sides,” wrote the CCL. The bar group noted his commitment to alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders and his work developing a cyber high school for juveniles.

Diane Joan Larsen (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Chancery Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Before her election to the bench in 1998, Larsen was Chief of Policy Litigation at the City of Chicago’s Law Department. She was admitted to practice law in 1983 and has taught appellate advocacy at Loyola University for 22 years. Larsen writes and edits the Illinois Judges’ Civil Motion Practice Manual and has been retained twice as a judge.
What the bar associations say: Larsen “runs an efficient call and displays great patience,” the ISBA wrote. She is praised for her legal ability and preparedness, according to the CCL.

Daniel Joseph Lynch (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Not Qualified by the CCL and ISBA; Qualified by the CBA
Background: Lynch was admitted to practice law in 1988. Prior to becoming a judge, he was an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County. Several civil lawsuits over which he has presided have received media attention; in one recent case, the Illinois Supreme Court removed Lynch and reassigned the case to another judge.
What the bar associations say: The CCL, in finding Lynch not qualified, wrote that he had on several occasions “reached beyond his immediate role as a judge in particular matter to engage in legal acts that seem to be outside his normal course of deciding a case before him,” including attempting to prosecute attorneys for fraud or obstruction. The bar group also made mention of a case where Lynch sentenced a litigant to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for contempt of court. The Illinois Supreme Court removed Lynch from that case this year. The ISBA also wrote that there were isolated reports that Lynch has “temperament issues.” The CBA said he is “diligent and well regarded for his knowledge of the law.”

Thomas V. Lyons (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the ISBA and CBA
Background: Lyons served as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County prior to taking his seat on the bench. He currently presides over jury trials in the Law Division.
What the bar associations say: In finding Lyons well qualified for retention, the CCL wrote that “attorneys praise Judge Lyons’ legal ability and his temperament.” The ISBA reported that some attorneys were concerned about his unwillingness to “revisit prior rulings when appropriate,” but went on to describe him as “a hard worker with a good temperament.”

Terry (Terence) MacCarthy (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Domestic Violence Division, Fourth Municipal District (Maywood)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Prior to becoming a judge, MacCarthy was the executive director of the Federal Defender Program in Illinois’ Northern District. He has taught at both the DePaul University College of Law and the University of Chicago’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. He currently presides over domestic misdemeanor and class four felony cases.
What the bar associations say: The CCL wrote that MacCarthy is punctual and hardworking. The ISBA wrote that he is “well-liked and has excellent legal knowledge.”

James Patrick McCarthy (D):

Judge since: 1996 by appointment, elected in 1998
Currently assigned to: Law Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Prior to his appointment to the Cook County Circuit Court in 1996, McCarthy was in private practice and served as an assistant corporation counsel.
What the bar associations say: The CCL wrote, “He is praised for his preparation and decisiveness.” The ISBA reported McCarthy “has a good understanding of the rules of evidence and procedure and is respectful and professional.”

Raymond W. Mitchell (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Individual Commercial Calendar
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Mitchell served as a litigation partner with Winston & Strawn before his appointment to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2008.
What the bar associations say: The CCL wrote that Mitchell has “a reputation of being well prepared and holding lawyers to a high standard,” and the ISBA praised him for his “good judicial demeanor.”

Patrick T. Murphy (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Murphy worked as a public guardian for 25 years before his election in 2004. He also worked as an attorney for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.
What the bar associations say: The CCL acknowledged Murphy’s past temperament issues in its evaluation, but added that he has improved in this regard. The CBA and the ISBA both noted the high regard Murphy received for his knowledge of the law, and the ISBA wrote that he “goes out of his way to accommodate pro se litigants,” referring to people who come into court without attorneys.

Timothy Patrick Murphy (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, ISBA and CBA
Background: Murphy was previously assigned to the First Municipal District (Chicago). Before taking the bench, he worked in private practice dealing in domestic relations, real estate and probate cases.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations highlighted Murphy’s exceptional legal knowledge and overall ability. The CBA called him an impartial judge with “great” temperament.

Sandra G. Ramos (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: First Municipal District (Chicago), Branch 48
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, ISBA and CBA
Background: Ramos practiced criminal defense and worked as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney before her election in 2010. She now presides over felony preliminary hearings. Ramos ran this year in internal court elections for the position of chief judge but lost to the incumbent chief judge, Timothy Evans.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations found that Ramos maintains a reputation of professionalism and excellent court call management. The ISBA noted that she is particularly “sensitive to diversity” in the courtroom.

Kevin Michael Sheehan (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Criminal Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, ISBA and CBA
Background: Sheehan was previously assigned to the First Municipal District (Chicago). Before becoming a judge, he was an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. He now presides over jury and bench trials for felony cases.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations wrote that Sheehan is a fair, knowledgeable judge. The CBA emphasized his “excellent temperament.”

Sharon Marie Sullivan (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: County Division, Presiding Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Sullivan has served as an assistant state’s attorney, worked in private practice, and was a former member of corporation counsel in the Chicago Department of Law. Prior to becoming presiding judge of the County Division in 2015, she was assigned to the Criminal Division in the First, Second and Third Municipal Districts.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations praised Sullivan for her seamless transition into her presiding judge assignment, exceptional courtroom management skills, and commitment to improving the County Division.

Sophia H. Hall (D):

Judge since: 1980
Currently assigned to: Chancery Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Hall is a former private practice lawyer. She has taught and lectured at schools and conferences including the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the DePaul University College of Law and the Illinois Administrative Law Conference. She has served in the First Municipal District (Chicago) as well as the Criminal, Juvenile and Law divisions of the Cook County Circuit Court.
What the bar associations say: Among Hall’s notable judicial qualifications are her extensive legal knowledge, dedication to juvenile issues, and fair handling of litigants who come into court without an attorney, according to the ISBA. The bar group also wrote that she is known to be “firm but gracious and respectful of all.”

Irwin J. Solganick (D):

Judge since: 1986
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Solganick has served in the First Municipal District (Chicago) and the Domestic Relations Division. He is also a former Cook County assistant state’s attorney and private practice lawyer.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations unanimously agreed that Solganick runs an efficient court call. While the CCL and CBA acknowledged his “low key temperament,” the ISBA mentioned Solganick’s “occasional temperament issues” during trials.

Alexander Patrick White (R):

Judge since: 1986
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Tax and Miscellaneous Remedies Section, Supervising Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: A former attorney at the federal defender’s office and counsel to the U.S. Department of Labor, White has also served as special assistant attorney general to the Illinois State Board of Investments. He now serves as the supervising judge in the Law Division’s Tax and Miscellaneous Remedy Section.
What the bar associations say: The CBA said White is “well regarded for his work ethic, judicial experience, and detailed knowledge of the law.” The ISBA noted White’s expertise in eminent domain law and respect of people who come into court.

First Subcircuit

Robert Balanoff (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Child Protection Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Balanoff previously worked in private practice. In his current assignment, he presides over child abuse and neglect claims.
What the bar associations say: Balanoff is praised by the bar associations for his fairness, his handling of difficult cases and involvement in community affairs.

Bonita Coleman (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Not Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Coleman handled family law, probate and criminal defense cases as a private practice lawyer before her election to the bench in 2010.
What the bar associations say: The CCL questioned Coleman’s legal knowledge and said attorneys reported she “favors male parties.” The ISBA raised efficiency concerns; however, both the ISBA and CBA noted Coleman’s patience with people who come into court without an attorney.

Sharon O. Johnson (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Johnson previously worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and the New Jersey Superior Court before going into private practice. She now oversees divorce cases.
What the bar associations say: Johnson received higher ratings this election year than in 2010, with the CCL noting improved reports of her temperament since her newest assignment. The ISBA raised concerns of her courtroom management skills and said she is “always prepared and reads and researches everything.”

LeRoy K. Martin, Jr. (D):

Judge since: 2002
Currently assigned to: Criminal Division, Presiding Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Martin, the son of a former Chicago police chief and the first African American to preside over the Criminal Division, previously served in the Chancery Division and worked in private practice.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations praise Martin for his transition into his current assignment and knowledge of problems in the criminal justice system. The CCL wrote that Martin is “deliberate but decisive” and noted his fairness and kind demeanor.

Thaddeus L. Wilson (D):

Judge since: 2007 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Criminal Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Wilson, who was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2007 and elected in 2010, previously worked in private practice. He had trial experience in criminal and civil matters. He currently presides over a felony trial courtroom and teaches at the John Marshall Law School.
What the bar associations say: The CCL and ISBA both commented on Wilson’s commitment to doing legal research. The ISBA said some concerns have been raised about Wilson’s temperament but other associations praised him for his professionalism.

Second Subcircuit

Bertina E. Lampkin (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Illinois Appellate Court, First District
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Highly Qualified by the ISBA; Qualified by the CBA
Background: Lampkin served as a Cook County associate judge from 1987 to 1992, when she was elected to the Circuit Court. She overheard criminal trials. Lampkin was appointed to the state appellate court in 2009 and is also running for that position on the ballot. Before becoming a judge, Lampkin was an assistant state’s attorney and an attorney with the City of Chicago Department of Law. She has served on several Illinois Supreme Court committees.
What the bar associations say: The CBA called Lampkin’s transition to the appellate court “flawless” and praised her for her “knowledge of the law, work ethic, integrity, compassion, and dedication to the justice system.” The CCL said the judge “demonstrated that she meets – and exceeds the higher standards that the Council uses in evaluating candidates for the Appellate Court.”

John D. Turner, Jr. (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Sixth Municipal District (Markham)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Turner was previously assigned to the First Municipal District. Before becoming a judge, he was an attorney for the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He hears a variety of cases at the Markham courthouse.
What the bar associations say: The bar associations noted Turner’s grasp of the law and improved temperament since his last evaluation in 2010. The ISBA said Turner is considered to be “experienced, diligent, well-prepared, and even-tempered.”

Third Subcircuit

Denise Kathleen Filan (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Before becoming a judge, Filan worked in private practice. She presides over mainly traffic and misdemeanor cases in Bridgeview.
What the bar associations say: Filan is praised for her courtroom management, temperament and knowledge of the law. The CBA said she sees many people who come into court without an attorney and “explains the judicial process” to them.

Edward Harmening (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Appointed in 2008 and elected in 2010, Harmening was previously assigned to the First Municipal District (Chicago) where he set bonds in criminal cases. In the past he worked in private practice and as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, where he was later deputy supervisor. He currently presides over jury trials for civil cases.
What the bar associations say: The CCL praised Harmening for his respect of all parties and “willingness to let lawyers and pro se individuals have their day in court, while maintaining good courtroom management.” The CBA also noted Harmening’s experience in both civil and criminal law.

Daniel Malone (D):

Judge since: 2009 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Probate Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Malone worked in private practice until he was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2009 and elected in 2010. He is assigned to the Probate Division’s Adult Guardian Calendar.
What the bar associations say: The CBA said Malone has “outstanding” judicial temperament. The ISBA said that while he is new to probate court, Malone quickly grasped the law and issues decisions in a timely manner.

Allen F. Murphy (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Sixth Municipal District (Markham)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Murphy was previously assigned to the First Municipal District (Chicago) where he heard misdemeanor cases in traffic and domestic violence courts. Before that, he worked as an assistant public guardian and assistant state’s attorney. He was appointed to the bench in 2008 and elected in 2010.
What the bar associations say: Murphy is praised by defense counsel, the CCL wrote. The ISBA said he “holds prosecutors to their burden” but can sometimes be “critical of litigants causing delay.” The bar associations rate him well for his temperament.

Fifth Subcircuit

Timothy C. Evans (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Rated: Highly Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Evans served as an alderman in the city’s fourth ward for 18 years and later as floor leader for Mayor Harold Washington. During his time as a circuit judge, Evans worked to establish specialty courts such as Mental Health Court, Veterans Court and the Elder Law & Miscellaneous Remedies Division.
What the bar associations say: The CBA praised Evans’s efforts toward “improving access to justice for all Cook County residents.” The ISBA said he is “sharp and energetic with a wide breadth of knowledge.”

Edward “Ed” Washington, II (D):

Judge since: 2002 by appointment, elected in 2004
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Washington worked in private practice, in the U.S. Department of Justice and as chief of the Public Interest Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office before he was appointed to the Cook County Circuit Court.
What the bar associations say: Washington is “well regarded for his knowledge of the law, judicial experience, work ethic, and fine judicial temperament,” according to the CBA.

Sixth Subcircuit

Kathleen Marie Pantle (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Chancery Division
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Pantle was an assistant public defender before being elected to the Cook County Circuit Court in 1998. She also worked as an adjunct law professor at DePaul University.
What the bar associations say: The ISBA described her as “well-prepared, thorough and impartial.”

Eighth Subcircuit

Mary Lane Mikva (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Chancery Division
Rated: Highly Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Before her election to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2004, Mikva served as a law clerk, practicing in the areas of labor and criminal law. She was retained in 2010.
What the bar associations say: The CCL wrote that Mikva is “reported to be scrupulously fair to all lawyers and litigants.”

Arnette Hubbard (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Trial Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Hubbard worked in private practice and as an attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law before her election to the Cook County Circuit Court in 1998. She served as the first woman president of the Cook County Bar Association and the National Bar Association. She was retained in 2004 and 2010.
What the bar associations say: Hubbard is “praised for her even keel temperament, and for showing respect for all parties before her while maintaining control of her courtroom,” according to the CCL.

Ninth Subcircuit

Steven James Bernstein (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Juvenile Justice Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Prior to his election to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2010, Bernstein worked in private practice and served as acting general counsel for the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority.
What the bar associations say: Bernstein is considered a “quick study” who makes “well-supported” and thoughtful rulings, according to the ISBA.

Jeanne R. Cleveland-Bernstein (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA, and ISBA
Background: Cleveland-Bernstein spent her career practicing family law. She was elected in 2004 and retained in 2010.
What the bar associations say: The CCL noted claims that Cleveland-Bernstein could be “intemperate on the bench,” and the ISBA also cited concerns regarding temperament: “especially when she disagrees with a position being argued.” The ISBA also reported that she ruled with “excellent analytical skills,” and considered her to be “very knowledgeable about the law.”

Geary W. Kull (D):

Judge since: 2009 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Fourth Municipal District (Maywood)
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Kull served as a private criminal defense attorney and as an assistant public defender before his appointment to the Cook County Circuit Court in 2009. He was elected in 2010.
What the bar associations say: Kull is a “hard worker who manages a heavy call well,” according to the ISBA.

Tenth Subcircuit

Clare Elizabeth McWilliams (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Law Division, Asbestos Call Supervising Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: McWilliams did both criminal and civil litigation before her election to the Circuit Court in 2004. She was retained in 2010.
What the bar associations say: According to the CBA, McWilliams “has presided over many complex cases and is highly regarded for her integrity, work ethic, excellent demeanor, and knowledge of the law.”

Eleventh Subcircuit

Ann Finley Collins (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Fourth Municipal District (Maywood)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Collins spent 25 years in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, including its Homicide Task Force, before her election in 2010. She presides over a variety of criminal cases in her current assignment.
What the bar associations say: While some prosecutors said Collins favors the defense, the CCL said she is a fair judge who is known for doing the right thing. The ISBA said Collins “holds prosecutors to their burden of proof … researches legal issues and is respectful of defendants.”

Paula Marie Daleo (D):

Judge since: 2003 by appointment, elected in 2004
Currently assigned to: Fourth Municipal District (Maywood)
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Prior to her appointment in 2003 and election in 2004, Daleo was a prosecutor. She was executive assistant state’s attorney and previously chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. As a judge, she has also served in the First Municipal District (Chicago).
What the bar associations say: In finding her well qualified for retention, the CCL said Hanlon applies the law fairly and “supports her rulings with explanations.” The ISBA said Hanlon demands “preparation and efficiency from all her appear before her” due to her heavy caseload.

Twelfth Subcircuit

Kay Marie Hanlon (R):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Law Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Hanlon previously presided over a felony trial courtroom in the Third Municipal District (Rolling Meadows). Before her election, she was a private criminal defense attorney, an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County and a legislative liaison to a state representative and a township trustee. In 2012, she ran as a Democrat for appellate judge in a Democratic district.
What the bar associations say: The CBA noted the “quality of her written opinions” and the ISBA called her “bright,” “fair-minded” and a good researcher.

William Maki (R):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Third Municipal District (Rolling Meadows), Presiding Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: A licensed attorney since 1973, Maki served as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County and was a private attorney in Arlington Heights, Ill. He was also elected Village President in Arlington Heights between 1989 and 1992. He is the presiding judge in the Rolling Meadows courthouse.
What the bar associations say: The CCL reported that Maki “is praised for showing respect to all parties and is reported to have good courtroom management skills,” in addition to to keeping his courthouse well-run.

Thirteenth Subcircuit

Thomas J. Kelley (R):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: Domestic Relations Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Kelley, a lawyer since 1984, was a private attorney until 2004. He hears domestic relations matters.
What the bar associations say: Kelley, the ISBA wrote, “is described as being the consummate professional with an easy-going temperament, and is respected by his peers.”

Fourteenth Subcircuit

Robert W. Bertucci (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: County Division
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Bertucci, an attorney since 1983, worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County and in private practice prior to becoming a judge. He currently hears cases involving public schools, mental health and elections.
What the bar associations say: The ISBA wrote that Bertucci is an “even-keeled problem solver with a solid grasp of the relevant law.”

Raymond L. Jagielski (D):

Judge since: 1992
Currently assigned to: Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview), Presiding Judge
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Jagielski was an assistant public defender in Cook County from 1981 to 1988. He also served as commissioner for the Chicago Board of Elections. Before he began his judgeship, he worked as an attorney in private practice. He is the presiding judge in the Bridgeview courthouse.
What the bar associations say: The CCL wrote that he is “praised for his ability to handle a heavy call, and for being hard-working,” as well as for his fairness.

Daniel James Pierce (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Illinois Appellate Court, First District
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Pierce has served as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County and as chief deputy with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. He was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2008 and elected in 2010. Pierce worked in the Law Division before his assignment to the Appellate Court in 2013.
What the bar associations say: The CBA found that Pierce “is highly regarded for his knowledge of the law, judicial experience, and excellent demeanor.”

Fifteenth Subcircuit

Charles Patrick Burns (D):

Judge since: 1998
Currently assigned to: Criminal Divison, Rehabilitation Alternative Program
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Burns was admitted to practice law in 1981. Before taking the bench, he served as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County. He currently hears cases for the Rehabilitation Alternative Program (RAP).
What the bar associations say: The CCL, in finding Burns well qualified, wrote that he is “praised for his devotion to the lives and rehabilitation of the defendants who come before him,” adding that his dedication led to much of the rehabilitation program’s success. The ISBA wrote that other attorneys had brought up the judge’s “harsh” temperament, but still found him qualified.

John C. Griffin (D):

Judge since: 2008 by appointment, elected in 2010
Currently assigned to: Law Division Commercial Calendar Section, Supervising Judge
Rated: Well Qualified by the CCL; Qualified by the CBA and ISBA
Background: Griffin was a private attorney focusing on commercial cases prior to becoming a judge. He currently presides over the commercial calendar.
What the bar associations say: The CCL reported that attorneys have praised Griffin‘s work in many different assignments, and wrote that the judge is “very good at listening to all the parties.”

Linzey D. Jones (D):

Judge since: 2010
Currently assigned to: Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview)
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Prior to his election to the bench, Jones had a career in private practice. He was also the mayor of Olympia Fields, Ill. until he became a judge in 2010. He currently presides over misdemeanor cases.
What the bar associations say: The ISBA wrote that Jones has “worked hard to become versed in criminal law” and noted his fair-mindedness.

Jim Ryan (D):

Judge since: 2004
Currently assigned to: First Municipal District (Chicago), Civil Jury Section
Rated: Qualified by the CCL, CBA and ISBA
Background: Ryan, who has also served in the Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview), was previously an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County. He was also director of operations for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, where he served as the top aide and legal advisor to then-sheriff Michael Sheehan. Shortly after his judicial election, Ryan refused to answer questions in an investigation of alleged beatings of inmates in the Cook County Jail.
What the bar associations say: Bar associations noted an improvement in Ryan’s temperament, with the CCL reporting that previous issues with his demeanor have been replaced with conscientiousness, preparedness and diligence. The ISBA wrote that he manages a large call efficiently and helps to settle many cases.