Judge since: 2000
Prior to her election to the bench, O’Brien was a career prosecutor, and eventually became deputy bureau chief of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office criminal division. After her election, she first oversaw abuse cases in the Child Protection Division for seven years. She is currently the supervising judge of the felony courts in Bridgeview, where she started the Veterans Court and Drug Treatment Court.
Bar Association ratings
This year: The CCL and CBA rated her qualified and the ISBA recommended her for retention.
Past: In 2012, the CCL rated her positively but also reported that some lawyers found O’Brien to be “overly harsh in her sentencing and more accommodating to prosecutors’ motions than defense motions.” The ISBA and CBA both rated her positively that year, praising her temperament.
Notable: In 2005, O’Brien missed the deadline to file a declaration of intent to run for retention in the 2006 election. She then filed a lawsuit contending that the deadline set by state law was unconstitutional because it conflicted the deadline set by the state constitution. The Illinois Supreme Court found in favor of the lawsuit brought by O’Brien and two other judges, allowing them to run for retention in November 2006.