Judge since: 1994
Varga has presided over civil jury trials since 2002. Prior to that, he heard complex litigation cases and briefly served in the First Municipal District. Varga began his career as an assistant state’s attorney. He then spent about ten years in private practice before returning to the State’s Attorney’s Office as supervisor of the medical litigation division, which defends Cook County hospitals and medical staff in personal injury cases.
Bar Association ratings
This year: The CCL and CBA rated him qualified. Varga was one of three judges the ISBA did not recommend. They praised his legal knowledge and fairness but noted that "concerns about temperament...have been an ongoing issue."
Past: Varga was rated qualified for retention by the CBA, the CCL, and the ISBA in 2012. Despite praising him as diligent and knowledgeable, all three bar associations also noted concerns about Varga’s demeanor and unpredictable temperament. The CCL wrote, “It is of particular concern that Judge Varga does not limit his outbursts when witnesses and jurors are present.” In both CBA and CCL’s reports, Varga responded that he was working to improve his temperament.
Notable: During his time as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, Varga was a member of the team that prosecuted serial killer John Wayne Gacy. In 2005, Varga, along with two other judges, missed the deadline to file the necessary paperwork for the 2006 retention election. The judges successfully challenged the law setting the deadline before the Illinois Supreme Court, noting that it was in conflict with a later deadline set in the state constitution.