2018 Cook County judicial voting guide: 4th subcircuit

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In the 4th subcircuit, which covers parts of west suburban Cook County, six candidates are vying for two judicial seats.

Once elected, there is no difference in responsibility of the countywide judges and subcircuit judges. All voters will have the chance to vote for all countywide candidates, but voters only vote for subcircuit candidates in their own area.

Not sure if you live in the 4th subcircuit? Try using this handy map to find out. Go back to the countywide races here or learn more about our guide below.


Davy vacancy
Democratic primary:

Caroline Golden

Name: Caroline P. Golden (D)
Running for: 4th subcircuit: Davy vacancy
Bio: Golden is an attorney at the Sotos Law Firm, which specializes in defending police officers in wrongful conviction-related lawsuits. Prior to civil rights defense, Golden spent 10 years practicing large-scale commercial and employment litigation. She has been practicing law since 1992.
Bar association ratings: Positive
Golden was found qualified by the CCL and ISBA and highly qualified by the CBA. The CBA wrote Golden “has extensive practice experience and has tried many complex civil and criminal matters.”
Notable: She has represented numerous law enforcement officials accused of misconduct in high-profile cases, including: notorious former Chicago police commander Jon Burge and other officers in exoneree James Kluppelberg‘s civil suit against Chicago; disgraced former detective Reynaldo Guevara in three ongoing federal civil rights complaints; and Lake County officials and police in exoneree Juan Rivera‘s civil suit. She has been endorsed by the Democratic Party committeemen in her subcircuit and the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

David Navarro

Name: David Navarro (D)
Running for: 4th subcircuit: Davy vacancy
Bio: Navarro was appointed to the bench in May 2017 and currently presides over felony bond court, where he sets bail for defendants, and also oversees preliminary hearings, misdemeanors, and traffic cases. Navarro spent nearly 23 years as a prosecutor, first in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted crimes, corruption, and police misconduct, and later in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General as chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, investigating fraud against the state. Navarro also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to prosecute the Chicago Police Department’s now-defunct Special Operation Section when it was accused of large-scale public corruption in 2007.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CCL found Navarro well qualified; he is one of only five candidates to receive that rating. The CBA found him highly qualified and the ISBA found him qualified. “He is considered to have excellent legal ability and is praised for his supervisory skills,” the CCL wrote.
Survey Response: In response to an Injustice Watch survey, Navarro wrote that the biggest issue currently facing the justice system is cash bail reform and that Cook County is “on the front line of the bond reform movement.” (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat. 


Riley vacancy
Democratic primary: 

Elizabeth Ciaccia-Lezza

Name: Elizabeth Ciaccia-Lezza (D)
Running for: 4th subcircuit: Riley vacancy
Bio: Ciaccia-Lezza is a long-time prosecutor; she has worked for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for nearly 17 years. She currently prosecutes sex crimes and has previously been assigned to a variety of divisions including child support, domestic violence, and felony trials.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CBA, ISBA and CCL found Ciaccia-Lezza qualified. The CCL wrote she is considered to have “good working relationships with victims, witnesses, court personnel, and opposing counsel.”
Notable: Ciaccia-Lezza has been endorsed by the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. In 2015, Ciaccia-Lezza was one of the prosecutors in the case against Juan Contreras, a popular Spanish-language TV host who was sentenced to 61 years for sexual assault and abuse of underage girls.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Name: Danny Collins (D)
Running for: 4th subcircuit: Riley vacancy
Bio: Collins has been practicing law for about 20 years. He spent the majority of his career in a private firm and is now a solo practitioner. He has spent four years at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. His primary areas of focus are worker’s compensation, personal injury, criminal law, and family law.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CBA, ISBA and CCL found Collins qualified. The CCL wrote that he is “widely praised as having very good legal ability and excellent research and writing skills.”
Survey Response: In response to an Injustice Watch survey, Collins wrote that his desire to be a judge comes from the four and a half years he spent as an assistant state’s attorney, “observing the daily impact  that a judge has upon the people that come before” them. (Full survey)

Cook County judicial candidate John Andrew O'Meara

John A. O’Meara

Name: John A. O’Meara (D)
Running for: 4th Subcircuit: Riley vacancy
Bio: O’Meara was appointed to the bench in November 2016, where he currently hears civil cases and volunteers to hear early morning cases for those representing themselves without attorneys. Prior to his appointment, O’Meara spent nearly 20 years as an attorney, practicing law in areas such as personal injury, medical malpractice, and other tort litigation. O’Meara was chosen to sit on the Presiding Judges Committee and lecture on evidence to help train arbitrators for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program.
Bar association ratings: Positive
O’Meara was found highly qualified by the CBA and qualified by the ISBA and the CCL. The CBA noted his “legal ability, integrity, calm demeanor, and excellent temperament.”
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Cook County judicial candidate Martin D. Reggi

Martin D. Reggi

Name: Martin D. Reggi (D)
Running for: 4th subcircuit: Riley vacancy
Bio: Reggi has practiced law for 38 years. He began his career with five years as a prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In 1985, he left the State’s Attorney’s office and began work as a solo practitioner, where his primary areas of practice have been criminal law, real estate, and bankruptcy. Reggi ran for a judgeship in 2014.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
This year: Reggi was found qualified by the CCL and the ISBA, but the CBA found him not recommended. “Mr. Reggi does not possess the legal knowledge, ability, practice experience, and diligence required,” the CBA wrote, contradicting its previous rating of Reggi. The CCL, on the other hand, wrote he is a “good practitioner” with some litigation experience in complex matters. Reggi did not respond to requests for comment on his ratings.
Past: In 2014, Reggi was found qualified by the ISBA, the CCL, and the CBA.
Notable: Reggi has been endorsed by the Democratic Party committeemen in his subcircuit.
Survey Response: Responding to an Injustice Watch survey, Reggi wrote that if elected he hopes to partner with local bar associations “to provide mentoring services to at-risk youth and encourage law as a profession.” (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat. 


Injustice Watch has spent the past several months scouring the public record about the candidates. We’ve looked through everything from the candidates’ past employment to court records and campaign contributions. We’ve studied past disciplinary trouble, and we’ve collected the recommendations of the three major bar associations: the Chicago Bar Association (CBA), the Chicago Council of Lawyers (CCL) and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA). We also offered each candidate the opportunity to complete a survey offering information detailing their experience and reasons for running. (All survey responses have been uploaded online.)

That research has led us to publish several individual articles, as well as this guide to help voters go to the polls better informed. (As a news organization, we are not endorsing any candidates, merely gathering information to help voters judge for themselves.)

Candidates file for a specific race: The candidates declare which seat they seek, and some candidates end up with no opposition at all. With the exception of a few suburban subcircuit contests, winning the Democratic primary amounts to securing the judicial post, as most candidates will face no Republican opposition in the November general election.

The candidates are running to fill openings created on the bench by a judge’s retirement, resignation, or death. Several of the candidates were given temporary appointments by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill vacancies up through the election, but each of them must compete in the elections to win a full six-year term.