Injustice Watch 2018 Cook County judicial voting guide

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At the bottom of Cook County primary ballots this month will be the names of 26 candidates running for 10 countywide seats on the Cook County bench.

Another 84 candidates will be seeking to fill 29 open seats among the 15 county subcircuits.

Sam Hart / Injustice Watch

Graphic by Sam Hart

Despite the powerful role judges play in communities, many voters will ignore many or all of the contests altogether. And if history is a guide, many people who do vote know little about the candidates beyond what gender and ethnic conclusions they can draw from the name alone. Some will know from sample ballots whom the parties endorse. But one strong predictor of a judicial victory in Cook County countywide primary races is having a female, Irish sounding-name, a study of Cook County judicial election results revealed.

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“There is a big drop-off of people who don’t vote the judicial ballot,” said Terrence Murphy, executive director of the Chicago Bar Association. “They don’t feel they know anything about the lawyers who are running for these officers. And nine times out of 10 that is true.”

As a result, 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.

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. If you’re not sure which subcircuit you live in, you can check here.

Skip to subcircuit races: 1st subcircuit | 2nd subcircuit | 3rd subcircuit | 4th subcircuit | 5th subcircuit| 6th subcircuit | 8th subcircuit | 10th subcircuit | 11th subcircuit | 12th subcircuit | 13th subcircuit | 14th subcircuit | 15th subcircuit


All Countywide races:

Brewer vacancy
Democratic primary:

John Maher

Name: John Maher (D)
Running for: Countywide: Brewer vacancy
Bio: Maher has spent 24 years in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He currently works as a deputy supervisor in the complex homicide and gang units. He has also worked in the felony review, felony trial, and juvenile divisions. He serves on the adjunct faculty at the John Marshall Law School. He helped create the state’s attorney’s targeted abuser call unit for women who were abused repeatedly by the same person. Maher also ran for judge in 2008.
Bar association ratings: Positive
This year: The CCL, finding Maher qualified, wrote he is “reported to be cooperative with defense counsel, and is considered to be a source of knowledge for other attorneys.” The ISBA and CBA also found him qualified.
Past: Maher was rated qualified by the CBA when he ran in 2008.
Notable: Maher is endorsed by the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was part of the team that successfully prosecuted the leadership of the Black Souls street gang in the first use of Illinois’s 2012 anti-racketeering law.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Kathryn M. Vahey

Name: Kathryn M. Vahey (D)
Running for: Countywide: Brewer vacancy
Bio: Vahey has worked in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office for 19 years. She currently works in the Bridgeview courthouse and handles felony cases from charge to resolution. She has also practiced in traffic court, drug court, and veterans’ treatment court, and has represented juveniles and those charged with misdemeanors. Before becoming an attorney, she was a caseworker for children in foster care in New York.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CCL, ISBA, and CBA found Vahey qualified. The CBA noted her “extensive experience” in criminal and mental health law and wrote she “has excellent writing skills.”
Survey Response: In her response to the Injustice Watch questionnaire, Vahey wrote she wants to see the justice system adopt bail reform, mandatory sentencing reform, and the increased use of problem-solving courts. (Full survey)

Oran F. Whiting

Name: Oran F. Whiting (D)
Running for: Countywide: Brewer vacancy
Bio: Whiting is a circuit court judge presiding over traffic cases. He was appointed in July 2017. Whiting spent 30 years working in private practice, the past 10 years at his own firm. His work has included commercial and regulatory law. He also served nine years as a commissioner on the Illinois Court of Claims, worked as counsel for the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and as a hearing officer for the Illinois Secretary of State. He is a member of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s Oversight Committee.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The ISBA, CBA, and CCL rated Whiting qualified. The CBA wrote Whiting has
“vast experience in litigation and transactional work and enjoys a reputation for fairness and compassion.”
Notable: Whiting is endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Clay vacancy
Democratic primary

Jonathan C. Green

Name: Jonathan C. Green (D)
Running for: Countywide: Clay vacancy
Bio: Green is a supervising attorney in the City of Chicago Law Department, representing the city and Chicago Police Department in litigation since 2003, according to his LinkedIn page. He has practiced law since 1989, in private practice as well as in the Illinois state government, drafting and reviewing legislation in the statehouse and representing state employees as an assistant Illinois attorney general. He also has experience in international law.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The ISBA, CBA, and CCL found Green qualified. The ISBA wrote “some attorneys contacted during the investigation reported that he is capable, competent, civil and fair; a few expressed concerns over ongoing discovery issues in federal court in civil rights cases with the city Law Department, and his role and responsibility concerning those issues.”
Notable: Injustice Watch reported on Green’s involvement in several federal civil rights lawsuits in which he and other city attorneys have been accused of withholding or carelessly producing evidence for the opposing party. Read the full story. Green is the Cook County Democratic Party’s pick for the seat.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Kathaleen T. Lanahan

Name: Kathaleen T. Lanahan (D)
Running for: Countywide: Clay vacancy
Bio: Lanahan is a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she has worked for 23 years. She first worked in the traffic and the juvenile justice divisions, and since then has prosecuted a wide range of felony cases from thefts to murders.
Bar association ratings: Positive
Lanahan was rated qualified by the ISBA, CBA, and CCL. The CCL wrote that she is “praised for her trial skills and for her temperament and honesty as a prosecutor.”
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Michael I. O’Malley

Name: Michael I. O’Malley (D)
Running for: Countywide: Clay vacancy
Bio: O’Malley is a Cook County assistant state’s attorney in the civil action unit and has in the past worked in the office’s public corruption and financial crimes unit. He has worked at the office since being licensed to practice law in 2005, after a career as a financial analyst. According to his campaign website, O’Malley has worked on criminal, civil and family law cases as a prosecutor. This is his second attempt to be elected to the bench.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
This year: The CCL and ISBA found O’Malley qualified. The CBA found him not recommended, and reiterated its 2016 negative rating of him, advising that “additional practice experience will better prepare him for service.” O’Malley did not respond to requests for comment on his ratings.
Past: Two years ago, O’Malley received mixed reviews in his bar association evaluations. While the CCL and ISBA found him qualified, the CBA found him not recommended, saying he needed more practice experience.
Notable: O’Malley was endorsed by the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police in 2016 and this year. While prosecuting corruption, O’Malley was involved in the high-profile case of several defendants accused of stealing nearly $900,000 from Chicago Public Schools.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Lori A. Roper

Name: Lori A. Roper (D)
Running for: Countywide: Clay vacancy
Bio: Roper has been practicing law for 23 years, spending her career at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. She now supervises attorneys in Cook County’s problem-solving courts, including drug court, mental health court, and a new restorative justice court. She has represented clients in divisions such as juvenile justice and child protection.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
The CCL found Roper qualified, writing she “is considered to be an excellent lawyer,” but the ISBA rated her not recommended for not participating in evaluations. The CBA rated her not recommended, writing, “Ms. Roper has a fine demeanor and is a skilled lawyer. However, the candidate failed to disclose a number of creditor lawsuits against her, as well as detailed listings of bench trials.” Roper did not respond to requests for comment about her ratings.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Dooling vacancy
Democratic primary:

Corri D. Fetman

Name: Corri D. Fetman (D)
Running for: Countywide: Dooling vacancy
Bio: Fetman owns her own firm, focusing on divorce, transactional, corporate, and business law. Before opening the firm in 1995, she worked at other private firms. Fetman wrote a “Lawyer of Love” column for Playboy magazine and currently writes a column for the Fraternal Order of Police magazine. She writes a blog called Love Lawyer.
Bar association ratings: Negative
Fetman was rated not recommended by the CCL, CBA, and ISBA because she did not participate in the evaluation process. Fetman told Injustice Watch she was busy resolving a challenge to her ballot petition during the evaluations. “It was my understanding that it was too late for me to do the judicial evaluations,” Fetman told Injustice Watch. “If they could have done it on an expedited basis, I would have been happy to participate.”
Notable: Fetman gained attention in 2007 for a racy billboard ad, about which some lawyers complained. Controversy continued into this year’s race after a local group ran an attack ad using various photos of her, the Chicago Reader reported.
Survey Response: Responding to an Injustice Watch questionnaire, Fetman wrote, “I can deliver an unmatched level of know-how and discipline that draws from an illustrious career rooted in hands-on experience.” (Full survey)

Timothy J. Leeming

Name: Timothy J. Leeming (D)
Running for: Countywide: Dooling vacancy
Bio: Leeming has served as a Cook County assistant public defender for 30 years, handling civil and criminal cases at the state and federal levels and on appeal. Before becoming a public defender, he was briefly in private practice. He is also an artist and has painted a series, “The Accused,” about the criminal justice system
Bar association ratings: Positive
The ISBA, CBA, and CCL found Leeming qualified, with the latter writing that he “has substantial litigation experience in complex matters and is reported to be a solid defense attorney with good temperament.”
Notable: Leeming’s wife, Pamela M. Leeming, is a Cook County judge in the Maywood courthouse.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Athanasios “Tom” Sianis

Name: Athanasios “Tom” Sianis (D)
Running for: Countywide: Dooling vacancy
Bio: Sianis is the Enforcement Division Chief of the Illinois Securities Department, where he supervises hearings and works on litigation, administrative hearings, and settlements. He has held the position since 2012. He spent two years prosecuting securities fraud cases as a special assistant attorney general for the state and spent seven years in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office working in the felony review, child support, and at the Maywood courthouse.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CCL, CBA, and ISBA found Sianis qualified, with the CBA noting his “substantial trial and administrative law experience.”
Notable: He is co-owner and co-manager of Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern locations. Sianis is endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party and the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Survey Response: Responding to an Injustice Watch questionnaire, Sianis wrote “I have always and continue to work at closely listening to what each person has to say in order to understand different viewpoints and circumstances.” (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Dunford vacancy
Democratic primary

Thomas F. McGuire

Name: Thomas F. McGuire (D)
Running for: Countywide: Dunford vacancy
Bio: McGuire has run a criminal defense firm for the past five years. Prior to that, he spent over 10 years at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, trying cases from traffic to sex crimes. He also has been a staff attorney for the Cook County Circuit Court, researching legal issues. He is running unopposed.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The ISBA, CBA and CCL rated McGuire qualified. The CCL wrote he is “trustworthy in his dealings with opposing counsel and has a good temperament generally.”
Notable: McGuire has been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Egan vacancy
Democratic primary

Rosa M. Silva

Name: Rosa M. Silva (D)
Running for: Countywide: Egan vacancy
Bio: Silva is a murder task division attorney with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, and has been with the office for the past decade. According to her campaign website, she also volunteers at a local elementary school, teaching students about constitutional law. This is her second attempt to be elected to the bench. She is running unopposed.
Bar association ratings: Positive
This year: The CBA, ISBA, and CCL found Silva qualified, with the latter group writing she “is considered to be a hard-working defense counsel with good temperament.”
Past: Silva was given qualified ratings by the ISBA, CCL, and CBA during her 2016 judicial run.
Notable: Silva has been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic party
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Flanagan vacancy
Democratic primary:

Keely P. Hillison

Name: Keely P. Hillison (D)
Running for: Countywide: Flanagan vacancy
Bio: Hillison has practiced law since 1985 and has spent the past 29 years at a private firm where she specializes in insurance law, civil litigation, and personal injury, and has often represented insurance companies in coverage claims. She is also an arbitrator in the Cook County Circuit Court and said she has argued hundreds of cases on appeal.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
The ISBA found Hillison not qualified, noting three of her appellate briefs resulted in sanctions against her firm for frivolous appeals. The CCL found her qualified, writing that despite her involvement “earlier in her career in litigation matters where her firm was accused of filing frivolous claims,” she has in totality a well-respected career. The CBA also found her qualified. In response to the ISBA rating, Hillison told Injustice Watch in a prepared statement, “Those few [that] rated me not recommended clearly conflict with the bulk.”
Survey Response: In her questionnaire responses to Injustice Watch she highlighted her “unique combination of extensive trial court, appellate court, and arbitration experience.” (Full survey)

Preston Jones

Name: Preston Jones, Jr. (D)
Running for: Countywide: Flanagan vacancy
Bio: Jones was appointed in September to the bench and is running to keep that seat. He currently presides over traffic cases. Before becoming a judge, Jones spent his 23-year legal career in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, first representing juvenile defendants, and most recently trying murder and manslaughter cases.
Ratings: Positive
The CBA found Jones highly qualified, noting his “extensive trial experience” and “outstanding temperament.” The CCL and ISBA rated him qualified.
Notable: Jones has been endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party for this seat.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Amanda M. Pillsbury

Name: Amanda M. Pillsbury (D)
Running for: Countywide: Flanagan vacancy
Bio: Pillsbury has been an attorney since 2005 and is a career prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She has worked in divisions including child support enforcement, juvenile court, felony review, and bond court. She is now assigned to felony trials.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
The ISBA found Pillsbury not qualified, writing, “Some attorneys reported that she is knowledgeable and a good litigator, while others questioned the extent of her involvement in complex matters and the depth of her experience. Opinions on her diligence and temperament were also divided between positive and negative.” The CCL also found Pillsbury not qualified, noting much of her litigation experience is in less complex matters. The CBA found her qualified. Pillsbury did not respond to requests for comment on her ratings.
Notable: Pillsbury has been endorsed by the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Ioana Salajanu

Name: Ioana Salajanu (D)
Running for: Countywide: Flanagan vacancy
Bio: Salajanu has practiced in private law firms since 2002 and is currently a partner at Rock Fusco & Connelly, where she handles commercial litigation and a variety of business, corporate, and financial matters. She has also practiced in construction, property, and insurance law. Salajanu fled to the United States as a child seeking asylum, and wrote on her campaign website she would be the first Romanian-American judge in Illinois if elected.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
The CBA rated Salajanu not recommended because of the limited scope of her experience, and the ISBA found Salajanu not qualified. The CCL rated her qualified, despite noting she “has conducted few actual trials,” explaining she “has been involved in a substantial motion practice in complex matters.” Salajanu told Injustice Watch, “I’m concerned because I’m not sure the decision accurately reflects my experience.” She said that she sent the bar associations additional evidence of her work experience, but was not able to have the rating changed.
Notable: Salajanu has received donations from a variety of businesses, including property and construction companies and insurance groups.
Survey Response: In her response to an Injustice Watch questionnaire, Salajanu emphasized her experience overcoming hardships in the U.S., which “have made me humble, open-minded and compassionate.” (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Hartigan vacancy
Democratic primary:

Cecilia A. Horan

Name: Cecilia A. Horan (D)
Running for: Countywide: Hartigan vacancy
Bio: Horan is currently a judge in traffic court, where she was appointed in January 2017. Before her appointment, Horan spent 20 years as a private attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, specializing in personal injury law, according to her campaign website.
Bar association ratings: Positive
Horan was found qualified by the CCL, ISBA, and CBA. In finding her qualified, the CCL  wrote Horan “is praised for her temperament both in court and in dealing with opposing counsel.”
Notable: Horan is endorsed by the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Cook County Democratic Party.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Keith L. Spence

Name: Keith L. Spence (D)
Running for: Countywide: Hartigan vacancy
Bio: Spence is a solo practitioner based in Matteson whose practice areas include criminal defense and domestic relations. He also works as an administrative law judge.
Bar association ratings: Negative
Spence was rated not qualified by the CCL, which expressed concern over Spence’s lack of complex litigation experience and that “some respondents – particularly women – are concerned about his temperament, including a lack of cooperation and a patronizing attitude.” The CBA rated him not recommended, citing his failure to disclose personal litigation and concerns about his abilities. The ISBA also found Spence not qualified. Of the CCL’s comment on his temperament and attitude toward women, Spence told Injustice Watch, “That’s not me and I don’t know where it came from… I was found recommended by the Women’s Bar Association and the Black Women’s Bar Association of Chicago. I’m very happy with those.”
Notable: In 2016 he handled a high-profile murder trial, representing a defendant who fled from Chicago police, resulting in a pursuit and police crash that caused the death of a motorist. The defendant was found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years.
Survey Response: Responding to a questionnaire from Injustice Watch, Spence wrote that his South Side roots and understanding of that community will help him be effective on the bench because judges need “not only legal knowledge and experience but life experience that gives them insight into the community in which they sit.” (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Jordan vacancy
Democratic primary

Jerome C. Barrido

Name: Jerome C. Barrido (D)
Running for: Countywide: Jordan vacancy
Bio: Barrido has spent most of his career at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. During his time there he has been assigned to the juvenile justice division, writing on his campaign website that he authored a practitioner’s manual while in that division. He also states he previously worked as a victim-witness coordinator at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CCL found Barrido qualified, praising him for being “a zealous advocate while being respectful to judges and opposing counsel.” The ISBA and CBA also found him qualified.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Patrick D. John

Name: Patrick D. John
Running for: Countywide: Jordan vacancy
Bio: John is a private attorney with the Barclay Law Group P.C. who represents clients in family and probate courts, as well as in Social Security disability and veteran’s disability cases. According to his professional website, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard before becoming an attorney. This is John’s second run for a seat on the bench.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
This year: The CCL found John not qualified because of lack of experience in complex litigation matters, and the CBA rated him not recommended because he did not participate in their evaluation. The ISBA found him qualified, writing, “He is considered to be a diligent and skilled litigator in his area of practice, with a good temperament.” John told Injustice Watch, “I obviously think I’m qualified. I understand some bars think I’m not.” Of the evaluations, he said, “This is not a hard science.”
Past: In 2016, John received mixed ratings from the bar groups. The CBA rated him negatively for not participating in evaluations. The CCL wrote that it found John not qualified because he lacked the complex trial experience needed for the bench. The ISBA found him qualified for the post.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Clare J. Quish

Name: Clare J. Quish (D)
Running for: Countywide: Jordan vacancy
Bio: Quish was appointed to the bench in June 2016 and is running to keep the seat. She presides over small claims court, and previously was assigned to traffic court. Before being appointed judge, Quish handled commercial and civil litigation at private firms and spent nearly seven years as a law clerk to Judge Mary Jane Theis of the Illinois Appellate Court. She has taught appellate law and is active in the Appellate Lawyers Association.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CCL, ISBA and CBA found Quish qualified. The CBA wrote Quish “is hardworking, diligent, and well regarded for her knowledge of the law and excellent temperament.”
Notable: Quish is endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party and police groups including the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Survey response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


McGinnis vacancy
Democratic primary

Peter M. Gonzalez

Name: Peter M. “Mike” Gonzalez (D)
Running for: Countywide: McGinnis vacancy
Bio: Gonzalez was appointed to a judicial vacancy in November 2017, and he currently hears cases in traffic court. Before joining the bench, he spent 14 years in private practice, working in criminal defense, civil employment, and immigration matters. Previously, he spent eight years as an assistant Cook County public defender. Gonzalez has also been an administrative law judge for the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Gonzalez is president of a local volunteer legal clinic.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
The CCL found Gonzalez not qualified because during his work as an administrative law judge he was reportedly “inappropriately impatient and rude to litigants” and “criticized for the disrespectful manner in which he sometimes treats witnesses.” The CBA and ISBA found him qualified. Gonzalez told Injustice Watch, “All the bar associations that reviewed me had the same information, and all except one returned positive ratings… It’s not unusual for one or two bar associations to have a different opinion or prediction of whether a candidate might make a good judge in the future.”
Notable: Gonzalez is endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Brian T. Sexton

Brian T. Sexton

Name: Brian T. Sexton (D)
Running for: Countywide: McGinnis vacancy
Bio: Sexton is a private defense attorney based in Naperville. For nearly 30 years he worked as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, where he was supervisor of the gang crime unit and chief of the narcotics bureau. He resigned from the office on Dec. 30, 2016, and now works for his own firm. He previously ran for judge in 2008.
Bar association ratings: Mixed
This year: The CCL found Sexton not qualified because “there have been multiple occasions where the Illinois Appellate Court has reversed convictions because of Mr. Sexton’s improper conduct.” The CBA  rated him highly qualified, however, noting his “extensive experience.” The ISBA found him qualified. Sexton did not respond to requests for comment on his ratings.
Past:  In 2008, the CBA found Sexton highly qualified for a judicial post.
Notable: Sexton was heavily involved in the prosecution of Nathson Fields, a former gang member convicted of a double homicide, sentenced to death, then acquitted after serving 18 years in prison. Sexton came under fire after it was revealed he and other law enforcement officers had urged the U.S. Parole Commission to release a witness who had testified against Fields. Fields filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Chicago and in December 2016, a jury awarded him $22 million. Read the full story.
Survey response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Cook County judicial candidate Bradley Trowbridge

Bradley R. Trowbridge

Name: Bradley R. Trowbridge (D)
Running for: Countywide: McGinnis vacancy
Bio: A counselor and psychologist who was a social worker before becoming a lawyer, Trowbridge has run a family law practice for 14 years, focusing on divorce, custody, marital, and domestic violence issues. He previously worked in legal aid organizations. Trowbridge also has volunteered legal services for victims of domestic violence and for arrestees in Chicago Police Department custody. He previously ran for judge in 2012.
Bar association ratings: Positive
This year: Trowbridge was rated qualified by the CBA, ISBA and CCL. The CCL noted, “A few respondents questioned his temperament,” but “on balance” the CCL still found him qualified, adding he “has had substantial litigation experience in a variety of areas.”
Past: In 2012, Trowbridge was rated not qualified by bar associations for having a narrow range of legal experience. In an interview with Injustice Watch, Trowbridge defended his experience, but said he took on more varied cases as a result of the past ratings.
Survey Response: Responding to a questionnaire from Injustice Watch, Trowbridge said he hopes to improve the court system for those who cannot afford attorneys and represent themselves in court. (Full survey)

Republican primary:

There are no Republican candidates running for this seat.


Rooney vacancy
Democratic Primary

Jack J. Hagerty

Name: Jack J. Hagerty (D)
Running for: Countywide: Rooney vacancy
Bio: Hagerty is a private attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP who specializes in civil litigation including class-action lawsuits and commercial disputes. According to his campaign website, he handles cases before the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, the Chicago Board of Elections, and the Illinois Court of Claims.
Bar association ratings: Positive
The CBA found Hagerty highly qualified and the ISBA found him qualified. The CCL also found him qualified, and noted that Hagerty’s “temperament is unquestioned and many respondents commented on the respect that he shows to opposing counsel.”
Notable: Hagerty is the Cook County Democratic Party’s favored candidate in this race.
Survey Response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.

Mable Taylor

Name: Mable Taylor (D)
Running for: Countywide: Rooney vacancy
Bio: Taylor works as a solo attorney handling both civil and criminal cases in Cook County and has served as an arbitrator. According to her campaign website, she has taught legal courses at Roosevelt University, Robert Morris University, and at the City Colleges of Chicago. This is Taylor’s third run for the bench.
Bar association ratings: Negative
This year: Taylor was rated not recommended by the CBA, which wrote she “does not possess the requisite legal knowledge to effectively serve” as a judge. She was rated not recommended by the CCL and ISBA because she did not participate in the evaluation process. Taylor did not respond to requests for comment on her ratings.
Past: Taylor has been awarded negative ratings by bar groups during her two past judicial runs. In 2012 bar groups rated her not qualified for lacking complex legal experience, and in 2016 she was negatively rated for not participating in the evaluation process.
Notable: In 2008, Taylor represented 15-year-old Devonte Smith in a high-profile murder case involving the death of 18-year-old Ruben Ivy near Chicago’s Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Smith is serving 17 years for a second-degree murder conviction.
Survey response: The candidate did not return answers to an Injustice Watch questionnaire.


Skip to subcircuit races: 1st subcircuit | 2nd subcircuit | 3rd subcircuit | 4th subcircuit | 5th subcircuit| 6th subcircuit | 8th subcircuit | 10th subcircuit | 11th subcircuit | 12th subcircuit | 13th subcircuit | 14th subcircuit | 15th subcircuit

Guide compiled by Mari Cohen, Emily Hoerner, Sumayyah Jones, Jeanne Kuang, Olivia Stovicek, and Martin Turček.