Cook County courts unveil ‘diverse’ slate of associate judge finalists

Jeanne Kuang / Injustice Watch

A judge’s seat in Cook County Circuit Court

Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced Tuesday the names of candidates vying to fill 22 associate judge vacancies in the circuit court.

During a 10-week interview process closed from public view, a nominating committee led by Evans whittled down 246 applicants to a list of 44 finalists, half of whom are women, according to the chief judge’s office.

The candidates “constitute a diverse group, racially and ethnically” and include government attorneys and attorneys in private practice, Evans’ office said in a statement. The office did not provide a breakdown of the candidates’ racial or ethnic backgrounds.

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Associate judges are elected to serve four-year terms and are paid slightly less than circuit judges. Circuit judges are elected by the public to serve six-year terms through either countywide or subcircuit races.

The short list of candidates released Tuesday will be narrowed by the county’s 249 circuit judges. They will evaluate the finalists and cast their ballots in a secret election conducted by mail. Circuit judges must mail their ballots by Sept. 7 to Marcia Meis, director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, who will then tabulate and certify the results. A runoff election will take place in the event of a tie. The last time that circuit judges voted to fill associate judgeship vacancies was in 2019, when 30 finalists were up for 15 seats on the bench. Meis certified the results a month after the finalists’ names were announced.

In recent years, associate judge election results have garnered criticism from Black and Latino legal groups. In 2018, only one of the 17 candidates elected to serve as an associate judge was Black. And in 2019, none of them identified as Latinx.

Below is the full list of the 44 candidates up for associate judgeships this year. In the coming weeks, Injustice Watch will be reporting further on their backgrounds and judicial records.

  • David Charles Adams
  • Maryam Ahmad
  • Sunil Shashikant Bhave
  • Patrick Malone Blanchard
  • Lloyd James Brooks
  • Richard George Cenar
  • Scott Richard Clewis
  • Barbara Lynette Dawkins
  • Gabriel Joseph Dematteo
  • James Thomas Derico Jr.
  • Sabra Lynne Ebersole
  • Carl Lauras Evans Jr.
  • William Nicholas Fahy
  • Barbara Nubia Flores
  • Athena Frentzas-Bubaris
  • Caroline Gale Glennon
  • Mitchell Benjamin Goldberg
  • Dawn Marie Gonzalez
  • Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez
  • Matthew William Jannusch
  • Lakshmi Elkhanialy Jha
  • Martha-Victoria Jimenez
  • Diana Elena Lopez
  • Edward James Maloney
  • Kerrie Elizabeth Maloney Laytin
  • Thomas A. Morrissey
  • Scott Norris
  • James Bryan Novy
  • Radusa Ostojic
  • Gina Angela Piemonte
  • Dartesia Ayanna Pitts
  • Mary Anna Planey
  • Brian Randall Porter
  • Parle M. Roe-Taylor
  • Pamela Saindon
  • Eric Michael Sauceda
  • Theresa Marie Smith Conyers
  • Joan Ellen Smuda
  • Ankur Srivastava
  • Pamela J. Stratigakis
  • Anthony Charles Swanagan
  • Andreana Ann Turano
  • Scott William Tzinberg
  • Timothy W. Wright III