The Cook County Democratic Party made a commitment to slate only the highest quality candidates for judge. All of these candidates are rated at least "qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association.
Appellate Court: Dominique C. Ross
Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Judge Dominique C Ross is currently a trial judge in the Domestic Relations Division, where her experience in family law gives her a unique perspective for the Appellate Court. See more here.
Appellate Court: John H. Ehrlich
The only judge in Illinois who publishes his written decisions online in an effort to make the judiciary transparent, Judge John H. Ehrlich would be the first LGBTQ Appellate Court Judge in Illinois history. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Howard B. Brookins, Jr.
Howard B. Brookins, Jr., is a former Assistant Public Defender, Assistant State's Attorney, Special Assistant Attorney General, and candidate for Cook County State's Attorney. The Alderman for the 21st Ward of Chicago since 2003, he has a distinguished career of advocating for justice and public service. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Diana Lopez
A first-generation daughter of immigrants, Judge Diana Lopez was appointed judge in Fall 2021. She has over 20 years of legal experience in helping families in crises situations. Her advocacy includes volunteering for the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Chicago Bar Association, and Greenlight Family Services. She has family in Palatine. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Thomas E. Nowinski
As an Assistant State's Attorney, Tom Nowinski became the lead attorney for Cook County offices in the Shakman litigation, working to rid government employment from unlawful political discrimination. He became one of the youngest Deputy Supervisors in the State's Attorney's office, overseeing a team of 14 lawyers. Now Chief of Staff for the Clerk of the Circuit Court, he works to ensure equal access to the justice system. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Yolanda Harris Sayre
While a law student in Texas and working for the Texas State's Attorney, Yolanda Sayre sued fraudulent bankers and insurers, winning millions of dollars for the people of Texas. Moving to Chicago, she was a Chicago Police Department trainer in Community Policing and Diversity Management. Rising to be an Attorney for the Chicago Police Department, she taught more than 18,000 law enforcement officers 92 legal topics. She is currently Legal Counsel for the Illinois State Police. She is fluent in Spanish. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Rena Marie Van Tine
The first female Indian American judge in the country when she was appointed in 2001, Judge Rena Marie Van Tine has been found "highly qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Michael Weaver
Attorney Michael Weaver has served as board president for the non-profit Family Defense Center, which provides access to justice for families in the child welfare system, by providing direct representation and policy advocacy. He organized a legal aid clinic for LGBTQ+ individuals with the Center on Halsted and the Broadway Youth Center of Howard Brown, earning "Outstanding Volunteer Attorney" from the Center on Halsted. He has been found "qualified" or "recommended" by all the bar associations that reviewed his credentials; he was found "Highly Recommended" by the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Ruth Isabel Gudino
Judge Ruth I. Gudino grew up in the union home of hard-working Mexican immigrants. As a first-generation lawyer and judge, she began her career as an Assistant Public Guardian in the Child Protection Services in Cook County. She's worked as an Assistant State's Attorney, with a short break to be a lawyer with the Auto Workers Legal Service Plan, providing legal services in Spanish and English to auto workers at Ford and General Motors. In 2013 she was the first female Hispanic prosecutor to be named Director of Legal Hiring and Recruitment for the State's Attorney's office, working for more diversity in hiring prosecutors. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Araceli R. De La Cruz
Before she was appointed to the Circuit Court this January, Judge Araceli R. De La Cruz was a long-time board member of Casa Central, a large, non-profit social service agency. She has more than 20 years experience as an attorney representing crime victims, public transit riders, public consumers and public school children. She is the proud daughter of Puerto Rican parents who were public servants and union workers. See more here
Cook County Judge: Thomas More Donnelly
Judge Thomas More Donnelly is one of the rare judges who previously served as a public defender. Since being appointed to Assistant Judge in 2003, he was involved in numerous reforms to improve the justice system, including restorative justice reform (enacted 2021) and consumer protections from debt buyers (enacted 2019). He was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2021. See more here.
Cook County Judge: Tracie R. Porter
Judge Tracie R. Porter was appointed At-Large Circuit Court Judge in November 2021. She is a legal scholar who is a Tenured Professor of Law, and has taught at law schools all over the country and internationally. She has published articles in law journals on the 2007 mortgage crisis, the school-to-prison pipeline, voters rights, and mortgage short sales, which was cited in an Illinois Third District Appellate Court decision. See more here.
13th Subcircuit Judge: Joe Gump
A long-time resident of Palatine and Inverness, with deep roots in the community, Joe Gump served for 30 years as a public defender in Cook County, where he also served on the Executive Board of AFSCME Council 31, Local 3315, the "Cook County Public Defender Association." He is a former candidate for Palatine Township Board. See more here.