Amanda Moira Pillsbury
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (Flanagan Vacancy district)
Responses to our questions
Please submit an essay that explains your legal background, why you are qualified for this position and why you seek this position.
I started at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in 2005. My first assignment was in the Child Support Enforcement unit, where I entered paternity orders and child support orders in court every day.
In 2006, I moved on to Juvenile Court, where I worked both the Child Protection and Delinquency courtrooms. From 2006 until 2008, I protected neglected and abused children, participated in temporary custody hearings, permanency hearings, and adjudication and termination of parental rights trials.
From 2008 until 2010, I prosecuted motions/trials for juvenile delinquents. I was in the courtroom every single day from 2005-2010. In 2010, I went to the felony review unit of the office. I was no longer in court, but instead was responsible for going out to the police stations and talking to victims, defendants, witnesses, police, and reviewing any felonies in Cook county for possible charging. I spent time in the Sex Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes against Children Unit, before returning back to the courtroom on a daily basis in 2012, working Bond Court, Preliminary Hearings, and in the Grand Jury.
I was then assigned to Branch 66: Homicide and Sex Unit, where I did all the charging and bond hearings for homicide and sex cases within the county. In 2013, I was assigned to the felony trial division, running a felony courtroom every day, litigating motions, hearings, bench and jury trials, and I have been there ever since.
As a career Assistant State's Attorney, I have grown accustomed to being in court almost every day for the past almost 13 years- running courts calls, litigating, and communicating with all types of courtroom personnel.
I know how to effectively run a court call and I think from my vast experience, it would be an easy transition for me to do so as a judge, rather than as an attorney. Spotting issues comes naturally to me and I seem to flourish in that regard.
For example, when I was an ASA is juvenile court, a sentencing that I argued went all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court. The issue the appellate attorneys presented dealt with the constitutionality of the State being able to object to a judge ordering supervision at a sentencing hearing in juvenile court. I made the off the cuff remark, during argument in the circuit court, that the constitutionality was moot, because the minor had already gone to trial and a finding of delinquency had been entered. The judge ended up entering Supervision in the case, which is the reason the case was later appealed. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed with me and decided that because the finding of delinquency had been entered at the adjudication phase, the supervision sentence was no longer available to the defendant at the sentencing phase, and therefore the constitutionality of the statute allowing the State to object to supervision at sentencing was essentially moot. (see In re Danielle J., 2013 IL 110810)
I have litigated thousands of cases in my legal career. Cases have ranged from Murder to Retail Theft, in both the felony trial division of adult court and juvenile court as well: Motions to Quash Arrest & Suppress evidence, Motions to Suppress Statements; Motions to Suppress identification; Motions in Limine; Motions for a New Trial; Proof of Other Crimes Motions; Motions for Joinder; Motions for Discretionary transfer; Motions for Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction; etc.
Most commonly in the last 5 years, motions to quash arrest and suppress evidence in guns and drug cases arose the most. Crime is at an all time high within our county. We need to find a way to make our streets safe again, and I am up for the task. I am eager to apply my knowledge of the law and to learn along the way that which I do not already know. I am excited to journey down a new path and increase my passion for the law through a new adventure.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
As a teenager, I performed on stage at the Chicago Theater in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond!