Republican candidate for Cook County Circuit (12th Subcircuit (Maki 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.
While attending John Marshall Law School, I worked as a law clerk at the civil defense firm of French, Rogers, Kezelis and Kominarik.
At French and Rogers, I assisted attorneys in preparing motions, performed legal research, and abstracted depositions for cases that were proceeding to trial. I read and condensed numerous witness depositions on medical malpractice and personal injury cases.
I also worked as a law clerk at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in the Felony Courtroom of Judge James Bailey at 26th and California. My duties included assisting the prosecutors with clerical work, filing and legal research. I applied for and was granted a "711" license which permitted me to practice law under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
As a third year law student, I prosecuted five felony cases, going against both public defenders and private attorneys. Upon graduating law school, I accepted a position as a criminal prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
I was sworn in as an Assistant State's Attorney under State's Attorney Richard Daley and began working in the Criminal Appeals Division. I read complete trial transcripts, performed legal research, and prepared appellate briefs on cases where criminal defendants were appealing their convictions.
I wrote and filed thirteen appellate briefs and presented five oral arguments before the First District Appellate Court. My next assignment was in the First Municipal District. I prosecuted misdemeanor cases throughout all the municipal branch courts in the city of Chicago. During my time prosecuting misdemeanors, I would be transferred to a different branch court every several months or so. Each one of these transfers was like starting a new job.
Working with new partners, court clerks, public defenders, deputy sheriffs and a new Judge taught me to quickly adapt to the new assignment and how to work well with others. As a Misdemeanor Assistant State's Attorney, I tried approximately one hundred bench trials and five jury trials. I was then transferred to the Felony Review Unit. In Felony Review, I worked with detectives from the Chicago Police Department, interviewed witnesses, read police reports and determined whether to "approve" or "reject" felony charges against a defendant. I would also prepare handwritten and court reported statements from witnesses and defendants. This assignment taught me valuable lessons in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of evidence in a felony criminal case.
Next, I was promoted to Preliminary Hearings, where I conducted preliminary hearings, bond hearings, presented witness' and police officer's testimony, and prepared charging documents on all types of felony cases. While assigned to Branch 66, I worked exclusively on first degree murder and rape cases preparing them for indictment.
I prepared and presented eyewitnesses to murders and rapes as well as Chicago Police Detectives, to testify before the Grand Jury. While in Night Narcotics Court, I prosecuted felony drugs cases. I litigated numerous Motions to Quash Arrest, Motions to Suppress Statements, in addition to bench and jury trials. After four years of working through various positions in the State's Attorney's Office, I was assigned to the Felony Trail Division at 26th and California. This is where I perfected my litigation skills and began to rack up jury trials on murder, rape, armed robbery and burglary cases. I worked my way through various Judges' courtrooms and was promoted from 3rd to 2nd to 1st chair.
As a 1st chair in a felony courtroom, I supervised two prosecutors and was responsible for all of the murder cases that were assigned to that Judge's courtroom. During my years in the Felony Trial Division, I was requested to go back to the Felony Review Unit for two stints as a Trial Supervisor, where I supervised a team of six prosecutors. After returning to the Felony Trial Division, I was recruited to the Gang Prosecution Unit of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
The Gang Unit is comprised of the very best and most experienced prosecutors in the State's Attorney's Office. Here, I vertically prosecuted gang related murder cases before many of the Judges at 26th and California.
During my eleven year career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, I litigated hundreds of pre-trial motions, bench trials and tried seventy felony jury trials, many of which were murder cases. I prosecuted cases and won convictions against some of the best criminal defense attorneys in Cook County.
In 1998, I resigned from the State's Attorney's Office and opened my own law practice, the Law Offices of David Studenroth in Park Ridge. For the past nineteen years I have concentrated in criminal defense of all felony, misdemeanor, DUI and traffic related offenses.
As a private attorney I have tried hundreds of motions to quash arrest and suppress statements, bench trials and two jury trials. I have also worked on civil cases. I drafted complaints, took depositions, prepared and litigated motions in civil court. I conducted pre-trial discovery, answered interrogatories and notices to produce. I participated in settlement conferences. I tried two civil jury trials, one of which resulted in a $1.5 million verdict for my client.
I have practiced and tried cases in every courthouse in Cook County. I have also practiced and tried cases in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Will, Boone and DeKalb County. My experience from both the prosecution and defense side of the criminal justice system, gives me a unique prospective to understand and appreciate the interests and concerns of both sides. My extensive court room and jury trial experience along with my civil experience makes me qualified to be a judge.
I want to bring my vast legal experience to the bench. I would be honored to again serve the citizens of Cook County, this time as a judge.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
On June 21, 2017 the Illinois State Crime Commission honored me with the 2017 Jim Ryan Award for Public Integrity. The Illinois State Crime Commission/ Police Athletic League of Illinois was founded in 1984. It is a non-profit guided youth organization, with a mission to reduce juvenile delinquency and promote positive interaction between law enforcement and communities. The Illinois State Crime Commission goal is to offer insight, creative legislative solutions and assist law enforcement agencies to prevent crime in communities through a unique blend of awareness and activities. I was truly honored adn humbled to receive such a significant award.