Debra A. Seaton
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (2nd Subcircuit (Willis 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.
As a young girl growing up in Chicago (Chatham, Auburn and Englewood neighborhoods) attending Chicago Public Schools, I developed a desire to become a lawyer. After seeing Perry Mason on television. I was convinced that I wanted to be a trial lawyer in courtrooms.
I started down a path preparing to go to law school by attending Lindblom Technical H.S; Illinois Institute of Technology ( IIT), University of Iowa for both undergraduate and law school. As a research assistant, clerk in the Linn County P.D.'s office, moot court participant, criminal law began to fashion where I wanted to take my legal career.
I worked at the Office of the State Appellate Defender in Mount Vernon as my first job. I then moved from appellate work to trial work at the Kane County Public Defender's Office in Geneva, Illinois. I then transferred to the Cook County Public Defender's Office until private practice. While in private practice, I was appointed to three death penalty cases, including the Andre Crawford serial killer case.
After trying that case as lead counsel, I became a supervisor in the Cook County Public Defender's Office where I remained until I was appointed to the bench. Being a judge is a position I aspired to for many years. As a trial lawyer and advocate, I was a voice for the voiceless. Now, as a judge, I am a gatekeeper of justice. I was honored to be appointed as a circuit court judge by the Illinois Supreme Court on May 18, 2017 by Justice Mary J. Theis.
Knowledge of the law, legal experience, empathy and compassion for people were all hallmarks of my legal career for over 25 years. I bring that experience to the bench along with a commitment to fairness, justice and due process for all litigants who appear before me. I am a firm; but fair judge who tries very hard to have effective case management and administration of the court.
My prior experience in juvenile, criminal law (misdemeanor and felony), traffic, mental health, capital litigation (death penalty), civil law, child support, visitation both as a public defender and private attorney have prepared me and given me a breadth of experience. I have been found qualified / recommended by all bar association and highly qualified / recommended by three bar associations. My judicial philosophy is justice tempered with mercy.
As a judge, I must be fair to all sides and all communities that appear before me. I must ensure that due process is extend to everyone including self-represented persons. During my legal career as a trial lawyer, I worked hard as an advocate to ensure that a just result occurred. Now, I work hard to ensure that people sense that I as a judge was just in handling their case; irrespective of the result.
For all of these reasons, I believe that I am qualified remain a circuit court judge and that the voters "Keep Seaton's Seat on the Bench"
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I love modern dance.