Demetri Pete Tsilimigras
Republican candidate for 22nd Circuit 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.
Beginning as a student working in Legal Aid and continuing to, at present, my twentieth year as an Assistant State's Attorney, I have defended, sued, prosecuted, and appealed on behalf of individuals of all backgrounds, spanning six counties in two states, which provides me a unique perspective and breadth of experience.
While working for legal aid clients in Calhoun County, Michigan, I spent countless hours in civil practice working in the areas of landlord/tenant law, social security law, family law, contract disputes, and consumer law. It was here I developed a strong conviction that every person deserves equal access to justice, and every party is entitled to dignity and respect throughout their legal journey.
In addition to providing legal assistance to low-income and indigent clients, I then went on to private practice in Wayne County, Michigan at the law firm of Ferriby & Houston focusing in the area of medical malpractice insurance defense. Later, I gained indispensable knowledge as a judicial law clerk for the Civil, Criminal, Probate, and Family courts in Berrien County, Michigan.
I continued my public service work at the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office as the Supervisor of the Civil Division, assisting in child support and paternity, order of protection, animal control, and mental commitment cases, as well as gaining valuable appellate experience. Here in Illinois, my experience in government law multiplied exponentially with several years as Kane County Assistant States Attorney. Since then, I have dedicated much of my career to criminal law. This provided me with the opportunity to work in divisions such as Misdemeanor, Felony, Juvenile, and Felony Review, as well as DUI, Domestic Violence, and Narcotics Units.
During this time, I was committed to keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe. This was done by aggressively prosecuting the "bad guys" through trying many jury and bench trials. In addition to these trials and hearings, I assisted in obtaining numerous search warrants, and reviewed and authorized countless serious felony charges which has included murders, sexual assaults, robberies, narcotics, and weapons charges.
On the other hand, I understand that people make mistakes and commit less serious crimes due to mental illness, addiction, and/or immaturity. When appropriate, I gave second chances to those who were unlikely to reoffend when given appropriate treatment, cementing my reputation throughout the community as not only a distinguished attorney, but a person of sound judgment and compassion.
As McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney and while Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, I supervised and trained attorneys in all areas of criminal prosecution and was responsible for managing and overseeing thousands of cases in numerous courtrooms. Not only did I perform my duties of keeping dangerous criminals off the streets, I also assisted in the creation and implementation of revolutionary new concepts, such as Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and First Offender Program.
Presently, I mark my twentieth year of legal practice as McHenry County Assistant State's Attorney in the Civil Division representing the various county departments in a broad range of civil litigation matters.
As Judge, I will foster an open and "user-friendly" courtroom environment, that ensures members of the bar and the general public feel welcome to litigate any issue before the Court. I'm committed to providing equal access to justice and respect under the law and a level, unbiased playing field in an open and accessible court. I will:
- Treat all parties, witnesses, and attorneys with patience, civility, and respect.
- Encourage public understanding of the court system through educational efforts.
- Follow the law, not one's personal belief system.
- Be fair and impartial.
- Always have the courage to make the tough choices. Justice demands no less.
- Act with judicial restraint. This means limiting the job to reviewing matters of law and making decisions based upon what the law is, without adding or subtracting anything from the law.
- Uphold the Constitution in all my decisions.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I will be refusing the pension offered by the Judge's Retirement System. I cannot, in good conscience, accept this from a fund which is severely underfunded at the expense of the hardworking Illinois taxpayers.