Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (2nd Subcircuit (Turner Jr. 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 am running for judge because I believe that Justice in our legal system should include everyone, no matter where you live, what neighborhood you are from, or how you look.
I have spent the last fifteen years inside the courtroom fighting for the rights of the voiceless. That courtroom experience coupled, with my commitment to the community, gives me a unique understanding of how our legal system impacts everyone, including families and the communities those families call home. Justice is about people, not politics.
As a judge, I promise to treat everyone that enters my courtroom with dignity, respect, and fairness. Those are the ideals that have compelled me to run for judge. Licensed for over fifteen years, I have spent the majority of my career working as a criminal defense attorney in the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender.
I represent the poor, working-class and the underrepresented. In that capacity, I have litigated cases in the Child Protection, Misdemeanor and Felony Trial Divisions. I have been assigned to the Felony Trial Division of my office for over a decade.
As a result, I have acquired extensive court room experience, litigating the most complex of cases. I have litigated over 100 trials in front of juries and judges, including complex murder, attempt murder, and criminal sexual assault cases. These cases require a wide knowledge of the law and an ability to analyze legal issues instantly and competently.
In my career, I have had to either direct or cross examine countless expert witnesses, ranging from medical doctors, to psychologists, chemical analysts, and forensic scientists. Litigating complex felony cases means that my litigation practice extends beyond trial but also includes a rigorous motion practice. However, my experience does not end in the criminal defense arena. Working in the Cook County Public Defender's Child Protection division, I conducted several depositions of expert witnesses, in addition to litigating numerous civil bench trials, contested motions and termination of parental rights hearings.
I am also a licensed real estate broker. In my real estate practice, I have conducted numerous real estate transactions as either the real estate attorney or real estate broker. I love being able to help families attain their own piece of the American dream.
Growing up in a working class union home, I learned to value hard work and work ethic. My father is a retired marine and union worker. After I began college, my mother was encouraged to attend and became a proud union member as a licensed practical nurse. Those guiding principles of hard work and work ethic are why I am a proud union member. It is also why I have a deep connection to the poor and working-class in our communities.
As the oldest child of my family, I was the first in my family to graduate from a four year college and to attend graduate school. I graduated with a dual Bachelor's degree in Economics and Public Administration from Augustana College and attended Washington University School of Law, in St. Louis for law school. When you are the first in your family to become an attorney, there are sometimes hard lessons that you learn along the way.
When my mother was pregnant with me at fifteen, Stevie Wonder's song "Isn't she Lovely" was playing on the radio. That song was dedicated to his newly born daughter Aisha, same name but different spelling. I am humbled to think that the product of such humble beginnings, is now in the run for judge.
I proudly state that I am qualified, have extensive courtroom knowledge and believe firmly that my life journey and professional experiences have aptly prepared me to take on the role of judge.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I started playing the alto saxophone in fifth grade and played well into my college years. Those early years of learning to appreciate music grew my love for jazz music.