Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (6th Subcircuit (Chevere 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 was appointed to fill the judicial vacancy of Judge Gloria Chevere in the sixth judicial sub-circuit of Cook County. I am running to retain that position in the March 2018 Democratic primary and would be honored to have the Chicago Tribune endorsement.
The Illinois Supreme Court reviewed my credentials, conducted an exhaustive background investigation and appointed me to the position of Circuit Court Judge by unanimous decision in October 2016. I have been a licensed attorney for more than 20 years and received positive ratings from every evaluating bar association in 2012.
In addition to my legal career, I have been active in my community through several neighborhood associations, assisted in pro bono immigration summits as an attorney, fought for ALS and breast cancer awareness through various organizations, and assisted many of my neighbors through the law office I opened and ran in my community for ten years before becoming a Judge My twenty years of experience in the legal field have prepared me for the position of Circuit Court Judge.
The first ten years of my legal career were spent as an Assistant Cook County State's Attorney. That experience served as the cornerstone of my legal development as I worked through the Appellate, Municipal and Felony Divisions. I took thousands of cases to hearings and trials, and worked with many experienced lawyers on complex criminal cases on behalf of victims throughout Cook County. I tried more than 25 murder cases and hundreds of violent offender cases.
At the time of my departure, I was assigned as the lead supervising attorney in a felony courtroom where I was responsible for more than three hundred cases including dozens of murder and sexual assault cases. While at the State's Attorney's Office, I received award from the Constance Morris House "for my commitment and service to victims of domestic violence."
I spent the next ten years establishing my own legal practice. I opened my law office in a neighborhood storefront on the corner of Western and Augusta. Over these years I developed my practice by taking cases as they came through the door; often helping neighbors who were in need pro bono. My primary practice areas were criminal, traffic, probate, immigration, and real estate. Helping people from the neighborhood with a variety of legal issues has was rewarding and provided me with a well-rounded base of legal knowledge The ability to practice in opposing fields, with a wide range of issues has allowed me to gain a perspective from different points of view and become knowledgeable in many different areas of the law.
This myriad of experience has prepared me to tackle any legal challenge and makes me a versatile asset as a member of the Judiciary. On October 4, 2017 I was appointed as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court and was sworn in on January 4, 2017.
I was assigned to the traffic division where I presided over petty and misdemeanor traffic violations. After six weeks in the traffic division I was transferred to the probate division where I currently sit and preside over cases involving the administration of decedents' estates and the creation and administration of adult and minor guardianship estates.
I have the experience, temperament and knowledge to be a fair and impartial Judge. I have tried thousands of cases and motions over the last 20 years and have practiced in both criminal and civil law. I have dedicated myself to the law and practiced in many different areas. I pride myself on my reputation for fairness and integrity and this attribute was acknowledged by the Cook County Bar Association with the 2017 Judicial Award. This reputation is a result of my actions and treatment of others over the course of my legal career.
As an Assistant State's Attorney I was well regarded by Judges, defense attorneys, colleagues and courtroom personnel based on my demeanor, fairness and treatment of everyone I encountered. My services were routinely requested by Judges as they knew I could be trusted, was knowledgeable, and always prepared.
My reputation followed me into private practice and was maintained because I followed the same principles of fairness and integrity in my treatment of others and advocacy of my clients rights. I was routinely other attorneys' first phone call when they encountered complex issues in their cases. I treat everyone with the same respect and dignity that I want to be treated with regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
It is important that we elect qualified Judges who possess the intelligence, temperament and humility to positively serve the people of Cook County and bring confidence to the judiciary. I am hopeful that you will conclude that I am worthy of the position and will endorse my candidacy for the position of Circuit Court Judge for the Hon. Gloria Chevere vacancy in the sixth judicial sub-circuit. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
My father was born in a small village in the Peruvian jungle and immigrated to the United States in 1966. My brothers and I became our family's first generation of North Americans. My father came to the United States - like so many immigrants before and after - to create better opportunity for his family and to pursue education and employment. I benefited greatly from the opportunities my family provided and the diversity of my upbringing. I was raised in a vibrant home always filled with visiting relatives, many of whom shared the same —often challenging — immigrant experience. Growing up in a family that came to this country from a remote part of the hemisphere instilled in me an appreciation for the American Dream, a strong work ethic and sense of duty and determination to succeed. It has also given me a unique perspective into the plight of minority immigrants and the challenges they face. This background shaped the lawyer I became and provided the bedrock for the qualities I bring to the bench — a commitment to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law regardless of background.