Michael I. O'Malley
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (Clay 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 graduated from the John Marshall Law School, which I attended at night while I worked full-time at J.P. Morgan Chase.
After graduating from law school, I began working for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in the Child Support Enforcement Unit. In this unit, I participated in hearings to determine the amount of child support a noncustodial parent would have to pay to the custodial parent for the care of the children. I personally participated in hundreds of hearings in the both the informal hearing rooms and the various courtrooms.
I was also responsible for the drafting of pleadings and research of legal issues. After eighteen months in the Child Support Unit, I was transferred to the Criminal Prosecutions Division and was assigned to the misdemeanor courtrooms in Maywood, Illinois. I was responsible for the prosecution of various types of misdemeanor cases. In this unit, I was able to obtain invaluable experience participating in hundreds of hearings and trials, including many jury trials.
I was also responsible for researching and writing motions and other pleadings. I personally litigated over 250 trials and hundreds of evidentiary hearings. I also conducted hundreds of preliminary hearings and presented matters before the grand jury. I was then transferred to the Felony Review Unit. In this unit I assisted with police investigations. I interviewed victims, witnesses and defendants on a variety of serious felony investigations including murders, armed robbery and sexual abuse of children.
I was assigned to the Child Advocacy Center for six months. During this six months, I dealt exclusively with cases involving children who were the victims of sexual abuse or violent crimes. I was responsible for reviewing evidence and approving or reject criminal charges against the targets of these investigations. I was then transferred to the Felony Trial Division and assigned to the 6th Municipal District in Markham, Illinois.
In this unit I was responsible for the prosecution of various felony cases. I tried bench and jury trials, and argued motions on behalf of the People of the State of Illinois. After my assignment in Markham I was transferred to the Public Corruption and Financial Crimes Unit of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. I assisted both local and federal law enforcement agencies in their investigations of complex financial crimes and public corruption matters. I helped investigators obtain search warrants and wire taps.
I also organized a task force which was focused on money laundering and narcotics trafficking. This task force included law enforcement personal from Chicago, Cook County and the DEA. I also lead the investigation and prosecution into seven individuals who stole nearly $1,000,000 from the Chicago Public Schools, and a husband an wife who stole from a south suburban fire district.
I am currently assigned to the Civil Actions Bureau. I represent the Cook County Treasurer, Cook County Assessor and the Board of Review in a variety of matters revolving around real estate tax issues. I am responsible for conducting trials, depositions, responding to written pleadings and filing appeals.
While in this role, for over two years, I have been able to develop my skills and understanding of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is much different than practicing in the criminal courts. While working in the Civil Actions Bureau, I have been able to utilize both my legal skills which have been developed over 12 years as well as my knowledge and skills I obtained while working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) at JP Morgan.
I have become an expert in my current field and have been and instructor for a continue legal education seminars given by the Chicago Bar Association in the area of real estate tax. My experience at the State's Attorney's Office has allowed me to gain experience in many different and distinct areas of law. I have also personally tried hundreds of bench trials and hundreds of evidentiary hearings. I have also tried many jury trials at both the felony and misdemeanor levels. I have appeared in many courthouses throughout Cook County, including the Leighton Criminal Courts Building, the Daley Center, the 2nd, 4th 5th, 6th Municipal Districts. I have appeared before dozens of judges and learned from some of the best Cook County has to offer. Because of this and the vast legal experience I have been able to obtain, I know that I will make an excellent jurist and that is why I am seeking this position. I believe the citizens of Cook County are deserving of a judiciary that is fair and knowledgeable. I have both of those qualities.
As a criminal prosecutor, I have obtained extensive knowledge trial practice and the rules of evidence. As a civil practitioner, I have developed a solid understanding of civil practice. I bring a unique set of skills to the bench as someone who has practiced in both criminal courts and the civil courts. As such, I can sit on the bench with a firm grasp of all matters that appear before me as a judge in the criminal courts or the civil courts.
I believe the quality of the judiciary in Cook County is declining because judges are getting elected or appointed without the skills I possess; the skills which are necessary to be a quality judge for the citizens of Cook County.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I think people would be surprised to learn that I have passed the Certified Public Accounting Exam (CPA) and that I use to work at some of the largest corporations in Chicago, including Aon, Northern Trust Company, and JP Morgan Chase and Company. Despite this fact, I have chosen to forego a large corporate salary and devote my legal career to public service.