Preston Jones Jr.
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (Flanagan 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 a Cook County Public Defender for 23 years before being appointed to the bench. I spent the last 13 years as a member of Homicide Task Force which is my former Office's most elite unit.
The most infamous case I tried is the Brown's Chicken case, one of the most complex criminal cases ever tried in Cook County. The trial team consisted of four other attorneys. The trial and sentencing lasted over six weeks and involved dozens of witnesses.
While we lost the guilt/innocence phase, we managed to save our client from the death penalty. I was lead counsel on several other death penalty cases before its abolition. I have served as lead counsel on dozens of jury and bench trials, most of them murders.
I received my BA and JD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have been found Recommended or Qualified by all bar associations in the Alliance of Bar Associations, and I have been found Highly Qualified by the Chicago Bar Association.
I was slated by the Democratic Party of Cook County for the Flanagan Vacancy and was then chosen by the Illinois Supreme Court for appointment to that same vacancy. I was sworn in on September 25, 2017, and currently preside in Traffic Court at the Daley Center.
I was born in the Austin community and continued to attend a neighborhood school on Jackson and Laramie even after my family moved to Bellwood. As an African-American male, I feel it is vitally important to be a role model for members of my race but especially for my sons. I have a son on the Autism spectrum and coach AYSO VIP soccer for physically and developmentally disabled boys and girls in the Spring and Fall because I want him and his teammates to have the same experiences as other children.
I hope to instill in my children the values of hard work, fairness, and compassion as my parents instilled in me. Being a judge is a dream come true and it is profoundly gratifying to serve the citizens of Cook County in this capacity. I believe the law should be applied fairly to all litigants regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, nation of origin, religious beliefs, or gender identity.
I am fair, impartial, and experienced, and I possess the knowledge, integrity, and temperament necessary to be effective. Being a judge gives me the ability to touch more lives and help more people than I could as an attorney. All I have ever known is public service, and I would like to continue my public service in this role.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I have played basketball weekly with the same group of guys for 20 years. I signed up for a basketball league through the park district in 1997, and the rest is history. We are an eclectic group of middle-aged Oak Park dads from almost every possible racial and religious background, and I count them among my closest friends.