Sheree D. Henry
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (2nd Subcircuit (Willis 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 have been a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois since 1994. I have been a voice for families in the judicial system as a public guardian and public defender whether it has been in or out of the courtroom. My career in public service began when I became a Chicago police explorer at the 3rd. District Police Station in high school.
The Program's sponsor, Officer Bradley, was very committed to teaching me the importance of serving the community. I learned how to provide assistance to people in need and how the public relied on the police as a calming influence. As a police explorer, I helped maintain safety community picnics and parades. I even helped in the neighborhood with block club cleanups events. After graduating from high school, I joined the Illinois National Guard and attended Bradley University. I did my basic training during my first summer in college and my AIT training the next summer. In addition to that, I attended military training one weekend out of the month. I began my legal career working for the law firm of Ayesha S. Hakeem and Associates.
For six months, I negotiated monetary benefits and/or job reinstatement for my clients. However, my desire to help voiceless children and their families led me to the Cook County Public Guardian's Office. As an assistant public guardian, I worked tirelessly to represent abused and neglected children. It was important for me to focus my legal career helping the voiceless.
Currently, I am an Assistant Cook County Public Defender. I have litigated felony and misdemeanor cases at branch courts all over Cook County. When I was assigned to 26th and California, I handled a felony caseload. I am presently assigned to the Markham Courthouse where I handle a felony caseload of over 70 cases. Through bench and jury trials, I have litigated a number of cases: residential burglary, sexual assault, murder and other forcible felonies.
Additionally, I volunteer to represent all the clients who are accepted into the Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veteran Court programs in the Markham Courthouse. These specialty courts teach sobriety, life coping skills and health maintenance tools so that our clients do not reenter the criminal justice system.
I was found qualified or recommended for the associate judge position this summer by all the following bar associations that participated in the judicial screening process: Asian American Bar Associations of the Greater Chicago Area, Black Women Lawyer's Association of Greater Chicago, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Hellenic Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Illinois State Bar Association, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Women's Bar Association of Illinois. I have worked in courtrooms all over Cook County from 26th and California, to Markham Courthouse and branch courts in the city of Chicago.
Through these experiences, I have had the opportunity to practice before a number of great judges. The one common factor that all the judges shared was the care and consideration that they had for law and for the people who came before them in court. When the parties left their courtroom, they knew that the judge heard them, followed the law and that the ruling was fair.
I strengthen my community by volunteering at a local food pantry and speaking to teenagers about their interactions with the criminal justice system in schools and churches. I have participated in the 6th District Annual Courthouse Mock Trial Competition. I am a member of the Homewood Veteran's Committee as well as the Democratic Women of South Suburbs.
I am also a member of Trinity United Church of Christ and am an active participant in its Adopt-A-College Student ministry. My commitment to public service along with the two decades of legal experience will make me an excellent judge. Through my work in and out of the courtroom, I have seen how much the public relies on the judicial system as a voice of reason I am running because every case is important and each person deserves to know that the judge is listening to him or her and that they will receive a fair day in court. In my courtroom, I will treat all people with fairness, respect and compassion. Justice can only come through fairness — and TLC - Toughness, Love and Compassion.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I was in the Illinois Natiional Guard for 8 years.