Seven out of 16 new Cook County associate judges, whose names were announced May 21, attended the Loyola School of Law, according to a press release from the Illinois Courts.
Gerald Vernon Patrick Cleary III, Jean Mary Golden, Sanju Oommen Green, Stephanie Kathryn Miller, Margaret Mary Ogarek, Lori Michelle Rosen and Patrick Thomas Stanton all bring Loyola law degrees to their new positions in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Associate judges and circuit judges are both part of the Circuit Court. Illinois is divided into 23 judicial circuits, with each circuit operated by a chief judge under the authority of the Illinois Supreme Court. The current Chief Judge for Cook County is Timothy Evans.
Circuit judges are able to hear any case assigned to them by the chief judge, whereas associate judges cannot hear cases in which the defendant is charged with a felony offense, unless given permission by the Supreme Court.
According to the release, Cook County currently seats 146 associate judges, not including the 16 that were recently elected. Associate judges are appointed by Circuit Judges and serve four-year terms. The new associate judges will be sworn in on June 29.
The 16 associate judges elected were chosen by 252 current Cook County Circuit Court judges. The ballot listed 34 finalists that were selected from an initial 272 candidates, the release said.
There is room for a 17th associate judge, but the spot is vacant due to a tie. Levander Smith, Jr. and James Adolph Wright, the two candidates who tied, will be placed on a runoff ballot.
According to Pat Milhizer, the director of communications for the Circuit Court of Cook County, 52 of the 382 judges in the Circuit Court of Cook County are graduates of the Loyola School of Law.
Golden, one of the seven newly elected Loyola alums who was admitted to the bar in 1977, said Loyola School of Law graduates have always been prevalent in the Illinois legal community.
“I am very proud that so many Loyola Law School graduates are included in the new group of associate judges,” Golden said. “Loyola has always had a significant impact in the Illinois legal community, and I’m honored to have been selected.”