Cook Co. voters formally elect 33 judges, including ex-law clerk accused of impersonating judge

By Jonathan Bilyk | Nov 10, 2016

Cook County voters have formally selected permanent replacements for 11 departed circuit court judges and 22 judges assigned to Cook County’s judicial subcircuits - including an ex-law clerk accused of impersonating a judge - casting ballots in judicial elections in early voting and on Election Day, Nov. 8.

All 11 of the candidates for circuit judge, each of whom were nominated by the Democratic Party, ran unopposed, as the Republican Party failed to field a single candidate for any of the judicial posts.

Those formally securing election to the Cook County Circuit Court bench included judicial candidates John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Rossana Patricia Fernandez, Alison C. Conlon, Aleksandra “Alex” Gillespie, Carolyn J. Gallagher, Mary Kathleen McHugh, Brendan A. O’Brien, Maureen O’Donoghue Hannon, Susanna L. Ortiz, Daniel Patrick Duffy and Patrick Joseph Powers.

In the county’s judicial subcircuits, several races were contested, particularly in the 12th Subcircuit.

In that judicial district, which includes portions of New Trier, Northfield, Wheeling, Elk Grove and Maine townships, both the Republican and Democratic parties fielded candidates.

In the contest to replace Judge Joseph G. Kazmierski Jr., Democrat Marguerite Anne Quinn secured 69,596 votes, about 52 percent of the ballots cast, defeating Republican Thomas William Flannigan, according to unofficial results posted by the Cook County Clerk’s office.

In the race to replace Judge Veronica B. Mathein, Republican James Leonard Allegretti bested Democrat Janet Cronin Mahoney. Allegretti won 72,570 votes, about 54 percent of the ballots cast.

To fill the vacancy of Judge Sandra Tristano, Democrat Carrie Hamilton edged out Republican David Studenroth. Hamilton collected 69,270 votes, about 51 percent of the vote.

And in the race to fill a position labeled “Additional Judgeship A,” Republican Steven A. Kozicki defeated Democrat James Edward Hanlon Jr. Kozicki received 70,796 votes, or about 52 percent of the total.

Also, in the 13th Judicial Subcircuit, in the contest to replace Judge Thomas P. Fecarotta, Republican Kevin Michael O’Donnell edged Democrat Ketki “Kay” Steffen, winning 65,871 votes, or about 51 percent of the total. The 13th Subcircuit includes Schaumburg, Hanover, Barrington and Palatine townships and a portion of Wheeling Township.

In the county’s other judicial subcircuits, candidates – all Democratic – again ran unopposed.

Among them was Rhonda Crawford, a lawyer and former law clerk who was fired from her position at the Cook County Circuit Court for allegedly impersonating a judge from the bench during court proceedings while wearing judicial robes. The Illinois Supreme Court has suspended Crawford’s law license, and has barred her from being sworn in as a judge, pending the outcome of the state investigation into the accusations against her. Crawford has also been charged by Cook County prosecutors in connection with the alleged incident.

Despite the actions taken against her so far, Crawford secured 85,611 votes in her campaign to fill the vacancy of Judge Vanessa A. Hopkins on Cook County’s 1st Judicial Subcircuit, according to unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk's office and the Chicago Board of Elections. That judicial subcircuit includes large portions of Chicago’s southeast side, and of the eastern half of Thornton Township.

Other judges who ran unopposed securing seats on Cook County’s various subcircuits, included: Jesse Outlaw, 1st Subcircuit; D. Renee Jackson, 2nd Subcircuit; Edward J. King, 4th Subcircuit; on the 5th Subcircuit - Leonard Murray, Freddrenna M. Lyle and Daryl Jones;  on the 6th Subcircuit – Eulalia De La Rosa, Richard C. Cooke and Anna Loftus; on the 7th Subcircuit – Marianne Jackson and Patricia S. Spratt; Jerry Esrig, 9th Subcircuit; Eve Marie Reilly, 10th Subcircuit; on the 11th Subcircuit – Catherine Ann Schneider and William B. Sullivan; and Matthew Link, 14th Subcircuit.

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