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Vacancy of Sheila McGinnis

For Cook County Circuit Judge - (Countywide)

Democratic Candidate:

- Brian Terrence Sexton
     - Present Duties: Attorney in Private Practice
     - Website: LinkedIn
     - Rated at "Not Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers
     - Rated at "Not Recommended" by the Cook County Bar Association
     - Response to the Chicago Tribune Questionnaire
     - Campaign Committee: Friends of Brian Sexton

- Peter Michael Gonzalez
     - Present Duties: Cook County Judge - Assigned to Municipal 1 - Traffic
     - Website: http://www.gonzalez4judge.com/ & LinkedIn
     - Rated at "Not Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers
     - Rated at "Recommended" by the Cook County Bar Association
     - Response to the Chicago Tribune Questionnaire
     - Campaign Committee: Committee to Elect Peter Michael Gonzalez

- Bradley R. Trowbridge
     - Present Duties: Attorney in Private Practice
     - Website: http://www.bradforjudge.com/ & YouTube
     - Rated at "Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers
     - Rated at "Recommended" by the Cook County Bar Association
     - Response to the Chicago Tribune Questionnaire
     - Campaign Committee: Friends of Bradley R Trowbridge

Republican Candidate:

- The filing period has ended and no candidate filed for the party's nomination for this position.

ENDORSEMENTS:
- Cook County Democratic Party - Peter Michael Gonzalez

COVERAGE:
- FWIW: Peter Michael Gonzalez sworn in as Circuit Court judge

Chicago Council of Lawyers: "Brian Terrance Sexton was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1987. Since 2017, he has worked as a Solo Practitioner at Brian T. Sexton and Associates, PC in Naperville, IL, where he handles criminal defense and some civil plaintiff and defense matters. From 1987 through 2016, worked for the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, where he was Chief (2010-2016) and Deputy Chief (2009-2010) of the Narcotics Bureau; Supervisor (2004-2009), Deputy Supervisor (1998-2004), and an Assistant State’s Attorney (1994-1998) at the Gang Prosecutions Unit; a Felony Review Trial Supervisor at the Felony Trial Review Unit (1990-1994); and an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Night Narcotics, Felony Review, Juvenile, and Appeals Divisions (1987-1990). Mr. Sexton is considered to have good legal ability and is praised for his legal knowledge and trial skills. Lawyers and judges say he has a good temperament. He has substantial experience in complex criminal law matters, and, most recently, in civil litigation matters. The Council, however, must balance these favorable views with the fact that there have been multiple occasions where the Illinois Appellate Court has reversed convictions because of Mr. Sexton's improper conduct. The grounds for these reversals include a Batson violation in one appeal; improperly commenting on a defendant's exercise of the right not to testify in another appeal; and, in a third appeal, using rebuttal argument to accuse a defendant and defense counsel of trying to "fix" the case. Additionally, in cases where the Appellate Court has affirmed conviction, Mr. Sexton's conduct has been criticized, writing in one case that Sexton's remarks in closing argument "troubled" the Court because his closing included comments that "we repeatedly have held cross the line of propriety."

Chicago Council of Lawyers: "Peter Michael Gonzalez was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1994. Since 2013, he has been a solo practitioner whose main focus is criminal defense, but who also handles matters that include domestic relations, employment, licensing, and immigration. He has also worked as an administrative law judge in the Illinois Department of Employment Security (2003-2013) and as an Assistant Public Defender in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office (1994-2003), where his assignments included Juvenile Delinquency, Juvenile Abuse and Neglect, Preliminary Hearings, Night Narcotics, and the Felony Trial Division. Since 2012, he has been a Member of 10 the Lawyer’s Auxiliary Board of the Illinois Judges Foundation. In 2005 and 2007, he was disciplined by his employer, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, for discourtesy during hearings he conducted as an administrative law judge. In 2013, the Council stated that, “Mr. Gonzalez is reported to have good legal ability and his earlier career involved substantial litigation matters. He was praised for his temperament as defense counsel, and is considered to be a good defense lawyer. The Council, however, is concerned about negative reports concerning his current role as an administrative hearing officer. He is reported to be inappropriately impatient and rude to litigants. He is criticized for the disrespectful manner in which he sometimes treats witnesses. On balance, the Council finds him Not Qualified for the Circuit Court.” Since 2013, Mr. Gonzalez has been a solo practitioner and has received positive marks for his work. But the Council continues to be concerned about Mr. Gonzalez’s temperament."

Chicago Council of Lawyers: "Bradley R. Trowbridge was admitted to practice in Illinois in 2000. Prior to law school he served as a social worker. Since 2004 he has served as a solo practitioner focusing on domestic relations issues. He has worked as a staff attorney at the Chicago Department of Law; a staff attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago; and as an associate with Audrey Gaynor & Associates. He has done domestic violence order of protection pro bono work. Mr. Trowbridge is considered to have good legal ability. He has had substantial litigation experience in a variety of areas. Judges and practitioners praise his litigation skills. A few respondents questioned his temperament[.]"

 

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