Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest Village Attorney Mathias Delort is one of 31 new associate judges, selected in a vote of Cook County Circuit Court judges. The names were released March 5 by Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
Ballots listing the names of 62 finalists, chosen from 242 candidates, were distributed to 273 circuit judges. Ballots were due March 2, 2007.
The Alliance of Bar Associations and the Chicago Bar Association evaluated the candidates. Each candidate was interviewed by a nine member nominating committee, comprised of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of the Cook County Circuit Court and eight presiding judges.
Judge Evans certified the 62 finalists to the Administrative Director on February 2, 2007.
In accordance with the 1970 Illinois Constitution, the Administrative Office conducted the election pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39 which directs that twice as many candidates as vacancies be nominated.
Reached by phone, Delort commented on the appointment, "The voters elect the circuit judges. The circuit judges appoint the associate judges. Technically the 31 new judges have been appointed for a three month term. We expect that we will all be retained next July for a full 3 year term."
Delort further explained the appointment, "We have a unified court system. The associate and circuit judges are assigned by chief judge wherever he wants to send them. An associate judge cannot hear certain kinds of felony cases, except by special permission." He said that in September of 2005, almost 300 lawyers applied for an appointment. There was then a period of a year and a half of interviews and screening. Every candidate received ratings during the process. "I did not get a negative rating from any bar association," Delort said. This followed with another interview, and the field was narrowed to 62 candidates. "I found out I was on the 'short list' in February," Delort said. This was followed with what Delort termed "mini-interviews" with almost every circuit court judge in Cook County.
Cook County Associate judges serve a four year term and receive an annual salary of $147,074. By Supreme Court Rule, however, the term for all associate judges will expire on June 30, 2007, regardless of when they were appointed. The thirty-one judges just appointed, as well as those associate judges currently serving, must be reappointed July 1, 2007. Cook County seats 121 associate judges.
Delort, a Chicago resident, was admitted to the Bar November 7, 1985. He attended DePaul University in Chicago, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in 1981. He attended the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, receiving his J.D. (Juris Doctor) in 1985. He currently works with Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton, & Taylor, Ltd., the firm which represents the Village of Park Forest. Delort said he expects his firm will carry on with the Village of Park Forest.
The official installation of the entire group of 31 new judges (all at once) will be on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. in the Auditorium in the lower level of the Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street, Chicago. This event will be about one hour in length. This event is open to the public.
Source: Press Release from Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.