(From the December 2015 Issue)
Thomas Jefferson once said, “The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all of its citizens.” The principle of justice is one of many values that have shaped the life and career of Judge Joe Bugos. A survey of his life reveals that in addition to justice, his education and life experience manifest the values of fairness, hard work, community, and faith.
Judge Bugos is the oldest of seven children. His ethic of hard work began when he was in high school working at Jewel as a stocker and bag boy, and for a dairy company. He attended Marist high school in Chicago. After a sound Catholic upbringing and education, Judge Bugos attended the University of Notre Dame where he majored in finance. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University in Chicago. After graduating from law school, Judge Bugos worked for the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office where he worked both in the misdemeanor and felony criminal divisions. From there, he went into private practice and had a successful career in criminal defense. For nearly 26 years, Judge Bugos practiced as a criminal defense attorney. He worked with the firm of Donahue, Jorgensen, Sowa and Bugos, and then as a sole practitioner in Wheaton. He had a high caliber criminal defense practice which included both misdemeanor and more serious capital crimes. His most memorable case involved a client charged with reckless homicide. This high profile homicide case required both precision trial skills, and deft representation of the client in a public media environment. Judge Bugos was successful in getting his client acquitted. However, the story didn’t end there. The acquitted client so respected the representation by Judge Bugos and the legal processes, he went on to attend law school and become a practicing attorney himself.
Since May 2015, Judge Bugos has been a DuPage County Associate Judge in the traffic division where he is applying his 30 years of legal analysis and values of good temperament, fairness, and hard work. Judge Bugos’ sense of fairness stems from a 30-year career in the practice of law. This allows him to view the case on the facts and merits and not pre-judge the outcome of any case regardless of the nature of the crime or the individuals involved.
Judge Bugos loves the law and is actively involved in the DuPage County Bar Association. He is a past chair of the DCBA Criminal Law Committee. He also served on the Judiciary Committee and is involved in the Lawyers Lend a Hand program. In addition, Judge Bugos enjoys spending time with his family, is an avid reader, and loves to stay fit and active by playing tennis and biking with friends and family. He also loves to travel, having visited United Kingdom, Spain and Italy among other places.