Since announcing my plans to run for Appellate Court Judge, many people throughout the district have shown their overwhelming support for my candidacy. In DuPage County alone, more than a dozen senators, representatives, county board members and other officials are endorsing me. I am grateful for their support and encouragement and for the similar level of support I have in the other 12 counties that comprise the 2nd district.
I made the decision to run for office, in part, at the urging of several of the district’s state’s attorneys, who feel there is a strong need for someone with my credentials on the Appellate Court. If elected, I would bring to the bench more than 25 years of law and law enforcement experience.
Here’s a brief overview of my background:
I was raised in DuPage County, attended Visitation Elementary school in Elmhurst and St. Francis High School in Wheaton. My wife, Terri, and I have maintained a home on the border of Richmond, IL, and Wisconsin for 15 years, and we now live on a farm in rural McHenry County. Terri, who is a pediatrician and a lawyer, attended law school at the University of Illinois and later attended medical school at Northwestern University.
I began my professional career in 1973 when I joined the Chicago Police Department. I worked as a patrol officer and tactical investigator, earning 53 honorable mentions during my eight-year career.
While working full time as a police officer, I attended Loyola University and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, Magna Cum Laude, in 1978. After graduation, I spent a year in New York as a Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell University Law School, where I was invited to join the Cornell Law Journal based upon my first year academic performance.
I returned to Chicago and rejoined the police department in 1979. While working full time, I also attended the University of Chicago Law School full time, where I was an Edwin F. Mandel Fellow. I received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago in 1981.
My police background, coupled with my education, made me an unconventional job applicant. I chose the most interesting offer I received and transferred from the City’s police department to the law department because I wanted the trial experience. At that time, the City had a need for someone with my background because it was embroiled in litigation with the federal government regarding racial quotas in the police and fire departments. I tried my first federal case, United States v. City of Chicago, before the Honorable Prentice Marshall within months after passing the bar exam. The years I spent with the City provided me with tremendous opportunities to try cases in federal and state courts as defense counsel, plaintiff’s counsel and as a prosecutor.
In 1983, I joined Winston & Strawn. As a litigation associate and then partner, I represented a variety of clients in federal and state courts. My practice included commercial contractual disputes, employment disputes, litigation aspects of regulatory matters, international reinsurance treaty arbitrations and antitrust. A high point at Winston came in 1986. In a trial team led by Terry Grimm, we persuaded a federal jury in Indiana to award $181 million to our client. The Seventh Circuit upheld that verdict in an opinion written by my professor from a few years earlier, Richard Posner.
In 1990, I was elected Cook County State’s Attorney over a Democratic incumbent and became the only Republican countywide office holder. In 1992, I was re-elected by an overwhelming margin. As State’s Attorney, I led the effort to pass truth-in-sentencing legislation, ending the early release of violent criminals. Under my leadership, the State’s Attorney’s office increased violent crime convictions by 16 percent, while reducing reversals on appeal by 32 percent. I initiated violence prevention education programs; slashed "pinstripe patronage" by $20 million; and instituted merit-based hiring and promotion.
In the State’s Attorney’s office we handled tens of thousands of appeals, and I made a point to argue cases personally before the Supreme Court. I also was a member of the board of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, which handles all appeals for the 101 counties other than Cook.
Most recently, I served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for G.E. Marquette Medical Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of the General Electric Company. My years at GE have broadened my experience to include transactional corporate law, patent and trademark law as well as general business experience.
I always have been involved in community and law enforcement groups. I am past president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Association and served as vice president of the National District Attorneys’ Association. I am a former member of the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Working Group; the Chicago Bar Association Court Liaison Committee; the University of Chicago Visiting Committee; and the U.S. Presidential Commission on Model State Drug Laws. I am a member of the boards of directors of the National Association for Charter Schools, Misericordia and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
I believe my experience as a prosecutor, police officer, civil trial lawyer and corporate lawyer, coupled with my civic and professional affiliations, makes me uniquely qualified for the role of Appellate Court Judge. Many officials in DuPage County agree.
Among those in DuPage County endorsing my candidacy are: Attorney General Jim Ryan; Chairwoman Barbara Murphy; Legislators Dan Cronin, Kirk Dillard, Doris Karpiel, Christine Radogno, Bob Biggins, Jim Durkin, Jim Meyer, Vincent Persico, Kay Wojcik and Anne Zickus; County Board Members Kyle Gilgis, Jim Healy, Roger Jenisch and Jim Zay; and Elmhurst Police Chief John Milner. Several state officials also are endorsing my candidacy, including 12 of the 13 state’s attorneys (one is neutral); Gov. George H. Ryan; State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka; former Gov. James R. Thompson; and retired Appellate Judge Daniel Doyle.
I am proud of my record and would appreciate your support. Feel free to contact my campaign office in Naperville at 630-357-0492 or at www.ibackjack.com.