Injustice Watch

Winners and losers of the 2022 Cook County judicial primary election

Editor’s note: The election results in this story are preliminary and could still change. We will update this story as official results become available. With most of the votes in Tuesday’s Cook County judicial primary election counted, 26 new judges are poised to move into their first six-year terms on the Cook County Circuit Court. The First District Appellate Court will welcome two new justices for 10-year terms. One race will be decided in the November election, as Democratic and Republican candidates will face off to fill a vacancy in the northwest-suburban 13th subcircuit.
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Why are these judges running for judge?

When Cook County voters head to the polls Tuesday, one of the most daunting choices that they’ll face is who to send to the bench. Voters have 75 judicial candidates to sift through in this year’s primary election — most of them for seats on the Cook County Circuit Court.
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Hundreds more Black Chicagoans are pleading guilty to gun-possession charges. Here’s one possible reason why.

This story is the first in a series looking at gun-possession arrests and prosecutions in Cook County, published in partnership with Block Club Chicago and The Circuit. In March 2020, Doryion Booker was putting in extra hours driving for Uber to save up for his wife’s birthday present. The day before her birthday, a Chicago police officer pulled him over on the West Side for not having proper lighting over his license plate.

Burge torture taxpayer tab eclipses $210M — and counting

Fifteen years ago, my colleagues at the People’s Law Office and I were engaged in a legal and political battle with the city of Chicago over police torture. Then-corporation counsel Mara Georges was threatening to renege on a settlement agreement that had been reached on behalf of several torture survivors who had been awarded innocence pardons by former Gov. George Ryan.

Cook County judge removed by voters in 2020 seeks return to the bench

For the first time in Illinois history, a former judge who was voted out of office is running to get back on the bench. In 2020, Jackie Marie Portman-Brown became only the second sitting judge in 30 years to lose a retention election in Cook County. Her dozen years on the bench came to a controversial end after she was abruptly reassigned to administrative duties following an incident with her 6-year-old grandniece in February 2020. Security camera footage captured her leaving the girl for about 10 minutes in an empty, locked cell behind her courtroom in the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Months later, despite the continued support of the Cook County Democratic Party, she lost her seat.


Judicial candidates might be among the most obscure names on your ballot, but these elections come with high stakes. Judges are powerful officials whose choices on the bench touch many aspects of life, from traffic tickets to divorces, lawsuits, evictions, and criminal cases. They have the power to take someone’s freedom, enforce or overturn state laws, and correct or perpetuate injustices. Yet there are few places to get information about the people running for judge. That's why Injustice Watch created this guide to judicial candidates running in Cook County’s primary elections on June 28, 2022.

Illinois judicial candidates are frustrated with new ban on out-of-state donations

An Illinois law banning out-of-state donations to judicial campaigns has frustrated candidates and forced some of them to return family members’ contributions. But several of them say the law overlooks a more pressing problem: the potential influence that wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups inside Illinois wield in elections and court decisions.

The Illinois Department of Corrections misled the public on Legionella outbreak at several prisons

Illinois prison and health officials made misleading and inconsistent statements about a Legionella outbreak at several Illinois prisons last month, according to records and interviews with incarcerated people. Advocates and prison watchdogs say the inconsistencies highlight long-standing problems with accountability and oversight of the prison system’s water treatment practices.

Why are so few people running for Cook County judge?

Cook County voters will have fewer candidates to choose from than in past years when they cast their ballots for judges in the June 28 primary election. Just 64 candidates filed to run for 25 circuit court vacancies when the filing period ended earlier this month, meaning there’s less competition for each seat. There is about one fewer candidate per judicial race, on average, than in each of the past five primary elections, according to an Injustice Watch analysis of Illinois State Board of Elections data. (Not counting two appellate court seats up for election this year.)

Commentary: To cure corruption, the Chicago City Council should ‘remember the ladies’

This commentary was originally published by The Chicago Tribune. Mayor Lori Lightfoot selected Nicole Lee to succeed Patrick Daley Thompson as the 11th Ward’s alderman. Thompson, who was convicted in February of two counts of lying to federal regulators about his loans and five counts of filing false tax returns, is the 37th City Council member to be found guilty of fraud or corruption since the early 1970s.

Former Chicago police superintendent accused of lying in murder case

This story was produced by the Better Government Association, a nonprofit news organization based in Chicago. Lawyers for an ailing 73-year-old man freed after 33 years in prison for a double murder now say they can prove a high-ranking officer lied under oath in a case tainted by a notorious squad of Chicago officers known for torturing suspects.