Elections, Local, Park Forest, Politics

Do Not Vote for These Judges: March 2024

Our Assessment for the March 2024 Primary

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- As we have in the past, we share information on which judges to vote for and which to NOT vote for in Cook County. We share a list of judges for whom we ask readers not to vote. We consider a judicial candidate a poor candidate if one or more of the bar associations in Illinois do not recommend them or find them qualified.

Local readers might remember Justice Mathias W. Delort, who served as Village Attorney for the Village of Park Forest before his appointment to the Appellate Court in 2012. Justice Delort left office on September 6, 2023. We wish him well in his retirement.

Please note: While we know Justice Delort personally, we did not consult or speak with Justice Delort in preparation for this article.

For Cook County voters, find your voter information here.

For Will County voters, find your voter information here.

Vote FOR These Judges, Park Forest

Our list begins with the judicial candidates we recommend. Notice that for some positions, we say YES to two candidates running for the same seat. Both candidates received unanimously positive ratings from all bar associations in these instances. We have no opinion about any of them. You may download and print our guide or save it to your mobile device for your trip to the polls. Likewise, Park Forest voters may put their list together here.

Park Forest Judicial Guide

This judicial voting guide is primarily for Park Forest voters. However, we also evaluated the judicial candidates from all subcircuits in Cook County. In some cases, we recommend two candidates for the same seat. Some of these races have a Republican and a Democratic candidate. Where appropriate, we recommend candidates for voters who pull a Republican ballot. Our recommendations are based on the bar associations’ analyses and research conducted by INJUSTICEWATCH.ORG. We note the conclusions of INJUSTICE WATCH and provide links for readers to see the information for themselves.

To simplify the guide for Park Forest voters, we need only concern ourselves with the 15th Subcircuit.

Voters might also find this information from the Chicago Council of Lawyers helpful. (PDF)

The Committee to Elect Qualified Judges offers this summary. (PDF)

Alliance of Bar Associations

Our information comes directly from VoteForJudges.org. Vote for Judges gathers information from the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening (referred hereafter as “Alliance”). The Alliance reports on judicial candidates from local media outlets and fourteen bar associations in and around Cook County (the Alliance of Bar Associations and the Chicago Bar Association). We concentrate on the recommendations of the fourteen bar associations.

The Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Evaluations (“Alliance”) is a group of 12 bar associations that collaboratively evaluate judicial candidates in Cook County:

  1. AABAR: Arab American Bar Association of Illinois (www.arabbar.org)
  2. AABA: Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area (www.aabachicago.org)
  3. BWLA: Black Women Lawyer’s Association of Greater Chicago (www.bwla.org)
  4. CCL: Chicago Council of Lawyers (www.chicagocouncil.org)
  5. CCBA: Cook County Bar Association (www.cookcountybar.org)
  6. DSL: Decalogue Society of Lawyers (www.decaloguesociety.org)
  7. HBA: Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois (www.hellenicbar.org)
  8. HLAI: Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (www.hlai.org)
  9. ISBA: Illinois State Bar Association (www.isba.org)
  10. LAGBAC: Lesbian and Gay Bar Association (www.lagbac.org)
  11. PRBA: Puerto Rican Bar Association (www.prbalawil.org)
  12. WBAI: Women’s Bar Association (www.wbaillinois.org)

The Alliance of Bar Associations works collaboratively to screen judicial candidates in Cook County. Judicial candidates are rated by the Alliance members based on detailed information supplied by each candidate, a background check by trained lawyers/investigators, and interviews of each candidate.

The ratings reflect the Alliance’s opinion of whether candidates have the necessary qualifications for judicial service or ascension to a higher office and do not reflect the candidates’ abilities as lawyers or judges.

The rating key follows:

HQHighly Qualified
WQWell Qualified
NQNot Qualified
HRHighly Recommended
NRNot Recommended
1Not Evaluated Through No Fault of the Candidate

Candidates not participating in the Alliance’s evaluation process receive the rating “NR.”

Below is our rating of judicial candidates relevant to Park Forest voters in Cook County AND candidates beyond the 15th Subcircuit. In that regard, this list applies to all Cook County voters.

Please do not vote for the judges we note.

Supreme Court: 1st District

There are two candidates. Both are very impressive, according to our review. All bar associations say YES to both. Both are HIGHLY QUALIFIED.

Joy Virginia Cunningham also received the nod from the Democratic Party of Illinois.

The Chicago Council of Lawyers views Hon. Jesse G. Reyes as “Qualified” but considers Hon. Joy Cunningham “Well Qualified.” However, the following from INJUSTICE WATCH tips our vote for Hon. Jesse G. Reyes:

In 2020, Reyes lost a high-profile bid to become the first Latinx judge on the state’s highest court. He finished second in the Democratic primary election to Justice P. Scott Neville. At the Democratic Party’s slating event last August, he said Latinx residents deserve a “seat at the table of justice.” 

In an Injustice Watch interview, Reyes said he has been “progressive and aggressive” in his quest to ensure access to the judicial system. To that end, early in his judicial career he said he led an initiative to make educational videos on the consequences of drinking and driving in various languages, including Spanish. He also organized forums at the height of the foreclosure crisis to educate homeowners.


Appellate Court Vacancies: 1st District


VACANCY OF THE HON. MATHIAS W. DELORT, do NOT vote for Leonard Murray. The LAGBAC says NO. (Readers might remember Justice Delort, who served as Village Attorney for the Village of Park Forest before his appointment to the Appellate Court. We wish him well in his retirement.)

Please note: While we know Justice Delort personally, we did not consult or speak with Justice Delort in preparation for this article.

Countywide Vacancies (All Ballots): Do NOT Vote for These Judges:

VACANCY OF THE HON. JAMES P. FLANNERY, JR., do NOT vote for Chelsey Renece Robinson. ISBA says NO.


VACANCY OF THE HON. TIMOTHY P. MURPHY, do NOT vote for Lori Ann Roper. HBA and ISBA both say NO.

Regarding the other two candidates, INJUSTICE WATCH notes the following of Lori Ann Roper, ‘Between 2005 and 2013, the cooperative where Roper lived filed 11 eviction actions against her, claiming unpaid dues. In an interview, Roper said she withheld payments because of “a difference of opinion with the landlord in terms of what they should or shouldn’t take care of.” She said she was never evicted and all the cases were resolved after she paid the money owed. “In retrospect, I probably was being too emotional. I probably should have dealt with them in a different way,” she said.’

Given the above, we vote for Edward Joseph Underhill, who also has the nod from the Democratic Party.

In the VACANCY OF THE HON. LORNA PROPES, there are two candidates where all bar associations say YES. However, Regarding Russ Hartigan of Western Springs, INJUSTICE WATCH notes:

Hartigan was accused last year of using his official position as a commissioner of the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission to campaign for judge. A December 2023 memo written by the commission’s outgoing executive director, Ron Melka, and obtained by Injustice Watch through a public records request alleged three instances of “concerning behaviors” in which Hartigan “produced campaign materials bearing his name and candidacy for judge” at official functions. At one 2022 visit to a social services provider funded by the board, for example, Melka alleged Hartigan encouraged the agency employees to vote for him. Multiple other people who were there confirmed Melka’s allegations to Injustice Watch. In an interview, Hartigan said he never did anything to suggest performance of his official duties was tied to receiving support for his judicial campaigns.

Separately, Injustice Watch talked to multiple women who have regular dealings with the Mental Health Commission and raised questions about Hartigan’s treatment of women. “As a female I do believe that Russ exhibits misogynistic characteristics,” said an executive at one of the agencies funded by the Mental Health Commission who asked not to be named. Multiple women told Injustice Watch that Hartigan had admonished them to call him “judge” and “honorable” and that they had not seen him make the same demand of men. Hartigan denied the allegations. “I’ve never singled out women about calling me honorable,” he said. “But technically people are supposed to call you honorable.”


Our choice, therefore, lies with Debjani ‘Deb’ Desai.

Subcircuit Candidates

15th Subcircuit

Park Forest lies in the 15th Subcircuit. Four people are contending for two seats. Three are running for the VACANCY OF THE HON. ANNA HELEN DEMACOPOULOUS.

For the VACANCY OF THE HON. ANNA HELEN DEMACOPOULOUS, do NOT vote for Luciano ‘Lou’ Panici, Jr. AABA and CCBA say NO.

Regarding the other two, INJUSTICE WATCH notes that Paul A. O’Grady from Orland Park, “was sued in July in his capacity as Orland Township supervisor by state Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), who alleged O’Grady unfairly shut him out from Orland Township’s annual Pet Palooza. O’Grady said in court documents that he played no role in the decision not to give Rita a table at the event. The lawsuit is ongoing. In October, O’Grady accused Rita of simple assault after an alleged confrontation at the Crystal Tree Country Club.” (INJUSTICE WATCH)

Allen Price Walker of Olympia Fields has a HIGHLY QUALIFIED rating at INJUSTICE WATCH and no negative notes. He has our vote.

3rd Subcircuit

We only have bad news for the 3rd Subcircuit. No candidates in either vacancy are acceptable.

In the VACANCY OF THE HON. JANET BROSNAHAN, neither candidate is acceptable, but one appears slightly less unacceptable. Do not vote for Lucy Vazquez-Gonzalez. ALL SAY NO. Do not vote for Martin Douglas Reggi. DSL and ISBA both say No.

For the VACANCY OF THE HON. EDWARD S. HARMENING, ALL SAY NOT to the only candidate: Pat Heery.

4th Subcircuit

There is better news here. There are three vacancies, one candidate for each vacancy. All candidates received unanimous recommendations from the bar associations.

5th Subcircuit

The 5th Subcircuit has one vacancy and one candidate. This candidate has the recommendation of all bar associations.

7th Subcircuit

VACANCY OF THE HON. IRWIN SOLGANICK, do NOT vote for Deidre Baumann. ISBA says NO.

8th Subcircuit

One vacancy. One candidate. All say YES.

10th Subcircuit


11th Subcircuit

There are two vacancies and three candidates in total. ALL SAY YES. We leave the selection to you.

12th Subcircuit

For the VACANCY OF THE HON. ANDREA M. SCHLEIFER, do NOT vote for Matthew Taylor. BWLA, CCBA, and LAGBAC, all say NO.

There are two other vacancies with two candidates each. ALL SAY YES to these candidates. You are safe to choose based on local criteria.

13th Subcircuit

There are two vacancies and two candidates. ALL SAY YES to both.

14th Subcircuit

There are two vacancies and three candidates. ALL SAY YES.

16th Subcircuit

There is no good news for the 16th Subcircuit. There are two vacancies and only one candidate for each vacancy. ALL STRONGLY SAY NO to both. Do NOT vote for Pedro Fregoso, Jr. or Cecilia Abundis. That will leave voters with an empty selection for both vacancies. This appears to be the best choice.

17th Subcircuit

There are two “CONVERTED” seats, and ALL SAY YES to both candidates.

18th Subcircuit

There are two ” converted” seats. All say YES to both candidates for the seat CONVERTED FROM THE ASSOCIATE JUDGESHIP OF LAUREN GOTTAINER EDIDIN.

However, do not vote for Lynn Terese Palac for the seat CONVERTED FROM THE ASSOCIATE JUDGESHIP OF JAMES LINN. The ISBA says no.

19th Subcircuit


There are two other candidates to select for this seat. ALL SAY YES to both.

20th Subcircuit


Do not vote for John Poulos. ALL SAY NO. For the other three, ALL SAY YES.

Helpful Information Where All Say “Yes”

Again, in races where all bar associations say “YES” to all candidates running for a single seat, this information will be helpful for voters:

Source information: voteforjudges.org.