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Report of the Judiciary


News from the Judiciary




Judge Mitchell L. Hoffman was appointed as Circuit Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Fourth Subcircuit by the Illinois Supreme Court effective February 3, 2014.  Judge Hoffman filled the position previously held by Circuit Judge Fred Foreman who retired from the bench in January.


Circuit Judge Fred Foreman retired as a member of the Lake County judiciary on January 24, 2014.


In December, John T. Phillips, Acting Chief Judge, and Supervising Judge of Specialty Court Cases, was selected as Chief Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. He will serve for a term of one year, commencing January 6, 2014 and terminating January 4, 2015. Judge Phillips was elected unanimously by the other fourteen Circuit Judges of Lake County.


Judge Christopher C. Starck has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the following: the Judicial Conference of Illinois Automation and Technology Committee and to the Committee on Strategic Planning. Judge Starck was reappointed to the Judicial Conference Executive Committee and the Judicial Conference Study Committee on Complex Litigation.


The Judges of Lake County honored World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans at the courthouse on Veterans’ Day, November 11th.  Twenty-five war veterans were interviewed and had their oral histories recorded by official court reporters.  The transcripts will be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for use by researchers and for future generations to learn about the experiences of the veterans.


Lake County Judges teamed with United Way and participated in a Page It Forward Corporate Challenge where businesses and organizations competed against each other to recruit the highest percentage of volunteers to assist children improve and develop better reading skills.  The judges took second place in the campaign with 44% participation.


Judge Margaret Mullen spoke at a seminar at the Thompson Center on Best Practices for Case Management, Motions, Settlement Conferences and Trial.


Judge Luis Berrones addressed legal practitioners on Lake County’s new Foreclosure Mediation Program.


Justice Mary Seminara Schostok and Judge Margaret J. Mullen were speakers on “Civility and Professionalism” at a WBAI event at Starved Rock in October.


Chief Judge Fred Foreman received the Illinois Judges Association’s Distinguished Service Award.


Judge Donna Jo Vorderstrasse was appointed to the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Council.


Judge Elizabeth M. Rochford was appointed to the Illinois State Bar Association’s Board of Governors.


Circuit Judge Jay Ukena, Presiding Judge of the Family Division, was reappointed to serve on the Child Support Advisory Committee for the State of Illinois for a third one year term.  


Extended Media Coverage


Pursuant to the Supreme Court of Illinois, extended media coverage was authorized in the circuit courts of Illinois on an experimental, circuit by circuit basis on January 24, 2012.  The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit made an application with the Supreme Court of Illinois for extended media coverage and was approved one year later on January 24, 2013. The Judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit approved Circuit Court Rule 21.06 – Extended Media Coverage on March 4, 2013 which defines the policies and procedures related to the Extended Media Coverage Pilot Program. 


Chief Judge Fred Foreman extended an invitation to members of the media to attend a meeting on March 14, 2013 to discuss the rules, policies and procedures of Extended Media Coverage as it relates to Lake County.


Since commencing Extended Media Coverage, the Circuit Court of Lake County has approved requests for cameras in courtrooms for trials and sentencings. 


The Criminal Division Judges have been instrumental in establishing the procedures for extended media coverage, and they have ensured that these procedures are observed by the media. To date the Nineteenth Circuit has received over 50 requests mainly focused on Criminal Division cases.




In January 2012, Circuit Judge Jay W. Ukena was reappointed to the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee.  The committee was created to review child support policies, and consists of members representing the legislature, state’s attorneys, attorney general, clerks of the courts and community-based groups.  Judge Ukena was appointed to the committee in 2011.  His reappointment in 2012 is for a one year term.


Fred Foreman, Acting Chief Judge and former Presiding Judge of the Felony Division, has been named the Chief Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit. His new title and term of office is effective as of May 1, 2012, and he will serve as Chief Judge for a term of one year. Judge Foreman was elected unanimously by the other twelve Circuit Judges of Lake County.


Victoria A. Rossetti, Chief Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, was re-elected by her fellow Circuit Judges to serve a second term as the authoritative leader of the Circuit Court of Lake County.  The unanimous vote to re-elect Judge Rossetti took place in April 2011 at a Circuit Judges meeting.  Judge Rossetti’s second term as Chief Judge commences May 1, 2011.


On April 8, 2011, Circuit Judge Fred Foreman received The John Marshall Law School's "Spirit of John Marshall" award. The award is presented to esteemed and highly respected individuals who hold to the ideals of the law school. The award was presented to Judge Foreman by John R. Lee, president of The John Marshall Law School Foundation, and Illinois Appellate Court Justice Joseph Birkett.


On March 21, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Circuit Judge Christopher C. Starck to the Study Committee on Complex Litigation for a term expiring December 31, 2011. On this same date, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Circuit Judge Christopher C. Starck as a member of the Judicial Conference and as a member of the Executive Committee, both appointments for a term expiring December 31, 2013.


Circuit Judge Victoria A. Rossetti was elected unanimously by the Circuit Judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit as the Circuit’s Chief Judge effective May 1, 2010, and currently serves in that capacity. Judge Rossetti was successfully retained as Circuit Judge in the general election held in November 2010.


Circuit Judge Raymond J. McKoski received the Presidential Service Award from the Illinois Judges Association in 2009. In 2009 and 2010, Judge McKoski was appointed to the ethics faculty of the new Judge Seminar by the Illinois Supreme Court and in 2010 he was named to the ethics faculty of the bi-annual Judicial Conference attended by all Illinois Judges. In an article authored by Judge McKoski entitled, “Judicial Discipline and the Appearance of Impropriety: What the Public Sees is What the Judge Gets” was published in the Minnesota Law Review.


In 2010, Circuit Judge Fred Foreman was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Judicial Conference faculty. Judge Foreman was appointed as Co-Chairman of the Judicial Selection and Retention Committee of the Illinois Judges Association. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges Association and the Illinois Judges Foundation. Judge Foreman was presented with the Lake County Bar Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Award at its President’s Award Dinner held in February 2011.


Circuit Judge Margaret J. Mullen was presented with the Benedict J. Ori Award in June, 2010. Judge Mullen was named faculty by the Illinois Supreme Court for the New Judge Seminar in January 2011. In January 2011, Judge Mullen was named Vice President of the Illinois Judges Foundation.


Circuit Judge Christopher C. Starck, named faculty by the Illinois Supreme Court, taught at the 2009 Judicial Conference and at the New Judge Seminars in December 2009 and January 2011. In January 2011, the Supreme Court appointed Judge Starck Chairman of the Special Supreme Court Committee on Capital Cases. He is a certified presenter for the National Center for State Courts to teach “Case Management” and “Purposes and Responsibilities of the Courts.”


Associate Judge Luis A. Berrones was appointed as judicial faculty for the regional seminar “Predicting Violent Behavior in Custody and Visitation” held on November 4-5, 2010. He was a panelist at the child representative training program held at the College of Lake County held May 18-19, 2010. In 2009, he was a panelist on “The Rules of Evidence” as part of the Illinois Judges Association Judicial Perspective Cable TV Program. Judge Berrones was guest lecturer on “The Judicial Process in America” held at Columbia College of Missouri in September 2009.


Associate Judge Wallace B. Dunn was appointed to DePaul University’s Advisory Board in 2009.


Associate Judge Michael J. Fusz served as a judge at Notre Dame University Law School Intensive Trial Advocacy Trials in November 2009 and March 2010. He also served as faculty in January 2010. He served as faculty at the New Judge Seminar in 2009 teaching a course on the “Right to Bail, Counsel and Jury Trial,” and served as faculty at the New Judge Seminar in January 2011. In April 2010, Judge Fusz received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for Exceptionally Meritorious Service for the Armed Forces of the U.S. (September 1996 – April 2007) from William D. Catto, Major General, USMC, Chief of Staff, U.S. Europe Command. In August 2010, Judge Fusz received a Faculty Recognition Award for 25 years of service at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois.


In August 2010, Associate Judge Nancy S. Waites was sworn in as a member of the Illinois Judges Association’s Board of Directors.


In February 2011, Circuit Judge Jay W. Ukena was appointed by the Director of Healthcare and Family Services to a one year term on the Illinois Child Support Advisory Committee.

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News from the Judiciary