First female judge named to lead the circuit court’s Criminal Division

Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

For the first time in Cook County, a female judge has been named to lead the circuit court’s Criminal Division, a role that involves supervising dozens of judges at one of the busiest felony courthouses in the nation.

Judge Erica Reddick’s appointment as acting presiding judge was announced by Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office Monday.

Reddick had a nearly 20-year career with the Cook County Public Defender’s office before she took the bench in 2010. She has been assigned to the Leighton Criminal Court Building since 2013.

She is an extremely detail-oriented, patient, and meticulous judge, who makes sure to cross every t and dot every i in each case that comes before her. She has presided over major cases including, most recently, that of Shomari Legghette, who was convicted in March of killing Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer in the Loop.

The criminal division’s presiding judge handles workaday matters, such as formally announcing the courtrooms to which each felony case is assigned, as well as weightier decisions like certificates of innocence and petitions to appoint special prosecutors.

Reddick has at least one high-profile case already on her plate: the decision whether to name a special prosecutor to investigate potential wrongdoing in the dramatic and bizarre case of Jackie Wilson. A hearing in that matter is scheduled before the presiding judge later this month.

Reddick replaces Judge LeRoy Martin Jr., who was named to the appellate court effective Monday. Martin had served as head of the criminal division since 2015.

In addition, Evans on Monday announced that Judge Sanjay T. Tailor has been named acting presiding judge of the County Division, becoming the first Asian-American presiding judge in the state. And Judge Diann K. Marsalek will be the first acting presiding judge over all traffic courts, a newly created role.

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com