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Meet Maria

Maria McCarthy is a career prosecutor who worked as an assistant state’s attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for 30 years.  From 2009 to 2019, she was Supervisor of the Third Municipal District, where she oversaw the prosecution of all felony and misdemeanor cases from approximately 25 suburbs of Chicago, including Arlington Heights, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.  Prior to holding that position, Maria was the Supervisor of the Homicide/Sex Unit in Chicago, the Supervisor of the Domestic Violence Division and was a Deputy Supervisor in the Traffic Division.

Maria subsequently worked as the First Assistant in the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she supervised the Criminal and Civil Bureaus. In 2022, she was appointed Special Prosecutor in murder cases that are pending in Will County. Maria also worked for Freeborn & Peters in Chicago, where she defended companies in civil litigation.

Maria has handled thousands of cases, including complex and high-profile murder and sex cases. Cases tried by Maria have been profiled on Dateline NBC, the Oxygen Network and ID Channel.  Maria has extensive experience with physicians, psychiatrists and forensic experts in DNA, fingerprints, firearms, trace evidence, blood spatter, cell tower analysis, pathology and water deaths.

Maria has trained thousands of assistant state’s attorneys, both in-house and statewide as a faculty member of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Prosecutors Office, on trial advocacy skills, legal issues, rules of evidence and ethics.  In addition, she has lectured at numerous local and national conferences, most recently giving two presentations at the national Conference on Crimes Against Women in Texas in 2023. Maria conducts trainings for the Chicago Police Department’s new detectives as well as detectives seeking their Lead Homicide Investigator certification, and has trained police officers throughout northern Illinois through North East Multi-Regional Training (NEMRT).  In 2022, while a Board member for Rahab’s Daughters, an anti-human trafficking organization, Maria coordinated a day-long training for police officers on the investigation of human-trafficking cases.

While she lived and worked in Chicago, Maria taught trial advocacy classes at Northwestern University School of Law, where she received the Joan M. Corboy Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy and Professionalism, and at The John Marshall Law School. Maria has taught criminal law and criminal procedure classes at Harper Community College for 10 years.

Maria grew up in Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights, and attended Prospect High School, where she received the Distinguished Alumni award in 2007. In 2019, she was awarded the Scales of Justice Award by the Northwest Suburban Bar Association.  In 2020, Maria was inducted as a Fellow in The American College of Trial Lawyers, widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in North America.

Maria currently lives in Mount Prospect with her stubborn but lovable bulldogs, Mac and Art.

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