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Maria McCarthy is a highly respected career prosecutor. As your judge, she will continue to ensure justice prevails in Cook County.

I’m running for Cook County Judge because Cook County residents aren’t receiving the justice they deserve, and we need a judge who will follow the evidence and rule according to the law to make our communities a safer and better place to live.


I have been fighting for justice in Cook County for more than 30 years.  I’ve been prosecuting criminals and trying cases for 34 years, including as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, where I served for 30 years. I could have made a lot more money in private practice, but it has never been about the money for me—since I was 13 years old, I’ve had a burning passion to fight for justice for those who have been harmed and their loved ones.


As a judge, I will hold criminals accountable, giving sentences appropriate for the crimes committed and the defendant’s criminal history. You must be held responsible for your actions. I have always taken the high burden of proof in a criminal case seriously so just as I will hold those guilty accountable, if the evidence does not prove a person committed the crime, I will not hesitate to find that person not guilty.


I learned the lesson of accountability at a very young age. My parents taught me the importance of right and wrong. One time, as a young child, I accidentally walked out of a store with a bracelet on that we hadn’t purchased. My mom noticed when we were nearly home, and she drove me back to the store to give the bracelet back and take responsibility for what I had done. I’ve never forgotten that lesson.


Serving as a prosecutor has prepared me to be a judge. As a prosecutor, I’ve worn two hats: I fought for justice on behalf of people who are harmed while fiercely protecting every defendant’s constitutional rights. That balance is important—the truth is the only thing that matters. I only prosecuted cases when credible evidence demonstrated that the defendant was guilty. I’ve never stood in front of a judge or jury and asked them to find someone guilty when I didn’t believe they were. I went to work every day and did the right thing. I will bring that same balance and pursuit of the truth to my courtroom.


Good judgment comes from experience, and no other candidate for circuit court judge has more experience than I have in the courtroom. From 45-year-old murder cases to complex rape cases, my trial experience is unmatched. I’ve prosecuted serial murderers, gang leaders, serial rapists, child molesters, armed robbers, carjackers, animal abusers and other violent criminals. I’ve prosecuted hundreds of trials before judges and juries. While in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, I supervised the Homicide-Sex Unit and Domestic Violence Division in Chicago and was the Supervisor of the State’s Attorney’s Office at the Rolling Meadows courthouse where I oversaw the prosecution of cases from approximately 25 northwest suburbs.


I’ve supervised hundreds of attorneys and trained thousands of police officers and attorneys throughout Illinois and nationally. I’ve taught at colleges and law schools, including Northwestern University School of Law, and led presentations at national conferences, including the Conference on Crimes Against Women. While a Board Member for Rahab’s Daughters, an organization that combats human trafficking, I coordinated a training for police officers and prosecutors on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. And I’ve done all this with a proven track record of integrity and fairness to both sides, which is why I was found to be Highly Qualified, Highly Recommended, Qualified or Recommended by every bar association in Cook County.


A judge I respect once said, “Being a judge is the easiest job in the world as long as you follow the law.” I will follow the law. Those who know me know I am always extremely well-prepared. No matter how large or small an issue, I will listen to all arguments presented, ask questions, look at the facts, and issue rulings without fear of personal or professional repercussions because I will always follow the law. That’s what the victims deserves, that’s what the defendants deserves, and that’s what the lawyers deserve.


My courtroom will be a positive place. Everyone will be treated with the respect they deserve. Everyone will get a fair shake. I will always do the right thing. My decisions will be based solely on the evidence before me and the law, and on nothing else. Having supervised attorneys for nearly 20 years, I am not afraid to make difficult decisions, no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable those rulings might be. 


My extensive experience in courtrooms will help me run an efficient call, a necessity in Cook County where the case backload remains unacceptably high, delaying justice unnecessarily and hurting confidence in our criminal justice system. I’ll be intentional about the order in which cases are heard, including respecting the time of those who have had to take time off work to be in court. I will move cases along in a timely manner. I will not let justice be delayed, because that’s not fair for anyone.


Please vote for me, Maria McCarthy, for Cook County Judge so I can ensure justice prevails.

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