Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced the appointments of three new acting presiding judges to head the Criminal, County and Traffic Divisions on January 4, 2021.
The appointments include historic firsts for the Circuit Court. Honorable Erica L. Reddick becomes the first woman to head the court’s Criminal Division, replacing Judge LeRoy K. Martin, Jr., who has moved to the state’s appellate court. Honorable Sanjay T. Tailor will become the new acting presiding judge of the County Division, following the retirement of Judge Sharon Sullivan. Judge Tailor will be the state’s first Asian-American presiding judge. Honorable Diann K. Marsalek, currently Supervising Judge of the First Municipal District’s Traffic Court (Chicago), will take on the newly-created role of acting presiding judge over all traffic judges in Cook County.
“All three of these judges have shown great dedication and a strong commitment to justice throughout their careers, and I am confident that they will succeed in their new leadership roles,” said Judge Evans.
Before her appointment as a judge in 2010, Judge Reddick had served for nearly 20 years in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. In that office, she served in a number of leadership positions, including deputy chief of the felony trial division, acting chief of the Third District and attorney supervisor of the felony trial division.
As a judge, Judge Reddick served first in the Municipal Department and then in the Child Protection Division. Elected to her first full-term as a judge in 2012, she was assigned to the Criminal Division in 2013. Judge Reddick has a passion for judicial education, having served for several years on the Judicial Education Committee. She acted as co-chair of the annual Judicial Education Conference and chair of the Criminal Committee for the Judicial Education Conference.
Judge Reddick is also an instructor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and had previously taught as an adjunct professor at both UIC John Marshall Law School and DePaul University College of Law.
“It’s a good day to see the advancement of women in leadership,” said Judge Reddick, who has a law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University. She said she is “looking forward” to the opportunity to lead the Criminal Division.
Judge Tailor was first appointed to the bench as an Associate Judge in 2003 and has served in the Chancery Division since 2015. From 2009 to 2015 he was assigned to the Law Division, where he heard commercial and tax disputes, and from 2006 to 2009 he was assigned to the Domestic Relations Division. He was a judge in the Municipal Department from 2003 to 2006.
Earlier on Monday, Judge Tailor was sworn in as an at-large Cook County Circuit Judge. Judge Tailor was appointed by the supreme court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Diane Gordon Cannon (Judge Cannon passed away on October 31, 2020). The appointment will expire December 5, 2022, following the November 2022 general election.
“I have been fortunate to gain a wide breadth of experience as a lawyer and a judge over thirty years and will continue to rely on that experience in working with the dedicated jurists in the County Division to continue to deliver justice for the residents of Cook County,” Judge Tailor said. “I’d like to thank Judge Evans for the opportunity to work in the court’s management team and to improve access to and delivery of justice.”
Before joining the bench, Judge Tailor served in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1996 to 2003 in the Civil Actions Bureau. From 1995 to 1996, he was a senior attorney at the First National Bank of Chicago. From 1991 to 1995, he was an associate at Chapman and Cutler LLP.
Judge Tailor is an adjunct professor at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, teaching Illinois Civil Litigation Practice. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware and his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Judge Tailor’s professional associations include the Lawyers Club of Chicago, for which he is immediate past president; the Illinois Judges Association; the Asian American Judges Association of Illinois; the South Asian Bar Association of North America; the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago; the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago; and the American Bar Association, for which he chaired the Indian Committee for the International Law Section. He serves on the Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Education.
Judge Diann Marsalek was first appointed to the bench in 2011, and first elected countywide as Circuit Judge in 2012. From 2011 to 2014, she worked in the First Municipal District, including evictions, torts, contracts, and post-judgment enforcement. Since May 2014, Judge Marsalek has been the Supervising Judge of the First Municipal District’s Traffic Court located in the Daley Center, and oversees judges assigned to traffic court as their first assignment. She has trained approximately 150 new judges. Judge Marsalek was part of a committee that worked on improving training for new judges.
Judge Marsalek noted that the traffic court is often the only contact county residents have with the court system, and they may face serious consequences such as having their driving privileges taken away. It is crucial that they believe they are treated fairly, Marsalek said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the First District’s Traffic Section has been handled entirely by teleconference or videoconference. Judge Marsalek said the court will consider continuing to handle minor traffic cases remotely after the pandemic is over, so that litigants don’t have to come downtown and take time off work.
“I would like to thank Chief Judge Evans for this opportunity,” Marsalek said. “He has great knowledge of the court system and is always thinking ahead and finding ways to tailor the system to meet the needs of the public.”
Before her appointment to the judiciary, Judge Marsalek served as an attorney for government agencies, including the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Attorney General. She served as chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Corrections, and has extensive jury trial experience in civil rights cases before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Judge Marsalek’s professional affiliations include the Advocates Society of Polish-American lawyers and the Justinian Society for Italian-American lawyers. She was the president of the Illinois Judges Foundation and served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Judges Association. She is a graduate of the Northern Illinois University College of Law, and also has a Master’s degree in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University.
Judge Evans congratulated Judge Sullivan on her retirement, which took effect on December 31, noting her 28 years of service as a Cook County judge and 5 years as head of the County Division. Judge Sullivan was responsible for a crucial technological innovation in 2016 in arranging for testimony in mental health competency cases to be conducted remotely from hospitals. This saved both doctors and patients from having to travel to court facilities.
“Judge Sullivan’s farsighted innovation helped create a compassionate alternative for patients and doctors, and also gave the County Division judges an advantage during the pandemic, since they were already familiar with teleconferencing,” said Judge Evans.