Thomas R. Fitzgerald
|Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court|
September 2008 –October 2010
|Succeeded by||Mary Jane Theis|
|Member of the Supreme Court of Illinois|
|Born||July 10, 1941|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||November 1, 2015 74) (aged|
La Grange, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater|| Loyola University Chicago |
The John Marshall Law School
Thomas R. Fitzgerald (July 10, 1941 – November 1, 2015) was a chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. He became the first Illinois chief justice to preside over the impeachment trial of a sitting governor when he presided over the impeachment trial of Governor Rod Blagojevich.
A number of controversies related to Rod Blagojevich, formerly the Governor of Illinois, were covered in the press during and after his administration. In addition to a reputation for secrecy that was noted by the Associated Press, Blagojevich was the subject of political, legal, and personal controversies similar to those of his predecessor, Republican Governor George Ryan. To the surprise of many, Blagojevich said in 2008 that he agreed with the idea of commuting Ryan's federal prison sentence.
Born in Chicago on July 10, 1941,Fitzgerald graduated from Leo Catholic High School in 1959. He attended Loyola University Chicago before enlisting in the United States Navy. Following his tour of duty in the Navy, he graduated with honors from The John Marshall Law School, where he was a founder of the school's current law review and served as its associate editor.
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States; the fourth largest in North America ; and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
Leo Catholic High School is a private all-male Roman Catholic high school in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and home to a predominantly African–American student body. The school is named in honor of Pope Leo XIII.
Loyola University Chicago is a private Catholic research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1870 by the Jesuits, today Loyola is one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States. Loyola's professional schools have educated generations of local business and civic leaders, and distinguished programs in medicine, nursing, and health sciences are anchored by the nationally recognized Loyola University Medical Center.
The son of a circuit court judge, Fitzgerald began his own career in the law as a prosecutor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. When first elected to the bench in 1976, he was the youngest Cook County judge.He served as a trial judge in the Criminal Court from 1976 to 1987, when he was assigned Supervising Judge of Traffic Court. In 1989, he returned to the Criminal Division as Presiding judge. He was also appointed to serve as presiding judge of Illinois's first statewide Grand Jury. He was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois for the First District in 2000.
Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.
A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law. Typically, the prosecutor represents the government in the case brought against the accused person.
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the second-most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California. As of 2017, the population was 5,211,263. Its county seat is Chicago, the largest city in Illinois and the third-most populous city in the United States. More than 40% of all residents of Illinois live in Cook County.
As a law professor, Fitzgerald taught at The John Marshall Law School and Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he was assistant coordinator of the trial advocacy program from 1986 to 1996. He also has taught at the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts.
The John Marshall Law School is a law school in Chicago, Illinois, that was founded in 1899 and accredited by the American Bar Association in 1951. The school was named for the influential nineteenth-century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall.
Chicago-Kent College of Law is a law school affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Technology. It is the second oldest law school in the state of Illinois. It is ranked 72nd among U.S. law schools, and its trial advocacy program is ranked in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report as the fourth best program in the U.S. According to Chicago-Kent's 2014 American Bar Association-required disclosures, 85% of the 2014 class secured a position six months after graduation. Of these 248 employed graduates, 172 were in positions requiring passage of the bar exam.
Fitzgerald served as president of the Illinois Judges' Association, chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Special Committee on Capital Cases, member of the Governor's Task Force on Crime and Corrections, chairman of several committees of the Illinois Judicial Conference, member of the Chicago Bar Association's Board of Managers and past chairman of the Chicago Bar Association's committees on constitutional law and long-range planning.
Founded in 1874, the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) is a voluntary bar association with over 20,000 members. Like other bar associations, it concerns itself with professional ethics, networking among members, and continuing legal education. It is located adjacent to the John Marshall Law School in the Chicago Loop.
He was elected Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on May 19, 2008, with his term effective September 6, 2008.
On January 26, 2009, he became the first Illinois chief justice to preside over the impeachment trial of a sitting governor, as he opened proceedings in the impeachment trial of Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Fitzgerald retired in October, 2010.He announced his retirement on September 13, 2010, citing a recent diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. Fitzgerald died on November 1, 2015 at his home from the disease at the age of 74.
Fitzgerald has been awarded the Outstanding Judicial Performance Award by the Chicago Crime Commission and honored as Celtic Man of the Year by the Celtic Legal Society.He received the Herman Kogan Media Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. The Lawyers' Assistance Program honored him in 2000 with the Hon. John Powers Crowley Award. He is the 2001 recipient of the John Marshall Law School Freedom Award. In 2003, Fitzgerald was awarded the Joel Flaum Award by the Chicago Inn of Court and the Chicago-Kent College of Law Professional Achievement Award. In 2005, Fitzgerald was named Catholic Lawyer of the Year by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago. In 2008, he was awarded the John Paul Stevens Award by the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation. He is a member of the Leo High School Hall of Fame.
Fitzgerald was named Chicago Lawyer's 2010 Person of the Year.
Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. It does not mean removal from office; it is only a statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction by a legislative vote, which judgment entails removal from office.
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