Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



Cook County judge facing fraud trial; could be knocked off bench

Sunday, February 04, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times
by Jon Seidel

There’s nothing unusual about a politician facing trial in Chicago.

But in what could be a rare sight, a sitting Cook County judge is expected to fill the defendant’s chair Monday at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Jessica Arong O’Brien is charged in connection with an alleged $1.4 million scheme that has nothing to do with her work on the bench. The feds have said they’re unlikely to even tell the jury what O’Brien does for a living, unless she testifies.

Opening statements in her trial could begin as early as Tuesday in U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin’s courtroom, following jury selection.

In addition to the serious consequence of facing prison time, state law indicates O’Brien would lose her job if convicted at the end of what could be a two-week trial. The job comes with a $198,075-a-year salary, according to the Illinois Supreme Court.

O’Brien’s lawyer, Ricardo Meza, has made clear he expects O’Brien to be acquitted. He wrote in a recent court filing that, “there was no scheme, the government cannot prove any scheme existed,” and he insisted the feds’ case relies on “a known liar” and a man who entered into a “sham marriage” to obtain U.S. citizenship.

He has also accused the feds of targeting O’Brien simply because of her job.

Meza declined to comment further last week, pointing instead to his court filings and future remarks to the jury.

In 2012, O’Brien became the first female Filipino-American elected judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. She is married to Cook County Judge Brendan A. O’Brien. She is up for retention later this year but has not yet filed her paperwork, an election official said.

Elected offices are automatically vacated under state law when the officeholder is convicted of a felony, Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said.

O’Brien has been on administrative duty since her indictment last April. But Pat Milhizer, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans’ director of communications, said in a statement that “is the strongest action” the court’s executive committee can take.

He added that, “any official action beyond that would be left to the Judicial Inquiry Board and the Illinois Courts Commission.”

The Judicial Inquiry Board has the power to investigate judges. The Courts Commission may remove, suspend, censure or reprimand them for, among other things, conduct “that brings the judicial office into disrepute.”

It most recently “retired” Cook County Judge Valarie Turner for letting clerk Rhonda Crawford wear her robe and hear traffic cases in August 2016.

O’Brien is charged with bank fraud and mail fraud affecting a financial institution. Each charge carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence. The feds claim O’Brien lied on documents and used a straw buyer as she bought and sold properties in the 600 block of West 46th and 800 block of West 54th between 2004 and 2007.

Her co-defendant, Maria Bartko, pleaded guilty in January.

Though Meza initially sought a speedy trial for his client, he eventually relented and spent the last several months trying to persuade Durkin to toss aspects of the case on various grounds. He has argued that the feds waited too long to indict O’Brien, and he has raised questions about whether key loans in the case were actually funded by what qualified under the law at the time as a financial institution.

Additionally, Meza has attacked Bartko’s credibility, insisting that she lied to federal agents, prosecutors and a grand jury.

“Bartko’s perjured testimony was material to the indictment in its entirety,” Meza wrote.



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP