Judge Michael Toomin

In December 2010, Judge Toomin was appointed Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, one of the largest juvenile court systems in the nation. In that capacity, Toomin maintains administrative and supervisory authority over 17 judges who preside over delinquency matters throughout the county. Judge Toomin’s present assignment followed upon his Supreme Court appointment to the Illinois Appellate Court (2008 -2010).

Upon Completion of active duty in the United States Marine Corps Toomin (1956-58), Toomin received a B.A. from Northwestern University (1962) and his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law (1967). In 2009, Toomin was the recipient of DePaul’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Profession. Upon admission to the Illinois Bar, Toomin initially served as a felony trial assistant in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender and later entered private practice, concentrating on the defense of criminal cases in federal and state courts.

Judge Toomin’s judicial service began in 1980 with his selection as an associate judge. He has been a circuit judge since the November 1984 election, the majority of that time at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building. In 1994, Toomin was appointed a supervising judge and was later named Acting Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division. As a trial judge, Toomin presided over some 630 murder cases, as well as more than 400 jury trials.

Over the course of his career, Judge Toomin has been favored with a wide variety of professional appointments complementing his courtroom endeavors. In 2010, he completed his tenure as Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Capital Cases after serving on the panel for more than a decade. The Committee, formed in the wake of then-Governor
George Ryan’s moratorium on executions, implemented new rules for capital punishment trials and created training programs and qualification standards for judges and attorneys handling death penalty cases. Highlighting the Committee’s work, in 2004 Toomin authored, “Capital Punishment Reform and the Illinois Supreme Court: At the Forefront of Change,” 92 Ill. B.J. 642 (December 2004). He was also a member of the Illinois Senate Democratic Criminal Justice Task Force. In 2004, Judge Toomin was selected to serve as a Commissioner of the CLEAR Initiative, created to review and reform the Illinois Criminal Code. His service on the Commission resulted in the publication of another article, “Second Degree Murder and Attempted Murder: CLEAR’s Efforts to Maneuver the Slippery Slope,” 41 J. Marshall L.Rev. 659 (2008). Toomin previously served as Chair of the Committee on Criminal Law and Probation of the Illinois Judicial Conference and as vice-chair of the Cook County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Also, from 2005 to 2008, he was a member of the Illinois Courts Commission, the forum designated for resolving matters involving judicial discipline. Additionally, in 2010, Toomin was appointed to a six year term as Commissioner of the State Appellate Defender’s Office.

Judge Toomin’s judicial and professional duties have also been augmented by a number of teaching engagements. From 1983 to 2000, he served as an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University School of Law, teaching trial advocacy. In 2002 and 2003, Toomin served in a similar capacity at Emory University. Also, in 1996 and 1997, he was a faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Additionally, over the years, Toomin chaired or participated in numerous conferences and seminars relating to death penalty litigation, jury trial management, criminal procedure, and forensic DNA evidence offered by the Illinois Judicial Conference, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender.

Download Judge Toomin’s Resume