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Chicago Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. is aiming for Cook County judges

Ald. Howard B. Brookins Jr./Facebook

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st Ward) plans to run for judge.

Another member of the Chicago City Council has confirmed his plans to run for Cook County judge in the June 2022 primaries.

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st District) said in an interview with Injustice Watch Tuesday that he intended to stand up for one of the 15 open district-wide seats in the Cook County Circuit Court.

“I split my time between practicing the legal profession and serving on the city council, and I never thought I’d die in office,” said Brookins, who was first elected to the city council in 2003 and who chairs the city’s committee on Transport and Public Ways of the Council. “I think this would be a wonderful opportunity to continue serving the public.”

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Brookins, whose South Side borough includes parts of Auburn Gresham and Washington Heights, graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1988. He served briefly in the Cook County Attorney’s Office and the Cook County State Attorney’s Office for the Illinois Attorney General. In the early 1990s, he started a private criminal defense practice with Thaddeus L. Wilson, currently a district court judge in the criminal chamber, who will stand for election in next year’s general election.

In 2017, Brookins announced that he was running for the second subcircus jurisdiction vacated by former Judge Valarie Turner, who was forced to retire following revelations that she would have an officer wear her robes and take over the bank in her place to kick. (Turner later announced that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.) But Brookins couldn’t collect enough valid signatures for the nomination petition to stay on the ballot.

He’s not the only alderman eyeing the bank in 2022. In August, Injustice Watch reported that his colleague West Side Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) also had a judge’s seat in the 11th Subcircus in his sights.

The Cook County Democratic Party is holding a pre-event Thursday to give interested candidates the opportunity to apply to support the party in the primaries. Slating – a process by which the party officially nominates candidates for elected office – is scheduled for December.

Brookins said he hoped his “background, credentials and experience” would earn him a spot in the planned candidates for the June Democratic primary. He is also the 21st Ward Committeeman and serves on several judicial committees for the Cook County Democrats. He said he would withdraw from the nomination process and give his vote to a deputy as he seeks a new judicial election, but added with a laugh: “It would be highly unusual if you didn’t vote for me to be elected.”

Last year the Chicago Board of Ethics fined Brookins for representing former 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno in a drunken driver’s trunk. The board found that Brookins had violated ethics by serving a client in a criminal case investigated by the Chicago Police Department as a city employee.

Brookins has challenged the ethics committee’s decision in the district court and is currently awaiting a decision from Judge David B. Atkins on the case.

“I’m very optimistic that the judge will rule in my favor,” said Brookins. “I think that [the ethics board] exceeded. … It wasn’t a conflict. “

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