Candidate Forum: 4 Democrats Jostle for Dorothy Brown’s Circuit Court Clerk Seat


For the first time in 20 years, Dorothy Brown will not be clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. In August, she announced that she would step down at the end of her term later this year.

Brown’s tenure has been marked by corruption scandals and a near total failure to modernize a court system still dogged by missing files and handwritten paper records – some still copied with carbon paper.

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The clerk oversees the second-largest largest unified court system in the United States, behind only LA. The office controls more than 1,400 jobs and handles everything from evictions to traffic tickets to child support.

Four Democrats are running for the position, and they join “Chicago Tonight” for a candidate forum:

Jacob Meister, a civil rights attorney who previously ran for clerk in 2016, says he’ll advocate for an inspector general to oversee ethics, hiring and firing in the clerk’s office.

Iris Martinez, Illinois state senator of the 20th District on Chicago’s Northwest Side, says she’ll fully digitize the operations of the clerk’s office.

Richard Boykin, a former Cook County commissioner of the 1st District from 2014 to 2018, says he’ll work to expand access to court files for individuals who may not be able to afford them.

Michael Cabonargi, a commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review, which reviews property tax appeals, says his experience modernizing that office uniquely qualifies him to serve as clerk.


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