Elected for a Circuit Judgeship two years ago, James Cowlin has now been elevated to Chief Judge by his fellow Circuit Court Judges.
He will replace Judge Michael Sullivan, who has served as Chief Judge since the Circuit was created in 2006.
Here is the press release about his new role:
Circuit Judge James S. Cowlin Selected as Chief Circuit Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County
(Woodstock, IL) On June 20, 2018, the Circuit Judges selected James S. Cowlin as Chief Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit, McHenry County, Illinois for a term commencing on December 1, 2018 and terminating on November 30, 2021.
Judge Cowlin will succeed Chief Judge Michael J. Sullivan, who has served in that capacity since December, 2006.
Judge Cowlin is a lifelong resident of McHenry County and has a distinguished family history in the legal community.
Judge Cowlin’s grandfather, Henry L. Cowlin, served as a McHenry County Judge from 1936-1958, and his father, also Henry L. Cowlin, served as a Circuit Judge in the former 19th Circuit of McHenry and Lake Counties from 1978-1996.
Judge Cowlin graduated from Crystal Lake Community High School and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he completed his Bachelors of Arts degree in political science in
Judge Cowlin then received his Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law in
Prior to being appointed Associate Judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, Judge Cowlin practiced law
in McHenry County with the Law Office of Donald W. Truckenbrod, Truckenbrod & Cowlin, and
Cowlin & Cowlin law firms.
Judge Cowlin was appointed to the position of Associate Judge in 2007 and was reappointed by the Circuit Judges of the 22nd Judicial Circuit in 2011 and 2015.
During his tenure as Associate Judge, Judge Cowlin presided over Misdemeanor Jury cases, Family Law cases, Mortgage Foreclosures and other Civil matters, as well as Traffic and Misdemeanor cases.
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What will change when Judge Cowlin takes over from Judge Sullivan.
Judge Sullivan said that cameras in the courtroom were in the future.
Making such an announcement would be a good way for Judge Cowlin to demonstrate that the local court system is joining the trend of courts nationwide.
Another suggestion made by a McHenry County Blog commenter would have lawyers and judges typing orders so (1) people could read them and (2) making such orders available on the internet quicker.
Cowlin could also spearhead enhancing the sound systems in courtrooms so not only the recording machines could hear what lawyers and judges say, but people in the courtrooms could, too.
Much of this is probably already in the sights of the local judiciary, but some improvements will take money and the McHenry County Board holds the purse strings.
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See the mock seal that Circuit Clerk Bill Kays unveiled at the start of the 22nd Circuit here.