Our Revolution Illinois Chicago, the progressive political organization that grew out of the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign has come out in opposition to the retention of Judge Michael Toomin, the presiding judge of Cook County’s juvenile division and Judge Mauricio Araujo of the 6th subcircuit. Judge Araujo was removed from his court assignment and has been placed on administrative leave following multiple corroborated sexual harassment allegations.An investigation into Judge Toomin found that juvenile justice attorneys and advocates universally opposed his retention stating that “he lacks the appropriatetemperament to lead the juvenile division, obstructs efforts at reform and continues to pursue an outdated and harmful approach to juvenile justice.
“We cannot reform our justice system without also holding judges accountable. They are the gatekeepers of our justice system and, for too long, the Democratic Party simply rubber stamped them for retention, without any deliberation or review. It was a disservice to voters and, even more so, to those who come incontact with our justice system.”
“Judge Araujo’s documented history of misogyny and sexual harassment is undeniable. He has abused his power and it’s clear he has forfeited his right to his position on the bench” said Clem Balanoff, Chair Emeritus of Our Revolution Illinois.
Board member Abe Matthews continued on Judge Toomin: “Judge Toomin’s approach isn’t just outdated, it’s dangerous. From scientific findings to U.S. Supreme Court rulings, it’s been made clear that juveniles need to be treated differently than adults. Rehabilitation should be the goal. Yet, as juvenile justice attorneys and advocates have testified, both during the investigation and since, Judge Toomin has used his position to actively oppose and block reform in the juvenile system.”
While thousands of kids across the state were given much-needed pathways out of the justice system and into rehabilitative alternatives, Judge Toomin blocked Cook County’s participation in favor of efforts like his “mock court”, an unauthorized, off the books initiative to isolate and terrify kids in hopes of “scaring them straight”.
“We cannot reform the juvenile justice system with Judge Toomin at the helm. And sexual predators like Judge Araujo needs to be removed. That is why we have to vote no,” said Balanoff. “Our Revolution will be sending out emails to the 35,000 activists across Cook County and urging them to Punch 206 to vote No on Toomin and Punch 252 to vote No on Araujo,” concluded Board member Jose Torrez.
Our Revolution Illinois/Chicago joins the Cook County Democratic Party and Judicial Accountability PAC in opposing Judges Toomin and Araujo.