|Judge of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District|
|Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County|
|Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County|
|Morgan M. Finley|
|Dorothy A. Brown|
|Born||April 29, 1947|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of America|
DePaul University College of Law
Aurelia Marie Pucinski (born April 29, 1947) is a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District. She previously served as a trial judge and clerk of the circuit court in Cook County, Illinois. Her term expires in 2020.
Born Aurelia Marie Pucinski in Chicago, Illinois, she was named for her paternal grandmother. Her father, Roman Pucinski, was a U.S. Congressman from Illinois's 11th congressional district (1959-1973) during her childhood and youth. After his defeat in the nationwide 1972 Republican landslide, he represented the 41st Ward on the Chicago Alderman from 1973 until 1991. Aurelia Pucinski graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1968 with a B.A. in History. She then taught at a grammar school in Skokie, Illinois. She decided to become a lawyer, enrolled at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, and received a J.D. degree from in 1975.
After beginning her career in a neighborhood law office (1977-1980), Pucinski followed her father's lead into Democratic party politics. One of her first public efforts was representing citizens who sued the Chicago Board of Education to keep a local school open. She also served as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago and as regional counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 1984 Pucinski became a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, a position she held until 1988.
Although Pucinski had the support of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Adlai Stevenson III in the Democratic primary for Secretary of State of Illinois in the 1986 Illinois gubernatorial election, she was upset by LaRouche supporter Janice Hart, who failed to win in the general election (and Stevenson lost as well). In 1988, former Cook County Circuit Court clerk Morgan M. Finley was indicted for corruption (for which he would be convicted the following year). Pucinski resoundingly defeated former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne in the Democratic primary to become clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, then defeated former Democrat turned Republican Edward Vrdolyak in the general election. As Circuit Court Clerk, Pucinski became Cook County's first official to institute a code of ethics and internal ethics board, as well as led the office into the 21st century by adopting new technology to improve efficiency and respond to law enforcement, attorneys and all citizens, including greatly improving processing of child support payments.
In 2000, Pucinski successfully ran to become one of her court's judges, and Dorothy A. Brown succeeded her as the Circuit Court Clerk. As a trial judge, Pucinski helped handled more than 10,000 Domestic Violence cases (including against the elderly), and later was assigned to hear adoption, election, property tax and mental health cases. Her bench book summarized forms and procedures to handle civil protection orders. She also frequently speaks about elder abuse, including at a Chicago Bar Association panel on third party issues in probate, mental health, guardianship and domestic relations, as well as won the City of Chicago's Luminary Award for developing a program to assist elderly victims of domestic abuse.
Pucinski ran for Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court in 2012, but Judge Mary Jane Theis won that seat, so Pucinski continued as on the intermediate appellate court. She has criticised judicial campaign financing.
Pucinski is married and has children.
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