The son of a late Chicago Police superintendent Wednesday was named as the new presiding chief judge of the Cook County Criminal Court.
LeRoy K. Martin Jr. will succeed Paul P. Biebel Jr., who retired in July, Chief Cook County Judge Timothy C. Evans announced in a news release.
Judge Joseph Kazmierski had been served as acting chief judge since Biebel left the post.
Martin, 55, a South Side native, is the first African-American to hold the role presiding over matters at the courthouse at 26th and California and several suburban jurisdictions.
He is the son of former Chicago Police Chief LeRoy K. Martin, who served under Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley.
The elder Martin died two years ago.
The younger Martin has been a judge in the Chancery Division since 2007, according to the news release.
He started his career representing personal-injury cases and then went on to work as an assistant Cook County public defender in juvenile cases.
LeRoy K. Martin Jr. opened his own law firm in 1987, working as a criminal defense attorney. He then went into solo practice in 1995, representing those involved in criminal and civil matters.
“I thought as an advocate, that it was my role to make sure the system would work for everyone – that truly justice would be blind,” Martin Jr. said in the news release.
“But I acknowledge the importance of the entire process, not just that individuals accused of crimes have rights, but people who are victims have rights as well. They look to the court system for justice. And we hold people accountable for their decisions or their actions.”
Martin was first appointed a judge by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2002.
He initially dealt with traffic cases and occasionally presided over misdemeanor cases before moving on to the Domestic Relations Division between 2003 and 2007.
Martin received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University and a law degree from North Carolina Central University.
Contributing: Natasha Korecki