Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans on Thursday announced the appointment of a longtime juvenile judge and former public defender to fill in as presiding judge in juvenile court while candidates are interviewed for the role.
Judge Stuart Lubin was named to temporarily replace former presiding Judge Michael Toomin, who retired at the end of the year after 10 years heading the Juvenile Justice Division.
Juvenile justice advocates have urged Evans to seek a replacement who would work to implement interventions for juveniles that don’t involve incarceration in many cases.
Toomin’s tenure as presiding judge was at times controversial, with some advocates — and at one point, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — arguing that Toomin was too quick to punish, rather than consider other options.
Toomin also played an influential role in the Jussie Smollett case, ordering a special prosecutor to investigate after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office suddenly dropped the charges against him related to a false hate crime report. Dan Webb, the special prosecutor, refiled charges against Smollett, who was convicted after a trial and sentenced to 150 days in jail, though he hasn’t served his sentence and is appealing.
Lubin, a judge for 32 years, has spent all but three months of that in juvenile court, according to a release from Evan’s office. He was previously a public defender in Cook County for 17 years.
Evans is interviewing candidates, and Lubin will serve until the interview process is completed.
“I’m honored to succeed Judge Toomin, an esteemed legal scholar who always followed the law,” Lubin said in the release. “I look forward to serving until Judge Evans decides who the permanent presiding judge will be.”