Hon. Evelyn B. Clay
First elected to the bench of the Circuit Court of Cook County on November 5, 1996, Judge Clay has been retained twice, in 2002 and 2008. Her initial assignment was the 1st Municipal District where she presided over preliminary hearings and Bond Court. A three-year rotation to Night Narcotics followed. This was the first stop in the Felony Trial Division. Subsequently, Judge Clay served as a floater judge covering the court calls of 30+ judges due to vacation, illness, and multiple cases ready for trial or hearing. In 2001, Judge Clay was assigned her own courtroom. The caseload consisted of all felonies, ranging from retail theft to first degree murder. In September of 2009, Chief Judge Timothy Evans appointed Judge Clay to the position of Supervising Judge.
Another judicial milestone occurred in November of 2009 when Judge Clay presided over the eleven capital murder cases of Andre Crawford in a single jury trial. In Illinois, these cases represented the largest number of capital murder cases charged to a single individual since John Wayne Gacy.
Immediately prior to her judicial election, Judge Clay served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for fifteen years, her last assignment with the office was in the Felony Criminal Division.
Judge Clay received her J.D. degree from Creighton University Law School. She also earned a Masters of Library Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Diploma of Judicial Skills from the American Academy of Judicial Education.
Two or three times per month, on average, Judge Clay has the distinct pleasure of lecturing college, high school, and middle school students on the mechanics of the criminal justice system. Her courtroom is a popular destination for student tours.
Judge Clay has been admitted to the bar of the Northern District of Illinois and the Supreme Court of the United States.