WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that they will begin accepting applications from those interested in serving in the following positions:
- U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. Marshal for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Illinois
The Senators will be assisted by screening committees whose task is to review and vet candidates and advise the Senators regarding the candidates’ qualifications and fitness for the position.
The Senators’ screening committee in the Northern District of Illinois will be chaired by the Honorable David Coar (ret.), former U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. The Senators’ screening Committee in the Central District of Illinois will be chaired by the Honorable Ronald Spears, former Illinois Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge. The Senators’ screening Committee in the Southern District of Illinois will be chaired by the Honorable Patrick Murphy, former U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Illinois.
“These screening committees combine deep legal and judicial experience from across our state. These distinguished Illinoisans will help advise Senator Duckworth and me as we evaluate candidates for some of the most important jobs in Illinois,” said Durbin. “I thank the members of the screening committees for their willingness to serve.”
“I take my constitutional responsibility to advise and consent seriously. The knowledge, insight and expertise of each of the screening committee members will be invaluable as Senator Durbin and I consider nominees to fill critical positions in the judicial system,” said Duckworth. “I thank the members for their commitment to serving the people of Illinois.”
Biographies of each member of the screening committee can be found below.
Applicants for U.S. Attorney must submit a cover letter, resume, and a completed copy of this questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. CT on Monday, May 3. Applicants for U.S. Marshal must submit a cover letter, resume, and completed copy of this questionnaire to email@example.com by 5 p.m. CT on Monday, May 3. Applicants are requested to incorporate their cover letter, resume, completed questionnaire, and any attachments to the questionnaire into a single PDF document if possible. Please note that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the affidavit accompanying the questionnaire is not required to be notarized.
The application questionnaires are nearly identical to those used by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will help provide insight into candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications. The screening committees will review candidates and advise the Senators, who will make recommendations on potential nominees to the President. Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, the nominee will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Senator Durbin chairs, and will receive a vote in the Committee. If a nomination is approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nomination will be sent to the full Senate for consideration.
Screening Committee for the Northern District of Illinois:
The Honorable David H. Coar (ret.) (committee chair). Judge Coar served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois for sixteen years, from 1994-2010. He had previously served the Northern District for eight years as a United States Bankruptcy Judge and for three years as a United States Bankruptcy Trustee. Judge Coar taught for over a decade at DePaul University College of Law as an Associate Professor of Law and additionally served as Associate Dean. He has also worked in private practice and as an arbitrator. Judge Coar received his B.A. from Syracuse University, his J.D. from Loyola University Law School, and his L.L.M. from Harvard Law School. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps Reserves.
Betty Y. Jang. Ms. Jang is a former executive of a publicly-traded healthcare company. Previously, she has provided legal counsel at several Fortune 250 corporations, taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, and was an assistant public defender with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. Ms. Jang has served as a scholarship evaluator for the APIA Scholars program, is an alumnus of the United State of Women's Galvanize Chicago Program, and has held numerous Board positions in local, state, and national bar associations. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois and her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Monica L. Llorente. Ms. Llorente teaches at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law and the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. She has served as an advocate for children’s rights in several national campaigns and has represented children in need in various judicial and administrative proceedings. She is currently the Education Co-Chair of the ABA Children’s Rights Litigation Committee. Ms. Llorente has also served as a board member of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois. Before working at Northwestern, she practiced law at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. She received her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Kim R. Widup. Mr. Widup served as the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois until his retirement in December 2009 after 32 years of federal law enforcement service and three years in the U.S. Army. He was appointed to the U.S. Marshal position by President George W. Bush in 2002 and was confirmed by the Senate. He testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on courthouse security and served as the Chairman of the U.S. Marshals Service Shooting Review Board. He is currently an instructor for the Graduate School USA, Washington, DC, in their national security and suitability programs. Additionally, he serves as a Board Member for the Cook County Sheriff’s Merit Board and operates a consulting business. He received his Associates of Applied Science degree from the College of DuPage.
Major General Michael Zerbonia. General Zerbonia was appointed as the Assistant Adjutant General – Army, Illinois National Guard in October 2015. He is also the commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. He has more than 30 years of military service and has served in critical roles at all levels of command and staff. General Zerbonia served with the Illinois State Police from 1987 to 2015, joining as a cadet and rising to the rank of Colonel of the Division of Operations. He received his B.S. from Northeast Missouri State and his M.A. from the U.S. Army War College.
Screening Committee for the Central District of Illinois:
The Honorable Ronald Spears (ret.) (committee chair). Judge Spears served as a judge in the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Taylorville from 1993- 2015. From 1979-1993, he worked at Miley, Meyer, Austin, Spears and Romano P.C. in Taylorville and served for several years as the city attorney. Previously he served as a judicial law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge J. Waldo Ackerman in the Central District of Illinois. Currently he works as a mediator and arbitrator with Spears Dispute Resolution LLC. He has been active in many bar associations and served as president of the Illinois Judges Association. Judge Spears served in the Illinois Army National Guard from 1972-2006, retiring at the rank of colonel. He was in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. He has a B.A. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law.
Ted Gottfried. Mr. Gottfried served as the Director of the State Appellate Defender in Springfield from 1972-2008, overseeing legal representation in over 40,000 criminal cases in the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Illinois. He has received numerous honors and awards for his service including the Access to Justice special recognition from the Illinois State Bar Association, the Gideon Award from the Illinois Public Defender Association, and a Meritorious Service Award presented by Governor Richard Ogilvie. He received his B.A. from Roosevelt University and his J.D. from John Marshall Law School.
Donald Jackson. Mr. Jackson is a Peoria-based solo practitioner, specializing in civil rights and workplace and disability discrimination. He is a former president of the Peoria chapter of the NAACP and the NAACP Illinois State Conference. Mr. Jackson was a former attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and the Peoria County Public Defender's Office. He received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Rebecca Johnson. Ms. Johnson, of Quincy, is formerly a staff attorney with the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau, providing legal advice and drafting services to both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and serving as the Illinois Correspondent to the National Conference of State Legislatures. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois and her J.D. from the Northern Illinois University College of Law, and she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert W. Cook of the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court.
Nicola Sharpe. Professor Sharpe is a Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, where her research focuses on corporate governance, ethics, compliance and professional responsibility. She also serves as the Director of the Chicago Business Law Program and is a Fellow in the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society at the University of Illinois Gies College of Business. Prior to joining the College of Law in 2008, she served as a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law and practiced at Shearman & Sterling LLP. She received a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Ruth Waller. Ms. Waller formerly served as an Assistant State's Attorney in Macon County, where she served as the senior supervisor of the Child Support Division. Before her work in the State's Attorney's Office, she was a partner in the law firm of Johnson, Waller & Chiligris. Ms. Waller is a former president of the Springfield Coalition of Black Attorneys and has previously served on the boards of the Southern Illinois University School of Law, Millikin University, and Decatur Mental Health Center. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois, her Doctorate in Ministry from Master’s International University of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana, and her J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law.
Screening Committee for the Southern District of Illinois:
The Honorable G. Patrick Murphy (ret.) (committee chair). Judge Murphy served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Illinois for fifteen years, including serving as the chief judge of the SDIL from 2000-2007. He worked in private practice in Marion prior to his service on the bench and has returned to private practice at the law firm Murphy & Murphy, LLC. He received his B.S. from Southern Illinois University and his J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1966-1969.
Ebony Huddleston. Ms. Huddleston is a solo practitioner with the Law Office of Ebony R. Huddleston, P.C. in Alton and Godfrey. Previously she was an assistant vice president for Farrell, Hamilton, & Julian, P.C. in Godfrey. She serves on the Board of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid and she is a past chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Diversity Leadership Council. She received her B.A. from Xavier University of Louisiana and her J.D. from Ohio Northern University Petit College of Law.
The Honorable Bruce Stewart (ret.). Judge Stewart served as an Appellate Judge for the Fifth District Appellate Court of the State of Illinois for ten years (2006-2016). He was appointed Circuit Judge of the First Judicial Circuit in 1995 and elected to that position in 1996. In 2006, he was elected to the Fifth District Appellate Court. Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Stewart worked in private practice for nineteen years. He served on the board of directors for the Illinois Judges' Association. He received his B.A. from Southern Illinois University in 1973 and J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1976.
Steve Stone. Mr. Stone currently works as a partner at Howerton, Dorris, Stone & Lambert in Marion. He worked as an associate at Harris, Lambert, Howerton & Dorris and Brandon & Schmidt in Carbondale. He has been an adjunct professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law. Mr. Stone received his B.A. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1987 and his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1990.
Lois Wood. Ms. Wood retired in 2017 as Executive Director of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, a non-profit based in East St. Louis that provides free civil legal services to low income persons, senior citizens, and veterans in central and southern Illinois. Wood worked with Land of Lincoln for over forty years as a staff attorney, managing attorney and executive director. She has received numerous local, state and national awards for her leadership and for her advocacy on behalf of low-income people and minorities. She is currently Co-Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Special Committee on the Rural Practice Initiative and a member of the ISBA Committee on Legal Education, Admission and Competence. She received her B.A. from Michigan State University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.