Carlos Claudio: A New Kind of Judge Justice from the Community, for the Community


By La Voz staff,

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In 1992, the Illinois State Legislature established the Cook County Judicial Subcircuits. They were created to ensure more diversity on the bench by having judges elected from the different neighborhoods in Chicago. One of those subcircuits is the 6th, a diverse district with a large Latino presence that includes the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, Logan Square, West Town, Hermosa and others. In this subcircuit, an important race has caught the attention of many stakeholders. Carlos Claudio, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, is the only Latino with a contested race in the 6th subcircuit. He already has the support of the majority of Latino elected officials on Chicago’s North Side. Endorsements include: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Senator Iris Martinez, Representative Luis Arroyo, Sr., Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., Alderman Roberto Maldonado, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Alderman Milly Santiago, and Alderman Gilbert Villegas. Carlos was born and raised on Chicago’s Northwest side, in the Bucktown and Hermosa neighborhoods, and graduated from Kelvyn Park High School. As an undergraduate, Carlos first attended Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he was elected President of the Student Government Association. He then transferred to DePaul University, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. At De- Paul, Carlos was elected president of DePaul’s Alliance for Latin American Empowerment, a student organization that highlighted the importance of diversity in higher education and worked to provide assistance to underserved communities. In addition, he, along with other student activists, was instrumental in the formation of DePaul’s Latino Cultural Center. He went on to earn his juris doctorate at DePaul University College of Law, where he received the Mayor’s Leadership Scholarship and served as the Student Bar Association’s Diversity Representative. Carlos began his career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in one of the busiest courtrooms in Chicago, where he prosecuted countless DUI cases and quickly rose to become first chair, a title given to attorneys who are in charge of their courtrooms. Later, in the State’s Attorney’s Juvenile Abuse and Neglect section, Carlos focused on ensuring the safety and security of children who had been endangered by abusive or negligent parents or guardians. While at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Carlos witnessed first hand the inequities facing so many families coping with the justice system in Cook County. “Growing up I was always drawn to the legal profession. I thought a courtroom was the great equalizer, the one place where no matter what the circumstances, fairness and accountability would always prevail. I believed justice was truly blind. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Too many times we see the inequities that exist in our society manifest themselves in our judicial system,” said Claudio. Knowing that the judicial system was failing his and other communities throughout Cook County, Carlos decided to start his own private practice where he consistently took on pro bono work focused on both civil and criminal matters. Now he is running for judge with the same passion and commitment that he has displayed throughout his career. “Our community has always had to fight for justice. My race is an extension of that. I want to represent and give a voice to the countless people from our neighborhood that feel disenchanted with our judicial system. Because for far too long we have had to endure with a heavy heart the injustice that happens around us. That is why it is important that we elect judges that transcend social biases and are willing to hold themselves to the highest standards while pursuing justice. It is with those values as my guiding principles that I will proudly represent my community,” said Claudio. Carlos lives in Logan Square with his wife Marina, a family physician in private practice on the north side, and their 11-year-old daughter.