Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



ELECTIONS 2020 JUDGES (COGHLAN VACANCY) James Derico Jr. on current judgeship, church, LGBTQ history
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Derico Jr.—a member of the LGBTQ community—finds himself in the position of several of his colleagues in which he's a sitting judge running for a vacancy.

His qualifications would impress many, as he has been involved in the legal field ( in one aspect or another ) for more than three decades. In 1992, Derico became the owner and founding partner of Derico & Associates, P.C. In that capacity, Judge represented Fortune 500 companies and private individuals in a wide range of transactional and litigation matters.

Windy City Times: Like some others, such as Levander Smith Jr., you're a judge running for a vacancy.

James Derico Jr.: Yes; my term expires Dec. 7. The difference is I'm in the Coghlan vacancy. All I know is that Judge Matthew Coghlan is the first judge to not be retained in 28 years. [Note: It was reported that Coghlan fell short of the 60 percent of "yes" votes from the public needed to keep his/her/their seat.] My political spin on the situation is that the Illinois Supreme Court knew people were watching who was put in that spot [the bench Derico currently occupies]. I heard that there are about 90,000 attorneys in Cook County—and I was picked.

WCT: Would you say you're in a closely watched race?

JDJ: At this point, not really. There might be some "lakefront liberals" watching, but usually when I mention the Coghlan vacancy, people are like, "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" They don't have any concept of it. It was closely watched when it happened, but people have moved on. When I first ran, there was the joke that I was the "nobody nobody knew"—it's based on an urban legend.

Also, I am a man of faith, and I believe that if God decides to live for you, nothing else really matters.

WCT: Speaking of faith, you attend Trinity United Church of Christ. How long have you attended?

JDJ: Twenty-one years. You know, they supported abolitionists and paid for the lawyers for the Amistad people; it has a very long history.

WCT: What drew you to that particular church?

JDJ: I grew up in church where we went for 9:30-2 on Sundays, went back at night, go on Tuesday and Friday; when we were teenagers, we stopped going so much. So I thought I had enough church growing up.

But in January 1998, I made a New Year's resolution to go to church. Two of my college friends were members of Trinity, and it was the only church I had really heard of, so I went there. I instantly liked [Rev.] Jeremiah Wright.

WCT: What was your reaction when the controversy surfaced about Jeremiah Wright when [President] Obama ran for office? Did you think it was much ado about nothing?

JDJ: I did. It's interesting you asked that because one of my very good friends from college, who happens to be white, had parents in town—and I was good friends with them. My friend's father asked me about Jeremiah Wright and I said, "Jeremiah Wright was a decorated veteran of the Marines, and who am I—who's never been in the military—to criticize a man who fought for this country?" I heard when he said, "God damn America," and I moved on. He did say [later], "I shouldn't have said that from the pulpit."

The other piece is that I thought "Who in the world can judge a person's whole body of work from a 30-second sound bite?" He took a church that had 80 people and built it to 15,000.

Also, it's hard out there for a brother. It's a system. But the church just became a wonderful place for me. I go to an elementary school near the church, and mentor fourth- and fifth-grade boys. Last year, they asked me to be their commencement speaker. Also, we have partnered with Trinity for a legal clinic where people can get free legal advice; I was co-chair of the committee from 2006 until I went on the bench in 2019. I've received the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Distinguished Service Award.

WCT: So can a judge ever be an advocate for someone or a cause?

JDJ: No—absolutely not. I can't give legal advice or even opinions on matters that come before me. Someone asked me my thoughts about Mayor Lightfoot's set-asides for LGBTs, and I said, "I can't give my opinion." I haven't ruled on it, but I never know when I might have to decide something related to that.

WCT: What do you think are the biggest issues affecting the LGBTQ community?

JDJ: I think one—like one of the many facing African Americans—is a loss of sense of history. I'm not young, so I don't know how much younger LGBTQ people know of their history. With the Legacy Walk [in Boystown], I didn't know half of the people featured are [LGBTQ]. George Washington Carver—the peanut man? [Laughs] It's a concern to me because those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

So that sense of history is important. All of those people on the Legacy Walk, for example, are good to know. I have a strong feeling that 20 years from now, young gay people won't know about when they couldn't marry.

WCT: What are your biggest advantages and disadvantages in this political race?

JDJ: My biggest advantage—and biggest disadvantage—is that people see my name and don't know I'm Black. I can't tell you how many African American senior citizens who've said to me, "I'm so glad I met you because I wouldn't know what to do with your name."

See .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

HRC Pres. Alphonso David reacts to U.S. approaching 200,000 COVID deaths 2020-09-21 - WASHINGTON, DC - Today, as the United States approaches the grim milestone of surpassing 200,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, Human Rights Campaign Foundation ...

Gay News

Groups, officials condemn state rep's anti-gay remarks 2020-09-21 - Organizations and elected officials condemned comments Republican Illinois state Rep. Amy Grant made during a fundraising call about her Democratic challenger, Ken Mejia-Beal. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lambda Litfest, #BiWeek, whistleblower, Equality Awards, Blade 2020-09-21 - The 4th annual Lambda Litfest ( Oct. 5-9 ) has been transformed into a specially curated, virtual event celebrating Black LGBTQIA+ excellence and ...

Gay News

WORLD Barbados items, EU's criticism, Billie Jean King, Equality Act 2020-09-21 - Barbados is ready to grant legal status to same-sex couples, in a major breakthrough for gay rights lobbying in the Caribbean Community ( ...

Gay News

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an important voice for LGBT people 2020-09-19 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the justice with the most pro-LGBT voting record in the history of the court, died Friday ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois announces general election endorsements 2020-09-18 - CHICAGO - Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans, today announced endorsements for the November ...

Gay News

Link pleads guilty to tax-related charges 2020-09-17 - On Sept. 16, now-former Illinois state Sen. Terry Link pled guilty to a federal count of filing a false tax return, The Chicago ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois endorses thirteen LGBTQ candidates for general election 2020-09-17 - CHICAGO - Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer Illinoisans, today announced endorsements of a record ...

Gay News

Trans candidate McBride makes history again 2020-09-16 - Sarah McBride—who, in 2016, was the first openly transgender person to address the Democratic National Convention—made history again with a primary victory, setting ...

Gay News

HRC Foundation, HIT release study on voters of color, voting by mail 2020-09-16 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation and HIT Strategies released the first results of a national survey of voters of color, ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.