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Commissioners


Cheryl Starks
Chair 

Hon. Cheryl A. Starks was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1996.  From 1999 until her retirement in November 2010, Judge Starks was assigned to the Cook County Law Division.  Her typical cases were, complex and multi-million dollar negligence lawsuits, medical and professional negligence and environmental class action jury trials.  She has successfully settled many cases involving medical and professional malpractice claims, construction cases, insurance disputes, and contracts.  She was also selected to serve on a special committee to study the Law Division’ Black Line.

From 1996 until 1999, Judge Starks presided over abuse and neglect cases in Juvenile Court.  Her prior legal experience includes Supervising Assistant Corporation Council for the Torts Division of the City of Chicago, Senior Trial Attorney for the Chicago Board of Education, and Office Administrator and Administrative Hearing Officer for the Illinois Department of Public Aid.  She was also a public school teacher.

Judge Starks has served several times as a faculty member for the Illinois Judicial Education committee.  She has been a guest speaker and panelist for numerous bar groups, Moot Court judge, nonprofit organizations, schools, and churches.  She has also served several times as Chicago Public Schools, principal for a day.  She served as a mentoring judge for new judges and was appointed as a judicial member on the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board.

Her current and former affiliations are; ADR Systems of America LLC, the Illinois Judicial Council, Illinois Judges Association, National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, Women Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers Association, and National Bar Association.  Community organization includes Grateful House, Matthew House, The Lighthouse Church, and John Marshall High School Alumni Associations. 

Leonard Cavise
Commissioner

Commissioner Leonard L. Cavise has been a Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law for 28 years. He is a specialist in Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal 
Procedure, Trial Advocacy, and Comparative Law. He is the Founding Director of the DePaul Center for Public Interest Law and the DePaul Chiapas Human Rights
Practicum. He also specializes in the training of lawyers from other countries in 
American criminal law and procedure. He is often called upon to offer media
commentary on significant criminal law issues nationwide. His primary practice
experience is as a criminal defense lawyer, including homicide and death penalty
cases.

 

Fr. Charles Dahm
Commissioner
 

Charles W. Dahm, O.P. is a Dominican priest and the Archdiocesan Director of Domestic Violence Outreach, the Co-coordinator of Peace and Justice for Dominicans in North America and associate pastor of St. Pius V parish in Chicago, a large Hispanic parish in the Pilsen neighborhood  where he was pastor for 21 years.. 

Fr. Chuck is a graduate of Fenwick High School and attended the University of Notre Dame.  He holds a M.A. in theology from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis and a PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He was co-founder of  the 8th Day Center for Justice, a Catholic peace and justice center in Chicago, where he served for twelve years.  During this period, Fr Chuck helped found and support several organizations, such as Illinois Citizens for Better Care, a nursing home advocacy organization, and the Chicago Religious Task Force on Central America. 

While pastor at St. Pius V parish, Fr. Chuck helped found The Resurrection Project, an economic development corporation and community organization, of which he is currently president.  He currently is a board member of San Jose Obrero Mission, a men and women's interim shelter and a Commissioner of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission.

At St. Pius V Fr. Chuck developed the largest parish-based domestic violence program in the U.S.  He is a frequent lecturer and preacher on domestic violence as well as a promoter of parish ministry to victims of domestic violence.  He has developed ministry to victims in more than 30 parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

He is the author of two books: Power and Authority in the Catholic Church, Cardinal Cody in Chicago, and Parish Ministry in a Hispanic Community

Craig Futterman
Alternate Commissioner
Craig B. Futterman is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He founded and has served as the Director of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic since 2000. Before his appointment to the Law Faculty, Professor Futterman was a Lecturer in Law and Director of Public Interest Programs at Stanford Law School. He previously joined Futterman & Howard, Chtd., a boutique law firm concentrating in complex federal litigation. There, Prof. Futterman specialized in civil rights and constitutional matters, with a special focus on racial discrimination, education, and police brutality. Before that, he served as a trial attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.

Mr. Futterman received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and graduated with the highest distinction from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Economics.
Doris Green
Alternate Commissioner
Reverend Doris J. Green, B.A., CADC, CCHP has worked with the incarcerated population for over 29 years. In her current position, Director of Correctional Health & Community Affairs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago she develops and implements innovative strategies to assist highly impacted communities respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She is the founder of Men & Women in Prison Ministries/Universal House of Refuge Center. She has been selected as a speaker at numerous conferences throughout the country, most recently the National Commission on Correctional Health Care Conference, October 2010. In 2004 Reverend Green was appointed to the Cook County Bureau of Health Services, Institutional Review Board as the Prisoner Representative. In 2006, she successfully launched the Faith Responds to AIDS (FRA) committee a broad interfaith coalition of Chicago land leaders', organizations and faith communities in a committed and effective response to stop HIV/AIDS. On August 18, 2007 while in Benin, West Africa Rev. Green was appointed Ambassador for World Peace by the Universal Peace Foundation and the Interreligious & International Federation for World Peace. In 2010 appointed Commissioner for the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission. In 2011 she was selected Advisory Board Member for NAACP Health Department in Washington D.C. 

John Mathias
Commissioner
John H. Mathias, Jr. is a senior litigation partner and veteran trial lawyer at the law firm of Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago. He is chair of the firm’s Insurance Recovery and Counseling Practice and oversees its Reinsurance Practice. He has been an active member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation for many years, formerly serving on its leadership Council and co-chairing various Section committees. He is a former Chair of the ABA's Death Penalty Representation Project Steering Committee and has represented clients in death penalty cases on a pro bono basis multiple times over his years of practice. Prior to joining Jenner & Block, he served as trial defense counsel in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps, where he tried hundreds of court martials in Long Beach, CA, San Diego, CA, and Jacksonville, FL. He is a graduate of Fenwick High School (1965), Dartmouth College (1969), and Harvard Law School (1972).

Hipolito (Paul) Roldan
Commissioner
As Chief Executive Officer of Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, Mr. Roldan has developed over 3,200 affordable apartments and townhomes in 36 various developments for families and elderly residents of several Hispanic communities in Chicago. In addition, he has initiated the development of over 8,200 square feet of retail and office space in five Chicago-based developments. He has also directed the formation of a property management arm, which currently manages over 4,200 residential units in various communities through out Chicago and Illinois. Mr. Roldan also established, and now directs Tropic Construction Corp., a residential and commercial builder. Previous to his experience with Hispanic Housing, Mr. Roldan also developed low income housing in Brooklyn, New York.

In 1988, Mr. Roldan was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his work in Community Development. He committed $100,000 of his fellowship award for the establishment of the Teresa and Hipolito Roldan Community Development Scholarship Fund in order to attract Latinos into the community development field. He was awarded a Bronze Star with "V" Device for combat duty in Vietnam, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies from St. Francis College, and a Master's degree in Urban Studies from Long Island University in New York.

Mr. Roldan also serves on various boards and committees including the Chicago board of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Mayor Daley's Green Ribbon Committee for Climate Change, Latino Policy Forum, MB Financial, N.A., Housing Partnership Network, and The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. He was an "Inner-City Advisor" and former National Trustee of the Urban Land Institute, and is a board member of the Boston-based The Community Builders, an Illinois Director of Seguros Multiples - a Puerto Rico-based insurance cooperative, and serves as a member of Bank of America's Community Advisory Council.

Mr. Roldan was a participant in President Clinton's Economic Conferences held in Little Rock in 1992, and Columbus, Ohio in 1995. In 2006, Mr. Roldan co-authored Casa y Comunidad, a Latino Home and Neighborhood Design book.
 
Natalie J. Scruton
Alternate Commissioner 

Natalie J. Scruton is an associate in Neal Gerber Eisenberg’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. She is experienced in both traditional and federal and state employment law issues.

Natalie has counseled clients in a wide range of employment litigation, labor law and counseling matters, including restrictive covenants; employment contracts and policies; compliance with local, state and federal employment laws; wage and hour class actions and employee classifications; responding to government audits and charges; and representing employers during Government Agency Fact-Finding Conferences, mass layoffs, union organizing campaigns and employment discrimination cases.

In addition to her Labor & Employment practice, Natalie represents Defendants on a range of criminal matters, including:

  • Currently representing a Defendant, who was sentenced as a juvenile to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole, during the Defendant’s re-sentencing hearing, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v. Alabama finding such sentences for juveniles unconstitutional, and the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling in thePeople v. Davis, vacated Defendant’s natural life sentence and ordered that a new sentencing hearing be conducted; 

  • Represented a Defendant, sentenced to natural life in prison, during the Defendant’s re-sentencing hearing, which was ordered after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Defendant’s original sentence was unconstitutional because certain mitigating factors were never presented during the Defendant’s original sentencing hearing; 

  • Represented a Defendant, sentenced as a juvenile to natural life without the possibility of parole, during Defendant’s post-conviction petitions regarding a claim of actual innocence and pursuant to the Miller v. Alabamaruling; 

  • Successfully represented a Defendant during the Defendant’s plea for a reduced bond; and

  • Represented multiple Defendants during post-conviction petitions for claims of actual innocence as a member of the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Innocence and Justice Clinic.

Marcie Thorp
Commissioner
Marcie Thorp is Of Counsel with the law firm of SmithAmundsen LLC and specializes in civil defense matters at the trial and appellate levels. She is a former Assistant States Attorney with the Cook County States Attorney's Office. Ms. Thorp earned her Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Illinois and her Juris Doctorate degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. In addition to her legal career, Ms. Thorp is an adjunct professor with Chicago-Kent College of Law teaching courses in trial advocacy.                                                                          
Rob Warden
Commissioner
An award-winning legal affairs journalist, is the co-founder and Executive Director
of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. His investigations into wrongful convictions in Illinois capital cases in the 1980's set a movement in motion that culminated in the abolition of the state's death penalty on March 9, 2011. (See Eric Zorn, "toast, of sorts, to the warriors," Chicago Tribune, March 10, 2011.) Mr. Warden is the author or co-author of hundreds of articles and seven books, including four focusing on wrongful convictions - Gone in the Night (Delacorte, 1993), A promise of Justice (Hyperion, 1998) The Dead Alive
(Northwestern University Press, 2005) and True Stories of False Confessions
(Northwestern University Press, 2009).

He currently is working on a book on the execution of likely innocent persons to be published by Northwestern University Press. Mr. Warden has won more than fifty journalism awards, including the Medill School of Journalism's John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, two American Civil Liberties Union James McGuire Awards, five Peter Lisagor Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Norval Morris Award from the Illinois Academy of Criminology. In 2003, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Hame.