Justice Toomin was named Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice Division of the Cook County Circuit Court in December 2010 after completion of a two-year assignment with the First District Appellate Court. Following his service in the United States Marine Corps (1956-58), Justice Toomin received a B.A. in 1962 from Northwestern University and his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1967. He began his career in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office as a felony trial assistant and later entered private practice concentrating in the defense of criminal cases in federal and state courts. Toomin was appointed an associate judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1980 and was elected a circuit judge in 1984. In 1994, he was appointed a supervising judge in the Criminal Division, and in 2000 he was named acting Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division. In his judicial career, Justice Toomin handled some 630 murder cases and presided over more than 400 jury trials.
Justice Toomin served as the chair of the Special Supreme Court Committee on Capital Cases from 2001 until he resigned his position in November 2010. He formerly served as a commissioner of the CLEAR Initiative, which was created to reform and review the Illinois Criminal Code. He previously served as the chair of the Committee on Criminal Law and Probation Administration of the Illinois Judicial Conference, as vice-chair of the Cook County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Defense of Prisoners Criminal Law Committees. Toomin was also a member of the Illinois Senate Criminal Justice System Task Force. From 1983 to 2000, Justice Toomin served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law in the area of litigation and trial practice. He is an active participant in the training and continuing legal education of judges and attorneys throughout the State.