Resume

Professional Experience

The State of Illinois

Circuit Court Judge, Cook County, Traffic Division

Full circuit judge appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court on January 6, 2022.  Currently assigned to the Traffic Division.

  • Preside over traffic matters including driving under the influence and driving on a suspended or revoked license.
  • Conduct civil hearings on petitions to rescind statutory summary suspensions.
  • Conduct marriage and civil union ceremonies. 

Acero Schools of Chicago (2016 – 2022)

General Counsel/Chief Administrative Officer

Chief legal counsel for a non-profit unionized public charter school network comprised of fifteen schools providing quality education to more than 7,000 Chicagoland students. Responsible for leading Acero’s strategic and tactical legal initiatives, oversight and implementation of legal compliance across the network and management of Acero’s Human Capital Department. 

  • Served as a legal advisor and resource to senior management, campus leaders, and the Board of Directors on matters such as litigation, governance, compliance, policy, labor, education law, insurance, internal investigations and procurement. 
  • Ensured compliance with collective bargaining agreements.
  • Evaluated the legal implications and impact of legal compliance issues, and recommended operational changes or created necessary policies and procedures.
  • Worked with senior management and others to monitor and oversee compliance with laws and regulations affecting Acero’s 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
  • Managed a team of in-house attorneys as well as six Human Capital professionals. 
  • Managed, coordinated and oversaw relationships with outside counsel retained to represent Acero.
  • Served as Acero’s Title IX Officer.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (2014 – 2016)

Chief of General Prosecutions, Division of Professional Regulation

Senior Public Service Administrator responsible for license enforcement, prosecution and compliance pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Code of various professions including, but not limited to; Funeral Directors and Embalmers, Roofing, Cosmetology and Collection Agencies. 

  • Reviewed and assessed all cases referred to the General Prosecutions Unit from Investigations and Licensing.
  • Assigned cases warranting enforcement for non-compliance to prosecuting attorneys within the Unit.
  • Directed Unit attorneys on their case preparation and trial strategy.
  • Developed and implemented strategies to manage and reduce voluminous caseloads within the Unit.
  • Maintained personal caseload of high profile cases including drafting of notices, complaints and orders, appearing in court and conducting informal conferences. 
  • Provided informative public presentations to entities seeking to learn more about the Department.

Chicago Transit Authority (2009 – 2014)

Chief of Safety and Security Compliance (2009 – 2010)

Enforced a culture of ethical conduct and conformity with the law so as to prevent noncompliance.

  • Proactively managed risks to anticipate, prevent, detect and correct irregularities in compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations and policies regarding CTA’s Safety and Security Departments.

Deputy Chief of Staff (2010 – 2011)

Assisted Chief of Staff with daily oversight of the senior management team while providing leadership, guidance and direction on CTA policies, projects and investments.

  • Provided focused instruction on numerous initiatives originating within a variety of departments.
  • Assisted the Office of the Inspector General with obtaining responses to investigations and audits from various levels of management.
  • Coordinated two day workshop for General Managers to reassess and redefine CTA’s nine priorities.
  • Responded to numerous critical occurrences including derailments, fires, blizzards and the Fourth of July, as well as collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles.

Chief Safety and Security Officer, Senior Vice President (2011 – 2014)

Managed department of over forty-five safety, security and compliance professionals charged with the oversight of bus and rail transit system safety.

  • Ensured legal compliance with safety regulations, policies and best practices through internal audit and inspection procedures.
  • Coordinated closely with the Chicago Police Department, suburban police departments and federal agencies to protect against crime and terrorist threats to the CTA.
  • Directed the functions and activities of CTA’s Security Department to further initiatives concerning the security of customers, employees and property.
  • Collaborated with CTA’s contracted security provider for supplemental station coverage and K-9 resources.
  • Responsible for accident investigations of incidents occurring on the system, including strengthening reporting requirements and monitoring effectiveness and accountability for corrective actions.
  • Led and conducted internal safety reviews by interviewing front line and supervisory personnel, reviewing document records and observing practices to ensure conformity with established practices.

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (1999 – 2009)

Assistant State’s Attorney (2001-2009)

Served as a trial attorney in multiple departments of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau for the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Prosecuted hundreds of criminal matters via case review, indictment, motion practice, jury trials, bench trials and settlement conferences.

  • Traffic Division
    • Litigated misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence and other traffic offenses on a daily basis for two years, including bench trials and jury trials.
    • Engaged in extensive motion practice.
  • Juvenile Justice Bureau
    • Conducted civil hearings to determine appropriate court mandated services for abused and neglected children and civil trials for termination of parental rights following court findings that parents were unfit.
  • Narcotics Prosecutions Bureau
    • Assigned to a felony Narcotics courtroom for over a year and litigated matters on a weekly basis. 
    • Secured convictions in multiple bench and jury trials while acquiring vast litigation experience.
    • Argued a variety of motions, including search and seizure.
    • Assigned to the Special Narcotics Unit within the Bureau and managed a caseload of over thirty narcotic cases requiring specialized vertical prosecution.
    • Managed the selection of Special Grand Jury participants.
  • Sex Crimes Division
    • Reviewed, approved and indicted over thirty sex crime cases involving children and the internet, persons in a position of trust or authority, and multiple victims.
  • Felony Review Unit
    • Successfully interviewed and memorialized the statements of over thirty five in-custody offenders while reviewing criminal cases presented by the Chicago Police Department for approval of felony charges.
  • Felony Preliminary Hearings, Homicide/Sex Division
    • Successfully indicted homicide and sexual assault cases presented to the Grand Jury.

Victim/Witness Advocate (1999-2001)

Provided guidance and resources to victims and witnesses of crime on behalf of the State’s Attorney’s Office on a daily basis in the courtrooms of the Juvenile Justice Division.

  • Increased court attendance of victims and witnesses of crime.
  • Ensured access, awareness and understanding of the criminal justice system for those who appeared in court.

Education

J.D., The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL (1997-2001)

  • Recipient of the Elmer Kissane Award
  • Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Team Member

B.A., English and Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL (1992-1996)

  • Recipient of the General Assembly Academic Scholarship all four years

Community and Professional Activities

Board Secretary, Casa Central Social Service Agency Board of Directors (2011-2021)

Board Secretary, 39th Ward Democratic Organization (2020-2021)

Member, Chicago Bar Association 

Judicial Evaluation Committee Investigator for the Chicago Bar Association (2010-2013)

Member, Hispanic Lawyer’s Association of Illinois

Member, Puerto Rican Bar Association

Member, Woman’s Bar Association

Board Member, National Hispanic Prosecutor’s Association (2006-2009)