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The Honorable Judge William Hooks, a former Bud Billiken Parade King in the early 1960s, was sworn in recently as Circuit Court Judge of Cook County, At Large. Hooks was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the term of Judge Richard B. Berland,

The Honorable Judge William Hooks, a former Bud Billiken Parade King in the early 1960s, was sworn in recently as Circuit Court Judge of Cook County, At Large.

Hooks was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the term of Judge Richard B. Berland, who recently retired.

“This is bittersweet for me. I’m happy to see him become a judge, but sad to lose him as an attorney,” said the Honorable Judge John Steele who served as the master of ceremony of Hooks’ installation.

One by one, many of Hooks’ peers touted him as a superb attorney, a man who stands for equal justice and one who will leave a rich legacy of his noble calling as an attorney.

Hooks, a graduate of Lindblom Technical High School, served in the Marine Corps for at least two decades and obtained his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1981. Fifteen years later, he started a private practice specializing in criminal defense and civil litigation.

One of his most high-profile cases was the Girl X case, where a 9- year-old girl from the Cabrini-Green public housing complex was raped and poisoned with bug spray in one of the building’s stairwells. Hooks and his partners won a $3 million settlement from the Chicago Housing Authority in that case.

The president of the Cook County Bar Association, the largest bar association in the world, said Hooks will be a wonderful asset to the bench, and she has no doubt that he will bring that same zeal he possessed as an attorney to the courtroom.

“His clients range from white collar to blue collar, and as he would say it, no collar. He defended many who could not afford representation, as did our mentor, (the late judge) R. Eugene Pincham,” said Zeophus Williams.

Hooks is also a past president of the CCBA and the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Ronald Hooks, a cousin from Memphis, Tenn., read a letter of accolade from their cousin, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, a former executive director of the NAACP.

Benjamin Hooks’ letter stated he was “amazed by his perseverance and dedication,” and he was “overwhelmed with joy” about his appointment.

The Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Honorable Timothy Evans, also expressed his sentiments about the revered Hooks.

“He’s protected the weak from the strong, as any lawyer would,” Evans said after Hooks was sworn in.

A humble Hooks–who dabbled with thoughts throughout his career of becoming a judge but became more serious about it when Pincham suggested it before his death–kept his parting remarks short and sweet.

“Thanks so much for coming,” he said.

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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