ABOUT LINDA PEREZ
I am a Cook County Public Defender, a Certified Union Steward, a lifelong Democrat and a resident of the 26th Ward. My great-grandparents were migrant farmworkers from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, who came to Chicago and settled in a neighborhood known as Bush, in the South Chicago Community where I was born and raised.
They were drawn to employment opportunities in the Steel Mills.
My great-grandfather and great uncles joined the military and obtained their citizenship. My great-grandfather was a Democrat and raised a family that understood the importance of voting and letting their voices be heard.
My mother was raised in my great-grandparents’ home with her twelve aunts and uncles. I am the youngest of four children raised by a single mother. We were very poor but raised to share what we had with the less fortunate. My Mother was a social worker who worked long hours and made daily sacrifices to ensure that we had more educational and employment opportunities than she did. My siblings and I were bused to magnet schools north of where we lived. The magnet schools were more racially and ethnically diverse than the neighborhood schools. My siblings and I were latchkey kids. We lived across the street from a Chicago Park and we participated in every sports program offered. My mother encouraged our participation in the park’s programs because she understood that those programs kept us off the streets and out of trouble.
When my mother wasn’t working, she was always very active in politics. She took us with her on the campaign trail wherever it lead, south or north. We worked, played and slept at campaign headquarters. My mother taught us to be assertive and to protect others against any perceived injustice. We experienced racism and ethnocentrism, in school and on the campaign trail, and every experience made us stronger.
I was an International Baccalaureate student at Lincoln Park High School. I was a cheerleader, served on Student Council, and was the only girl on the boys swim team. My first job was working at Chicago Park District Beaches and Pools as a Lifeguard. I wanted other children to feel as safe and protected as I did while I played in the park. I worked for the Park District and at private pools in high school and throughout college. I taught children to swim and mentored the strongest swimmers through the Junior Lifeguard Program. I am a proud graduate of Mount Holyoke College, the oldest women’s liberal arts college in the country. It was there that I met women from around the world who inspired me to always be a positive role model for others and taught me that there is always more that I could be doing for the community. I had the honor of serving as Co-Chair of the Latina Students Association, Editor in Chief of the Latina Literary Magazine and I also served on Student Council. I attended NIU College of Law and served as President of the Latino Law Student Association.
I am a Cook County Public Defender in the felony trial division.
For nearly 17 years, I have represented indigent clients who are sometimes the lonely, the friendless, and often, the most feared members of our society. They are people, some with families, and some without. I have always strived to be a kind and compassionate person to them, because I have witnessed first hand the difference I have made in their and their family’s lives, just by taking the time to listen and then explain. I have worked hard to reassure my clients that despite their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, infirmity of mind or body, addictions, poverty or homelessness, that they are just as deserving of the protections of this country’s constitutional rights as anyone else. I believe that my background and qualifications have prepared me to continue my service to Cook County as a Circuit Court Judge.
Linda Perez is an attorney with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. She is a candidate for Cook County Circuit Court Judge in the 6th Judicial Subcircuit. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and the United States Supreme Court.
Linda was born and raised on the far southeast side of the Chicago in a community known as South Chicago. She began her work with the Public Defender’s office as an Administrative Assistant in the Child Protection Division, (formerly known as Abuse and Neglect). Linda was a Permanency Planning Advocate who served as a liaison between clients, attorneys and caseworkers. She attended Department of Children and Family Services (D.C.F.S.) Case Reviews and Service Appeals to represent her clients’ interests.
Linda offered assistance, guidance and encouragement to parents throughout the course of their family reunification efforts. She conducted parent education presentations designed to inform birth parents of their rights and responsibilities as parents of children in the care and custody of D.C.F.S. She also conducted presentations on how to avoid D.C.F.S. intervention to teen mothers enrolled in the “Cradle to Classroom Program” in Chicago Public Schools. Linda was a member of a Juvenile Court Pilot Program called the Paternal Involvement Project where she had the opportunity to write the “Guidebook for Non-Custodial Fathers,” to help these men gain a better understanding of the Child Protection court system.
After completing her studies at Northern Illinois University College of Law, Linda returned to the Public Defender’s Office as an attorney where she has served in both the civil and criminal divisions of the office. Linda has worked in the Specialty Courts Drug Court, Mental Health and Veterans Court, where she advocated for Restorative Justice. She was assigned as a trial attorney to both divisions of Juvenile Court, Child Protection and Juvenile Justice (formerly known as Delinquency). While assigned to the Delinquency Division at the Markham Courthouse, Linda advocated for the continued use of the “Detention Alternatives” programs for juvenile defendants, structured programs that served as a viable alternative to removing children from their homes. She has also served as a trial attorney in Domestic Violence, Misdemeanor and Traffic and in the Felony Trial Divisions. Linda has tried cases involving such offenses as sex crimes, guns and drugs, aggravated vehicular hijackings, home invasions, armed robberies, attempt murder. She has also served as assisting counsel on several murder cases and a death penalty case.
Linda has volunteered at mock trial programs, expungement seminars, and spoken at career fairs in Chicago and South Suburban schools. Linda is a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. Linda is also on the Board of Trustees for the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois. Linda is an active parishioner at St. Michael’s Church. She assists in fundraising efforts for the church and for the Lupus Society of Illinois and Susan G. Komen, organizations that raise awareness of illnesses that have affected her family the most.