Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0826
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Full Text of HR0826  101st General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Justice
4Charles E. Freeman of Chicago, who passed away on March 2,
52020; and
6    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman was born in Richmond, Virginia on
7December 12, 1933; he was descended from slaves freed by
8Quakers before the American Civil War; he earned a Bachelor of
9Arts in Liberal Arts from Virginia Union University in
10Richmond, Virginia in June 1954; he earned his Juris Doctor
11from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago in February 1962;
13    WHEREAS, Early in his professional career, Justice Freeman
14served Illinois as an assistant attorney general, an assistant
15state's attorney, and an attorney for the Board of Election
16Commissioners while in private practice from 1962 to 1979; he
17was appointed by then Governor Otto Kerner as an arbitrator to
18the Illinois Industrial Commission in January 1965, where he
19heard and wrote decisions on more than 2,000 work-related
20injury cases; he served in that capacity until September 1973;
21he was appointed by then Governor Dan Walker as a commissioner
22on the Illinois Commerce Commission and served from September
231973 to December 1976; and



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1    WHEREAS, For 10 years, Justice Freeman served on the Cook
2County Circuit Court, winning two elections in the process;
3while a circuit court judge, he became the first African
4American to swear in a Chicago mayor in 1982, his longtime
5friend Harold Washington; he was elected to the Appellate Court
6in 1986; and
7    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman was elected to the Illinois
8Supreme Court on November 6, 1990, becoming the first African
9American to serve; he was selected as Chief Justice on May 12,
101997 and served in that capacity until January 1, 2000; during
11his tenure as chief justice, he oversaw improved efficiency of
12the Family Violence Prevention program, the establishment of a
13judicial web page, and the reorganization of the rotation of
14assignments of appellate judges in the First Judicial District,
15ending the practice that allowed appellate judges in Cook
16County to sit on the same panel for their lifetimes; he retired
17in 2018; and
18    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman was a member of the Cook County,
19Illinois State, and DuPage County Bar Associations; he was also
20a member of the Illinois Judicial Council, the Illinois Judges
21Association, the American Judges Association, and the American
22Judicature Society; he received numerous awards throughout his
23career, including the Freedom Award from the John Marshall Law



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1School, the Seymour Simon Justice Award from the Jewish Judges
2Association, the Earl Burrus Dickerson Award from the Chicago
3Bar Association, the Ira B. Platt Award, and the Presidential
4Award from the Cook County Bar Association; and
5    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman was known as a trailblazer with a
6sharp legal mind, a gentleman, and a devoted family man; and
7    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman was preceded in death by his wife
8of 50 years, Marylee; and
9    WHEREAS, Justice Freeman is survived by his son, Kevin
10(Cami) Freeman; his grandchildren, Skye Marie Freeman and Miles
11Charles Freeman; and his brother, James Freeman; therefore, be
15we mourn the passing of Justice Charles E. Freeman and extend
16our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all who
17knew and loved him; and be it further
18    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
19presented to the family of Justice Freeman as an expression of
20our deepest sympathy.