Illinois Court of Appeals Judge Donald Hudson Dies at 74


Donald Hudson, an Illinois appeals judge and former Kane County judge, presided over the much-publicized murder trial and created a commission tasked with codifying Illinois’ rules of evidence. supervised.

Former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke said, “Whether he was writing songs, writing opinions, or working on Supreme Court rules, he was passionate about everything he did.” Told.

Hudson, 74, died at his home in St. Charles on April 11 from complications from cancer, his wife Jerilyn said.

Second District Appeals Judge Don Hudson

Born in Chicago, Hudson grew up on the West Side and graduated from Austin High School. An avid musician, Hudson was in a rock band called Edges of Wisdom in high school. Years later, Hudson has continued to compose and record music, and some of his recent songs are available for streaming on Spotify, his colleagues said.

Hudson received a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a law degree from the John Marshall School of Law in 1975. According to his wife, he was a Kane County prosecutor but then went into private practice and was primarily responsible for closing properties.

In 1993, he was appointed Associate Judge of the Kane County 16th Judicial Circuit. He was elected as a circuit judge in 2000 and served as presiding judge for the city of Kane’s juvenile division and then presiding judge for the county’s felony division.

In 2004, judges in the Kane County 16th Judicial Circuit elected Hudson as presiding judge. He was re-elected as Chief Justice in 2006.

“In any profession, it’s always special to have the trust and confidence of your colleagues, and I will continue to uphold that confidence,” Hudson told the Tribune in 2004. “I want to be proactive and progressive in that position.”

Hudson presided over a number of high-profile murder trials, including the trial of Willie Buckhana, who was convicted of being involved in a triple murder in Elgin in 1999.

He was appointed to the State Judicial Commission of Inquiry in 2007 and was elected chairman of the commission in 2008. He also created the Kane Treatment Alternatives Tribunal (informally known as the Mental Health Tribunal) as a means of redirecting nonviolent criminals battling mental health problems. to a treatment program.

In late 2008, the state Supreme Court appointed Mr. Hudson as chairman of the special committee. Its mandate was to formally enact rules of evidence for trials in the state.

“What I can say about Don is that he was asked to do so many things by the Supreme Court,” Burke said. “Illinois had no codified rules of evidence. All we had was common law rules of evidence that developed over time. He also served as chairman of the Judicial Investigation Commission.

Former Kane County Circuit Judge Keith Brown recalled Hudson’s service as Chief Justice.

“He was very committed to promoting women to judges,” Brown said. “He loved being a leader and mentor and doing things that other people didn’t want to do.”

In 2009, Hudson was appointed by the State Supreme Court to serve on the Elgin-based Second District Court of Appeals. Fellow judge Mary Schottk described Hudson as a “consensus maker” who always “wanted to do something to make the legal system better.”

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“He never hesitated to make an appointment to the committee,” Shostoke said. “He was chairman of the Judicial Investigation Commission, and he was always happy to teach and educate people on the subject. I always appreciated him for that. “

Hudson was still on appeal at the time of his death.

“What struck me was that he was definitely one of those people who believed that everyone should be treated fairly and equally,” Hudson’s wife said. “I can’t imagine him doing anything else,” she said.

The first marriage ended in divorce. Hudson has a daughter, Sarah McGonagle, in addition to his wife. son Daniel. Stepdaughter Laura Bart. Stepson Pete Burns. brother Albert. and two sisters, Caryl Wolfe and Jan Robinson.

Worship was held.

Goldsborough is a freelance reporter.

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Written by Natalia Chi

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