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Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza Becomes the New Specialty Court Coordinator for Cook County


Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza


CHICAGO, IL – Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza, a specialist in the field of problem-solving alternatives in criminal court cases, will be the new Specialty Court Coordinator starting October 1, Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans announced on Thursday.

“As director of specialty courts, Kelly Gallivan-Ilarraza will be responsible for integrating these courts throughout the system by expanding existing courts and developing new ones,” said Judge Evans. “She also will help in establishing protocols, training and evaluation to ensure their continued success.”

Sometimes called problem-solving courts, specialty courts seek to help criminal defendants charged with low-level offenses and suffering from an underlying mental health, social or substance abuse problem avoid becoming repeat offenders. Specialty courts achieve this goal by providing treatment and intensive supervision.


The Cook County Circuit Court has a countywide network of specialty courts that includes Drug Treatment Courts, Mental Health Treatment Courts, Veterans’ Treatment Courts and a Restorative Justice Community Court. Two more Restorative Justice courts opened last month on the Northwest and South Sides of Chicago.


Specialty courts are characterized by collaborative planning, a team approach among legal stakeholders, supervised treatment and oversight, and regular hearings before judges who provide support, incentives and, where necessary, sanctions in order to improve the behavior of defendants.


“Problem-solving court programs offer a necessary alternative to incarceration for people who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Gallivan-Ilarraza. “Using a coordinated strategy, PSC teams provide participants with the best opportunity to make life-altering changes by employing services tailored for the individual. By enhancing and expanding the programs, we can provide these opportunities to more individuals in Cook County.”


Gallivan-Ilarraza comes with a wealth of experience in finding alternative solutions for defendants in criminal cases. She has been the problem-solving manager for the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC) since the fall of 2019. In this position, she directed the development of a problem-solving court curriculum for judges, state’s attorneys, defense attorneys, probation officers, treatment providers and other stakeholders. Prior to this, Gallivan-Ilarraza spent six years as the AOIC’s problem-solving coordinator and two years as a probation specialist, evaluating probation and detention departments.


Gallivan-Ilarraza has eight years of experience as an adult probation officer for Cook County. She also has served on a variety of committees, including the Council of State Treatment Coordinators and the Opioid Social Equity Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminology from Marquette University.


Her new role was previously held by retired Associate Judge Lawrence P. Fox, who has retired from the specialty court position.

Judge Evans also announced on Thursday t

hat Daniel Hunter is the Circuit Court’s new Director of Family Mediation Services, replacing longtime director David Royko, who has retired. Hunter has served as Supervisor of Family Mediation Services for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

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