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Will County’s first Hispanic judge sworn in

David CarlsPlainfield was sworn as Will County judge Wednesday Aug. 14 2013 | Janet Lundquist~Sun-Times Media

David Carlson, of Plainfield, was sworn in as a Will County judge on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 | Janet Lundquist~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 17, 2013 8:01AM



Two new judges are to take the bench Thursday in Will County, including the county’s first Hispanic judge.

David Garcia, 57, of Joliet, and David Carlson, 42, of Plainfield, were sworn in Wednesday by Chief Judge Richard Schoenstedt.

“These (circuit judges) are seeing what the Hispanic community, the Latino community needs, and have stepped up,” Garcia said in a speech after he was sworn in.

The men were among 50 applicants, and were chosen from a list of four finalists in voting by the county’s circuit judges.

The vacancies were created when Associate Judge Robert Baron retired and Will County added a judgeship because of its population growth.

Schoenstedt said Wednesday that Carlson will be a “floater” in various courtrooms, while Garcia will hear cases in the county’s family division.

During the ceremony Wednesday, Carlson wore the robe his father, Cook County Judge Brent Carlson, wore when he was on the bench. Brent Carlson died in 1998 at age 52.

“My responsibility today is to fill his robe,” said Carlson, a father of two girls, after he was sworn in.

Carlson has been a lawyer since 2001. He attended Northern Illinois University law school and is affiliated with the Carlson, Zelazo and O’Dekirk, LLC law firm in Joliet.

Carlson, a Republican, lost the race against incumbent State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow, a Democrat, in the 2012 election.

Garcia said he grew up in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community, what was dangerous at the time. He worked full time while attending IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law at night at age 34. Garcia became a lawyer in 1995 and has worked in private practice in Joliet handling a variety of cases, including criminal, real estate, divorce and traffic.

“This is what I wanted to do since I was a little kid,” Garcia said of becoming a lawyer. He views becoming a judge as the next step up the ladder of his career.

On Wednesday, he thanked the judges for choosing him, and also thanked his family, friends and colleagues.

“(The circuit judges) sent a message to the Latino community that told them they are not going to be ignored. They are going to be represented, and there’s going to be justice at this courthouse,” Garcia said.



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