Democratic Candidate for
Cook County State’s Attorney

Meet Justice Eileen
O'Neill Burke


For over thirty years as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and judge, Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke (Ret.) has spent her career committed to seeking justice for the people of Cook County.


A lifelong Democrat and fourth generation Chicagoan, Eileen was born and raised on the Northwest side by a single mother after her father died at a young age. She attended St. Mary of the Woods Grade School and Marillac High School before graduating from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Eileen’s deep and diverse experience working on the front lines of the justice system began when she served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for ten years, handling felony appellate cases while supervising other attorney’s appellate cases, working in juvenile court and in felony review, determining whether there was sufficient evidence to charge someone with a felony.

After a decade as a prosecutor, Eileen worked as a criminal defense attorney, helping youth and adults seek justice and fairness in court.

She tried multiple felonies in both adult and juvenile court.

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In 2008

Eileen was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County. She served for eight years, presiding over complex civil court litigation.  Justice O’Neill Burke has had special passion for training the newest judges and has taught Civil Procedure to every new judge in Illinois since 2012.

In 2016, she was elected Justice of the First District Appellate Court in Cook County.  Justice O’Neill Burke issued over 800 written decisions in both civil and criminal cases, reviewing over 1,800 trial court decisions.

During her time on the bench, Justice O’Neill Burke has been asked every year to serve as Judicial Education Faculty member teaching both trial court and appellate court judges in a wide variety of legal areas including Criminal Sentencing, Civil Law Skills, and Judicial Discretion and Decision Making.

Eileen served as the President of the Illinois Judges Association until June of this year and led that organization’s classroom education efforts for thousands of grade school and high school students. Eileen has also served as a youth counselor in her church and trustee for the Park Ridge Library Board, where she focused on making the library more accessible and welcoming to everyone.


Married for 33 years and a working mother of four young adult children, Eileen understands firsthand the concerns we all share about crime and violence in our community.

She has dedicated her life to working within our community and judicial system with activists, advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors to build a safer and more just Cook County.

As a prosecutor and judge, Justice O’Neill Burke is acutely aware of the awesome responsibility placed on our State’s Attorney to vigorously prosecute cases and seek justice for victims, their families, and the people of Cook County while respecting the rule of law and the civil rights of the accused.

She knows that requires thoughtful reform and restorative justice, to ensure that the system focuses on safety and fairness, not jailing people indefinitely because they are poor or mentally ill. Eileen believes we need to put resources into juvenile, veterans, drug, and mental health courts, to help people get back on the right path and build stronger, safer communities.

Above all, Eileen knows that no State’s Attorney can be successful without earning the trust of the public. She will lead an office with the highest standards of efficacy and professionalism. Justice O’Neill Burke has the unmatched experience and vision to make the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney one of the best prosecutor’s offices in the country again.

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