Judge Melissa Durkin, Chair            

The Illinois Judges Association is proud to announce its newest In-Schools program targeted to junior high and high school students in Illinois. The presentation by local judges will educate the students about the justice system, how a case goes through the system, whats the difference between the juvenile and the adult system and what are the crimes associated with the internet and social media.  The judges will lead discussions in the classroom on these topics of particular importance to young people.  

“The Illinois Judges Association met with focus groups of students to determine what they would want to hear about if a judge came to their schools.  We are excited to have made this program to specifically address problems that today’s youth face on a daily basis,” noted Justice Eileen O’Neill Burke, who spearheaded the creation of this program. Justice Burke is the Third Vice President of the Illinois Judges Association and has served as Chairman of the IJA's In-Schools programs. 

Marshan Allen shares his life story.  At the age of 15, he acted as a getaway driver in a robbery.   During the robbery, two people were killed as he waited in the car.  He was convicted of murder on a legal theory of accountability and sentenced to natural life.  After a change in the law, Marshan was released after serving 25 years in prison.  His powerful story will convey in a profound and moving way that being with the wrong people can ruin your life.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx will explain the difference between the juvenile and adult systems. She will explain how prosecutors can use what people put on the Internet or have on their phones as evidence in a criminal case.

During the presentation, the presenting judge will use powerful video clips to prompt discussions that can educate students and keep them safe and out of trouble.

This program provides a way for judges to be present in the communities they serve and to make a real difference in young people’s lives.

For more information about this and other initiatives of the Illinois Judges Association, go to or follow the IJA on twitter at @ILJudgesAssoc.