Justice Charles E. Freeman, who served on the Illinois Supreme Court from 1990 to 2018, passed away March 2, 2020. He was 86 years old.
Justice Freeman was born in Richmond, Virginia, in December 1933. He earned his bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University in 1954 and his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in 1962.
Along with pursuing private practice, Justice Freeman had a long career in public service. He served as an assistant attorney general, Cook County assistant state's attorney, assistant attorney for the County Board of Election Commissioners, arbitrator for the Illinois Industrial Commission, and member of the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Justice Freeman was elected to the Cook County Circuit Court in 1976 and served until 1986, when he was elected to the First District of the Appellate Court. In 1990, Justice Freeman was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court. Justice Freeman was chosen as Chief Justice in 1997, becoming the first African American to lead a branch of government in Illinois. Over the years, he authored many opinions having a profound impact on the development of Illinois law.
The Appellate Lawyers Association expresses profound condolences to Justice Freeman's friends and family. The Illinois Supreme Court's press release on Justice Freeman's passing may be found here.