Welcome to my website.
I am running for Cook County Judge because I care deeply about our community and believe that my experiences and abilities have prepared me well to serve. I have worked in courtrooms every day of my 18 year career as an assistant public defender. I have represented indigent individuals, juveniles and adults, charged with all types of offenses. I have worked in specialty courts helping addicts, veterans and the mentally ill get treatment and services which helped many of them to reclaim their lives and stay out of the criminal justice system.
Judges touch so many people’s lives every day. They make decisions that affect people’s money, homes, families and freedom. With so much at stake, it is crucial that judges listen carefully and respectfully to all parties and treat them fairly.
If elected, I bring experience as as a knowledgeable, capable attorney, committed public servant and proud member of our community.
Please take time to review my education, professional experience and read about my family and community service. Thank you for your interest and your support.
-Kathryn Maloney Vahey
Katie received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Canisius College in 1992. During college she spent a semester abroad in Valencia, Spain through the University of Virginia. After college Katie continued her studies in Spanish at Middlebury College in Madrid, Spain and earned a M.A. in Spanish Language and Culture. Katie is fluent in Spanish and continues to use her language skills with clients. In 1998 Katie received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. While in law school she took graduate level social work classes at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.
After finishing graduate school, Katie began her career as a caseworker at St. Vincent’s Services in Brooklyn, NY. She managed a caseload of children in foster care throughout New York City; taking children on home visits, overseeing their education and testifying in court on their behalf. This experience made her realize that she wanted to work in courtrooms for marginalized people, those who don't often have easy access to good representation.
While in law school she worked as a law clerk for Equip for Equality, a federally funded nonprofit organization that advocates for people with disabilities in Illinois. Katie also clerked for the Cook County Public Defender's Office in both the Juvenile Division and Homicide Task Force. As a 711 law clerk she litigated homicide motions, bench trials and a homicide jury. While in law school Katie took graduate level social work classes and interned at Cook County Hospital’s Fantus Clinic. As a social work intern Katie met with poor uninsured Cook County residents and connected them with community based mental health care that addressed their needs.
Once Katie passed the bar exam she was hired by the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, the only job that she applied for. She was first assigned to Traffic Court and then the Maybrook Courthouse in Maywood. She handled traffic and misdemeanor offenses, often speaking with clients and witnesses in Spanish. Next, Katie transferred to the Juvenile Division where she was appointed to represent juvenile offenders charged with serious crimes. She visited incarcerated juveniles, met with their families and managed their cases. Later she was assigned to the Criminal Courthouse at 26th Street. There she represented adults charged with all types of felonies. She litigated motions, bench trials and jury trials. She investigated cases, located witnesses, researched the law and provided her clients with excellent representation.
Presently, Katie works at the Bridgeview Courthouse where she continues to represent indigent individuals charged in serious felonies. While handing her felony caseload, Katie volunteered to work in the specialty courts. In the specialty courts, also referred to as problem solving courts, she represented addicts, people with mental illness and veterans in non adversarial courtrooms. She helped clients get services that they needed in order to rehabilitate themselves and leave the criminal justice system behind them. As a result of her work in the specialty courts , she was asked to speak at a Southwest Suburban Bar Association seminar. There she advised private attorneys how to access the specialty courts for their own clients. Katie has spent her entire career advocating for the underserved and providing them with capable representation. Katie is an experienced, knowledgeable, and hard-working attorney who has who has earned the respect of many in the legal community.
Katie, her husband, and their two sons live in Riverside. Her boys attend the local grade school and junior high school. Katie volunteered as the PTA Vice President of Fundraising for 2 years at Ames school and was also on the playground committee for District 96. She taught religious education to grade school children at St Mary in Riverside for 3 years. Monthly, Katie cooks for seniors at the Bishop Goedert Residence on the Hynes Veterans Administration campus and is joined by her sons who help serve the meals. Katie has spoken to local high school girls at the Bridgeview Courthouse about careers in the law. In the summertime, she enjoys volunteering at her local pool as the club rep, helping to coordinate the local kids summer swim team.