Judge Tiffany Davis is a McHenry County Circuit Judge and former career prosecutor. She was sworn in as Circuit Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit in 2017 after being appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court. Prior to being appointed judge, she served as a prosecutor for over twenty-two years.
Judge Davis began her career in 1994 as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office in Rockford. Then, after a brief stint as a Civil Litigation Associate in DuPage County, she joined the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she served for a decade. She then rejoined the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she served as first chair for the felony division, supervising a general felony caseload of over three hundred felonies.
In her extensive career as a prosecutor covering three counties, Judge Davis prosecuted thousands of cases and tried over forty-five jury trials, including fifteen murder trials. She has prosecuted every type of crime, including murders, arsons, sex offenses, weapons offenses, narcotics trafficking, DUIs, home invasions, armed robberies, and property crimes. As the only career prosecutor currently serving on the bench in McHenry County, Judge Davis brings a necessary background and experience to the courts.
There’s a time to be compassionate and a time to be tough…but it’s always time to be fair.
My entire life, I have felt a calling to help people. Growing up, my sister found herself in difficult situations, which drove me to pursue law. When we lost her to a tragic act of domestic violence in 1999, I knew my calling was to find justice and prosecute violent crimes.
I spent over two decades prosecuting thousands of cases and trying over forty-five jury trials, including fifteen murder trials. I have prosecuted every type of crime, including murders, arsons, sex offenses, weapons offenses, narcotics trafficking, DUIs, home invasions, armed robberies, and property crimes.
However, my passion for service didn’t allow me to stop there. As a prosecutor, you’re only arguing one side of the case, and predominantly practicing criminal law. You are limited in how much you can help people. As a judge, you are able to make a bigger difference on a larger scale.
When I was appointed and then sworn in as McHenry County’s newest Circuit Court Judge, I knew I was being given an awesome opportunity and responsibility to use my experiences to serve the county where I have lived for twenty years. I will live up to the trust that has been placed in me, and as a strict constructionist, I pledge to enforce the Constitution.
With my background fighting for justice on behalf of victims, I have compassion and have learned the importance of listening and empathizing with all parties. I understand that people are in court because something isn’t going right in their lives, and they are relying on their judge to restore order and resolve the problem by impartially applying the law to the facts and deciding the case.
As a prosecutor, I have learned to look at the strengths and weaknesses of a case, because if the necessary elements are not there and you cannot prove the case, you do not prosecute it. On the wall just inside the door at the State’s Attorney’s Office where I worked for a decade, it said that the duty of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict. This same principle applies to judges, as we are not to look to achieve a particular result, but rather be impartial and independent in our administration of justice.
Furthermore, my experience as a career prosecutor of violent crimes will be invaluable in McHenry County. As the only career prosecutor on the bench, and the only one to have prosecuted a substantial number of murder trials, I bring a necessary perspective to assist my judicial colleagues. As violent crime continues to rise in our communities, this experience is desperately needed.
To best understand the judicial temperament that I strive for, simply look to Lady Justice. Her eyes are covered, her mouth is closed, and her ears are open—she’s listening. As judge, I am diligent about following this example, ensuring that every person in my courtroom feels like they were listened to and truly heard. I also work to ensure that people understand their options and the process, because without full access to justice and understanding of the process not everyone will be fully and equally heard.
Lady Justice holds a sword, but it is lowered. It’s ready to use when necessary to defend or strike, but it is lowered because she has not reached her decision and it may not be necessary to use at all. I understand the need to be tough at times and compassionate at times, and throughout my career I have shown the ability to show compassion and empathy while being tough, providing for rehabilitation as much as possible while serving punishment and retribution when necessary.
Finally, Lady Justice holds scales that are balanced, showing us that it is always time to be fair. The sides are equal—neither side starts out with an advantage—and everything is even and fair. My courtroom is one where all who enter know they will get a fair and unbiased hearing, and that nothing other than facts and evidence will tip the scales of justice.
When my service is done, I want to know that I made a difference in our community and in the lives of our citizens. I will never forget that being a judge is about people, not process, and that every decision I make affects the lives of real people. I believe that the courthouse experience does not have to be negative one, especially not when justice is being provided and peace is being restored. I will be compassionate and tough as necessary, but fair always.