About Judge Shanes
“My entire legal career has been devoted to serving in the courtroom, from clerking, as a prosecutor, and now as a trial court judge for nearly the past 12 years. I am proud to have consistently received the highest judicial evaluations from both the Lake County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Beyond the courtroom, I regularly serve as faculty for judicial education in Illinois and across the United States, and am proud to have been called upon by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve in leadership positions with the Illinois Judicial College and other Supreme Court Committees.”
Judge Shanes is devoted to the highest standards in our justice system both in and out of the courtroom. He currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Felony Division of the Lake County Circuit Court, presiding over some of the most serious criminal cases in the courthouse.
In 2007, Judge Shanes was first selected to serve as an Associate Judge. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously appointed Judge Shanes to serve as a Circuit Judge, and in 2012 he was elected to a full term. Since first serving as a judge in 2007, Judge Shanes has consistently received the highest ratings from the Lake County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, most recently being found “Highly Qualified” for retention by the Lake County Bar Association.
Recognized for excellence in teaching, Judge Shanes regularly serves as faculty for judicial education for judges and lawyers across the United States, and is privileged to serve in leadership positions with the Illinois Judicial College. In addition, Judge Shanes serves by appointment of the Supreme Court on the Illinois Judicial Conference and the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases.
Judge Shanes has received numerous awards and recognitions in our community for his work on behalf of the criminal justice system and victims of crime.
“I have been a Judge in Lake County for nearly 12 years, and have been privileged to preside over thousands of cases of almost every kind. As a prosecutor in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, I was a founding team member of Lake County’s Drug Court. As a Judge, I helped establish additional problem-solving courts for Veterans and those suffering from significant mental health issues. These types of innovative initiatives and programs have made the Lake County courts a model for other jurisdictions.”
A judge since 2007, Judge Shanes has presided over thousands of cases, both civil and criminal, and has presided over more than 100 jury trials. In addition to his regular courtroom duties, Judge Shanes also serves as the Presiding Judge of the Felony Division. As a judge in the Felony Division, Judge Shanes presides over some of the most serious criminal cases from arraignment through post-conviction proceedings.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Shanes served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Lake County for nearly 12 years. During that time, he served in every criminal division in the State’s Attorney’s office, rising to chief of the felony narcotics division and chief of the felony review division. Shanes personally handled all types of offenses, becoming one of the lead prosecutors in child-sexual-predator and first-degree-murder cases. At the same time, Shanes was a founding team member that created Lake County’s successful Drug Court, developing a program providing comprehensive treatment and supervision for repeat, non-violent felony offenders whose criminality is driven by significant substance abuse.
Prior to joining the State’s Attorney’s office, Shanes served as a judicial law clerk to Justice Robert J. Steigmann of the Illinois Appellate Court.
“True leadership goes beyond the courtroom. I am committed to take the lead in efforts to improve our community and our judicial system. “
Throughout his career, Judge Shanes has been repeatedly recognized for taking the lead in improving our community and our judicial system.
Judge Shanes is active in our community in many ways, from coaching youth sports, to engaging parents and students regarding youth substance abuse and decision-making issues, to serving on the Board of Directors of a local homeless shelter and transitional living facility for women and children. Judge Shanes has also been privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of both the Illinois Judges Association and Lake County Bar Association.
While serving as a prosecutor, Shanes was a founding team member of Lake County’s Drug Court, developing a program providing comprehensive treatment and intensive supervision for repeat, non-violent felony offenders whose criminality is driven by significant substance abuse. As a judge, Judge Shanes partnered with three local middle schools and the local police department to annually recognize the schools’ “most improved” eighth-grade students. Experience and research show that one tipping point for youth is the transition from eighth grade into high school. The program is designed to support students as they navigate this challenging time in their lives.
“For many years I have taught continuing legal education. Since becoming a judge, I have further devoted myself to judicial education. I have been fortunate not only to regularly serve as faculty for both state and national judicial education, but also to serve in leadership positions with the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial College and the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Education.”
Judge Shanes is recognized for excellence in teaching both judges and lawyers across the United States, serving in the leadership of the Illinois Judicial College and Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Education.
He has served as faculty for judicial education for judges and lawyers in Illinois, and in 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously selected Judge Shanes to serve as an inaugural member of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees. Judge Shanes is also a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College, providing judicial education to judges across the United States. Separately, Judge Shanes also serves by appointment of the Illinois Supreme Court on its Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases.
Learn More about Judge Shanes as a Legal Scholar
He is a recognized legal scholar and author of dozens of articles, several of which have been cited by the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Appellate Court, and legal treatises.