Case ignites her compassion for justice
[by Chinta Strausberg] An assistant state’s attorney both in Cook and Will County since 2004, Sondra Denmark was inspired to run for the 15th sub-circuit judge position by a teenage girl once arrested for carrying drugs…a case that ignited a feeling of compassion but ended with her getting the teen’s captor behind bars where he belong.
Born in Chicago on the South Side, Sondra Denmark was raised in Hazel Crest, Illinois where she attended the Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Illinois State University majoring in public relations, and Northern Illinois University College of Law where she graduated in 2004.
Armed with her degree, Denmark began her career as an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County and later with Will County after the birth of her two children.
When asked when and why did she desire to be a judge, Denmark said it all began with the case of a 17-year-old girl who was being charged with a Class X felony. The teen was facing a six-year prison term. When the teen was arrested, she was carrying cocaine and heroin but the man with her was not carrying any contraband; however, the police arrested both of them, according to Denmark.
“When I saw her, she just didn’t belong. She was shaking. She never had a traffic ticket or a driver’s license.” Denmark began to dig for the truth. “It turns out that the guy she was with was using her to traffic drugs across the Midwest,” recalled Denmark. “The young lady almost went to prison because her attorney asked me to give her four-years and not the six-years.”
Denmark was troubled by this case saying, “something just didn’t feel right. My spirit would not rest easy.” That is when Denmark did her own homework on the girl and what she found out made her even more determine to seek justice for this frightened teen.
“I found out she was a runaway and had been missing from her parents for three-years,” Denmark said. Given this information, Denmark contacted federal officials and was successful in getting the man who had held the teenage girl captive indicted, charged and sentenced for trafficking drugs across the Midwest and taking the teen he had held since she was 14-years-old.
“I went back into court and dismissed all of the charges against her and reunited her with her family. At that moment, I realized that there are not enough people who ask those hard questions of why and I needed to run for judge to make a difference. She inspired me to do that,” Denmark said.
“She made me feel like I needed to do something to make a difference and judges need compassion. We need compassion in our communities. I am compassionate about securing justice for every individual.”
In her spare time, Denmark loves to read and spend time with her two children. She volunteers with the Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization where she loves to talk about curing Autism, and the Parent Teacher’s Organization. Denmark has a child with special needs and is involved in the special recreational activities in the community.
If elected judge, Denmark will ensure that justice prevails in her courtroom and with decisions that include compassion.
Denmark’s website is: www.friendsofsondradenmark.com