Judge Rene Cruz

In December of 2012, René was appointed by the Circuit Judges of Dekalb, Kane and Kendall counties as the first Hispanic Judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois. For his first eight (8) years René has presided in the Family Court Division handling complex Family Law matters, and for the past two (2) years served as the Presiding Judge of the Family Division. Currently, René serves as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Misdemeanor and Traffic Division.

The Honorable Judge René Cruz was born in the Country of Panama to a Puerto Rican father and Panamanian mother.  His  father was a career soldier in the US Army which provided a diverse upbringing in 4 states and two countries.  Following graduation from high school in Panama, René attended The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina and graduated in 1992 with honors.  Following his graduation from The Citadel, René attended and graduated with Honors from the Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1995.

Since 1996 René worked at and became a partner in the Aurora firm which eventually became the Law Offices of Gil & Cruz.  The vision of the Gil & Cruz Law Office was a dedication and passion to educate members of the Hispanic community, while prosecuting and defending their rights in all areas of the law. 

Throughout his legal career René appeared in every courtroom in Kane and the surrounding counties, as well as Federal Courts.  More importantly, René experienced the joy of serving his community on various local, professional and non-profit boards which have included: Family Focus, Rasmussen College’s Business and Criminal Justice Advisory Boards, the City of Aurora Business Roundtable, City of Aurora Affordable Housing Task Force, the West Aurora School District Multi-Cultural Advisory Council, the Fox Valley Credit Union, the Kane County Bar Association Board of Managers, the City of Aurora Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board and served as the President of the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  

As a result of his volunteer efforts René was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award for 2010 by the Northern Illinois University College of Law Alumni Council citing outstanding achievements, public service activities, and support to the College.

After recognizing that there was a lack of Hispanic representation in the Judiciary in the 16th Judicial Circuit Rene embarked on his campaign to become a Judge. These efforts were finally rewarded on December 3rd, 2012 when René was sworn in as the first Hispanic Judge in Kane County, Illinois. 

From 2012 to 2021 René presided in the Family Court Division handling complex Family Law matters, and from 2018 to 2021 served as the Presiding Judge of the Division.  He currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Misdemeanor and Traffic Division, along with continuing his involvement in the Kane County community.  Recently, Judge Cruz and his wife were awarded the Champions Against Hunger award by the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry for their volunteerism, and Judge Cruz was recognized by the Kane County Bar Association as the recipient of the KCBA Community Service Award citing “a well-rounded individual who, through actions, has shown a true understanding of and a caring attitude toward the community in which they serve.”

Judge Cruz is a co-creator of Kane County’s Worries of the World Wide Web program that teaches the dangers of irresponsible internet usage to students, judges and community groups. He is also the Chair of this program for the Illinois Judges Association as Judges now present the program throughout the State of Illinois.  Judge Cruz has been recognized by his peers at the state level as he has been teaching a family law course at the bi-annual Judicial Education Conference, supervises other course instructors at the conference, acts as a New Judge Cohort Leader/Mentor to new judges throughout the State, and most recently, as a result of his innovation and initiative to provide access to the courts during Covid, he presented to judges at a national level regarding best practices for conducting virtual court proceedings. 

Judge Cruz has consistently been Highly Recommended by his peers in the Illinois State and Kane County Bar Associations Judicial Advisory Polls.

Proudly endorsed by

Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization
Teresa Barreiro, Kane County Circuit Court Clerk
Judith Brawka, Kane County Chief Judge (ret.)
Jamie Mosser, Kane County State's Attorney
Ron Hain, Kane County Sheriff
Stephanie Kifowit, IL State Rep. 84th Dist.
William Powell, Aurora Police Chief (ret.)
Greg Thomas, Aurora Police Chief (ret.)
Pat Perez, Kane County Sheriff (ret.)
Robyn Vickers, Kendall County Board Dist. 2,
Bill Catching, Aurora Township Supervisor
Dr. Monica Silva, Kane County Board Dist. 7
Ron Ford, Kane County Board Dist. 6
Carolyn Bird Salazar, North Aurora Trustee
Sherman Jenkins, Alderman at Large, Aurora
Scheketa Hart-Burns, Alderwoman, Aurora Ward 7
Ted Mesiacos, Alderman, Aurora Ward 3
Juany Garza, Alderwoman, Aurora Ward 2
Dan Barreiro, Vice President, East Aurora High School
Mavis Bates, Kane County Board Dist. 4, Founder Aurora Greenfest