Associate Judge Thomas Cunnington

Thomas Cunnington

KANKAKEE — Kankakee County Circuit Judge Thomas W. Cunnington has been selected to serve the 21st Judicial Circuit, which includes Kankakee and Iroquois counties, as its next chief judge starting Jan. 1, 2022.

He replaces current Chief Judge Michael Kramer.

“I am honored to be selected by my colleagues for this position,” Cunnington said in a release. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue the 21st Circuit’s tradition of excellence.”

Kramer said, “The circuit has made an excellent selection. Judge Cunnington has the experience and skills to be successful as chief judge, and he will have the strong support of all of his colleagues.”

Cunnington is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and received his Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He was admitted to practice law on May 1, 1981.

He began his legal career as a Kankakee County assistant state’s attorney and he had a 30-year private law practice before his appointment as an associate judge on Nov. 4, 2011. He was elected as a circuit judge in December 2018.

He was an alderman on the Kankakee City Council from 1983-2001. Prior to his judicial appointment, he was a hearing officer for the City of Kankakee adjudication court from 2005-2010. He planned, organized and presided over the Kankakee County Teen Court from 2004 to 2011.

He holds membership in the Kankakee County Bar Association and the Illinois Bar Association and currently sits in the felony traffic courtroom.

He has also been involved in numerous community organizations, including Provena St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, Kankakee Rotary Club and Asbury United Methodist Church and the Community Leader’s Prayer Breakfast.

He is married to Dawn Landwehr, also an attorney, and they have six children and four grandchildren.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at and 815-937-3366.