An experienced prosecutor who spent the last six years with the DuPage County state's attorney's office has been chosen to replace his boss.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin on Friday night informed board members that Bob Berlin is his pick to replace outgoing State's Attorney Joseph Birkett.
"Upon careful examination of his qualifications, as well as the credentials of the other candidates under consideration, I am convinced that Mr. Berlin possesses the qualities that are necessary to ably and effectively serve out the remaining term of Joe Birkett," Cronin wrote.
It will be up to county board members to decide Tuesday whether to approve or reject Berlin's appointment.
Berlin, a 48-year-old Clarendon Hills resident, said he's "very honored" that Cronin has nominated him.
"I am looking forward to working with Chairman Cronin and the county board and to serving the people of DuPage County," Berlin said, adding that he feels "up to the task" of being the next state's attorney.
Berlin is one of seven candidates who sought appointment to replace Birkett, who will be sworn in Monday as an appellate judge.
Two other prosecutors in Birkett's office who expressed interest in the position are First Assistant State's Attorney Nancy Wolfe, and Joseph Ruggiero, who heads the special prosecutions division.
DuPage Circuit Judge Daniel Guerin, state Rep. Dennis Reboletti and county board members Pat O'Shea and John Curran also applied.
As chief of the criminal bureau, Berlin has "working knowledge of the office that will provide a seamless transition into this crucial role," Cronin said.
Cronin said last week he was looking for an experienced prosecutor to become the next state's attorney.
"We've got to get this right," he said. "There's no room for politics. There's no room for on-the-job training."
In his letter to the county board, Cronin said that Berlin is already "well prepared to prosecute the 11 murder cases set to go to trial next year."
"His background in criminal prosecutions, I believe, is absolutely critical to the success of this office in the future," Cronin said.
A former assistant state's attorney in Kane and Cook counties, Berlin has tried more than 50 murder cases, including six involving the death penalty.
Berlin has experience in the areas of criminal appeals, juvenile delinquency and child exploitation. He also has managed and supervised dozens of lawyers in multiple courtrooms since 2001.
In addition to being "highly qualified," Birkett said Berlin has strong advocacy skills, very good interpersonal skills and "a wonderful personality."
"The people in the office admire him," Birkett said. "I have received high praise for his work from law enforcement, from victims' rights groups and others."
Because Birkett is being sworn in one day before the county board can vote on Berlin's nomination, the chief judge is expected to pick an interim state's attorney to serve until the board can agree on Birkett's successor.