Judge Shelley was elected from Cook County’s 5th judicial subcircuit in 2006 after practicing law for nearly twenty-five years. She was born and raised in the Bronzeville area of Chicago and became involved in civic, social and religious organizations at a young age.
Judge Shelley is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in political science and a minor in economics, and is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law. She began her legal career at Florida Rural Legal Services working with migrant workers. Immediately prior to becoming judge she was the head assistant attorney of the litigation division of the law department of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District; litigating and managing personal injury and multi-million dollar construction contract disputes and enforcement of environmental protection laws. She is the immediate past Chair of the Illinois Judicial Council, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges Association, a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association and Black Women Lawyers’ Association. She is also a board member of Beloved Community Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that provides family and juvenile support services to the Englewood community.
Judge Shelley was assigned to criminal domestic violence court for two years, and became a frequent speaker on the topic. She heard residential and commercial evictions for one year, and is presently assigned to the municipal civil jury trial section. All of the bar associations have found her qualified for retention.
Judge Shelley has an adult son. Her life is guided by the bible verse Micah 6:8 “He has showed you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”