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Attorneys for Illinois OUTREACH

CLEAR INITIATIVE

Academia

PETER GENE BARONI, LAW

Mr. Baroni graduated from DePauw University with a BA in History and a minor in English Literature.  He graduated cum laude from Howard University School of Law where he was an editor on the law journal.  During law school, Mr. Baroni was an honors clerk for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a summer research intern for the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, an extern for Federal District Court Judge Paul Friedman and an extern at the United States Department of Justice.

Upon graduation, Mr. Baroni became an assistant state’s attorney for the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.  As an assistant, he tried hundreds of criminal and civil cases, including over 60 jury trials.  In 1998, he received the Prosecutor of the Year Award for the misdemeanor division of the office.  In 2000, he received the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Special Commendation for Outstanding Achievement Award.   

In 2000, Mr. Baroni became Legal Counsel to the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate President.  As legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Baroni worked closely with members of both sides of the aisle analyzing legislation and negotiating creative compromises in the best interest of the People of the State of Illinois.  Despite obvious partisan divides in the House and Senate, Mr. Baroni developed the respect and trust of the members of the Republican and Democratic Caucuses, particularly members of each chamber’s judiciary committees. 

Ultimately, Peter staffed Senators John Cullerton (Democrat and now Illinois Senate President), Barack Obama (Democrat and now President of the United States of America) and Kirk Dillard (Republican) in drafting comprehensive capital punishment reform in 2003.  Baroni has co-authored several scholarly articles with Senate President Cullerton relating to his work directing the CLEAR Commission and its rewrite of all Illinois criminal law (see infra) in the John Marshall Law Review in 2008 and the Illinois State Bar Journal in 2010. In addition, he co-authored with Dillard and Cullerton an article on death penalty reform legislation in the 2005 DuPage Bar Journal.  Finally, in 2010, Baroni co-authored with Cullerton an article on Illinois sentencing law in the Federal Reporter.

In 2004, Baroni began a law practice focusing on criminal defense, administrative agency defense and civil litigation relating to government. Additionally, Baroni has served as special counsel to a number of government bodies and committees.  Baroni is admitted to practice in the Illinois State Bar, Federal District Court for Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Bar.  Baroni is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court, Second District Committee on Character and Fitness, the Illinois Supreme Court, Pattern Jury (Criminal) Instruction Subcommittee on CLEAR Amendments, the Federal Defender Panel for the Northern District of Illinois, the DuPage Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

In late 2004, Baroni became the Co-Director of the Criminal Law Edit Align and Reform (CLEAR) Initiative.  Chaired by former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson and Appellate Justice Gino DiVito, the CLEAR Initiative, and its Commission, is a comprehensive effort to overhaul the Illinois Criminal and Sentencing Codes.  In his capacity as CLEAR’s director, Baroni works directly with the Chairs, all members of the Commission, legislative staff, gubernatorial staff and attorney general staff regularly. 

From 2005 to early 2008, Baroni served as special counsel to the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee.  The Committee analyzed changes in law relating to the landmark reforms enacted in 2003 to the capital punishment system in Illinois. 

In 2007, Baroni co-founded the Attorneys for Illinois Outreach Project.  The Project is an effort to recruit law students from Howard University School of Law for Illinois employers.  The Project recruits for 17 public and private sector legal employers in Illinois. 

In late 2007, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Baroni to the Second District Committee on Character and Fitness.  As a member of the Committee, Baroni is charged with ensuring the ethical and intellectual integrity of people applying to practice law in Illinois.  He currently serves in that capacity. In 2014, Baroni was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Pattern Jury (Criminal) Instructions Committee, Subcommittee on CLEAR Amendments.  The subcommittee is tasked with promulgating jury instructions reflective of the vast changes to the Illinois Criminal Code instituted by the CLEAR Commission.

Mr. Baroni currently serves as an adjunct professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law where he teaches Illinois Criminal Law and Policy.  The class focuses on an in depth review of substantive state criminal law and the policies that underpin its development.  Baroni began his academic career at DePaul University College of Law where he taught as an adjunct professor of law from 2005 to 2010.

Finally, Baroni has published numerous law review articles and other scholarly works over the last decade.  Further, in 2010 Baroni co-authored, with Justice Gino DiVito, the seminal treatise on Illinois criminal sentencing called the Illinois Sentencing and Disposition Guide published by Lexis/Nexis.  The fourth edition of the Guide was published by Lexis/Nexis in November 2013.