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Criminal Courthouse Set To Be Renamed For Prominent Judge

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Cook County Criminal Courts

Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County Criminal Courthouse may soon be getting a new name.

For generations, the complex has been known primarily by its address – 26th and California. But under a plan submitted to the Cook County Board Wednesday, it will be renamed the Honorable George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Leighton, 99, was the first African-American on the Illinois Appellate Court, and served as a federal judge for more than 20 years.

An alumnus of Howard University and Harvard Law School, Leighton served as a Cook County Circuit Court judge in the 1960s, before advancing to the Appellate Court in 1969. He was confirmed for his U.S. District Court judgeship in 1976, following the retirement of Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz.

Leighton also also served a stint as general counsel and president of the Chicago branch of the NAACP, and he challenged an Alabama constitutional amendment that required residents to pass a test before they were permitted to vote, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

The County Board is set to vote on the planned renaming on March 1. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told the Law Bulletin the board hopes to honor Leighton with his name on the building while he is still alive.

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