CHICAGO (WLS) -- A longtime Cook County judge who presided over some high-profile cases during his career is getting ready to hang up his robe and gavel.
Fellow judges and colleagues at the Juvenile Courthouse honored Presiding Judge Michael Toomin on Monday as he wraps up his 42-year judicial career.
Toomin began his career as a defense attorney, becoming a judge in 1980. He presided over the 1987 trial of infamous Chicago gangster Jeff Fort in what he recalled was a heavily fortified courthouse at 26th and California.
"Armaments were brought into the building, machine guns," Toomin said. "I was put on a secure, highly secured status. I was taken to work every day, taken home, my home was guarded by sheriffs and other people that I didn't even know who they were. There were times where police got the word during the trial that the building was going to be attacked and put extra armament in there."
Toomin also handled the second trial of Chicago mobster Harry "The Hook" Aleman, and was the judge who appointed Dan Webb as the special prosecutor to handle the Jussie Smollett case.
Now 84 years old, Toomin decided it was time to retire, reflecting on how many cases he has handled from the bench over the years.
"Jury trials were 404 matters," Toomin said. "Murder cases, 631."
Toomin has been the presiding juvenile court judge for the last 12 years. He said he's proud of his accomplishments.
"Our juvenile mentoring initiative to have mentors appointed for these kids that were in trouble and that was the first thing we started," Toomin said.
He also instituted weekend and holiday court, and recently helped launch $ 5 million dollar grant program to help keep kids out of the juvenile court system.
Judge Toomin's last day will be December 31. He said adjusting to retirement will be a challenge. And though he has no plans to practice law or pursue another judicial position, he says you never know what might happen that could cause him to change his mind.