Judges (Judge Lyle and Judge McKinley) were elected throughout this period, and their election necessarily involved them in the ward politics of the period. Accounts of changes in the judiciary parallel demographic changes, and changes in the distribution of political power.

The process of electing judges and the influence of ward politicians upon judges and the judicial process is described in detail by a former Chief Judge of the Cook County Court. Judge McKinley’s report, Crime and the Civic Cancer-Graft, published as a series of articles in the Chicago Daily News, is an extraordinarily particularized account of how judges were controlled by the political machine, through the process of nomination and election.

The relation between judicial elections and the propensity of judges to sentence to death is analyzed using contemporary social science methods in article by Richard R.W. Brooks & Steven A. Drizin.