The Honorable Jeffrey Ford received his B.S. degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1973 and his J.D. degree from the University of Illinois Law School in 1976. While in law school he spent 1½ years as an intern at the Champaign County State’s Attorney office and began working there as an Assistant State’s Attorney in December 1976. On July 1, 1985 after 8½ years in the State’s Attorney Office and in private practice, he was sworn in as an Associate Circuit Court Judge. In 2005, Judge Ford was appointed to be a Circuit Court Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court. In 2006 he was elected to that position.
Judge Ford has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute since 1980. He helped incorporate the Illinois Association of Drug Court Professionals in 2000 and has served on its Board of Directors since January 1, 2001. Currently, he serves as its Vice President. In 1991, while serving as the traffic court judge, Judge Ford started what is now known nationally as a DUI Court. He started the Champaign County Drug Court in 1999 and Mental Health Court in January 2011. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court placed him on the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Justice and Mental Health Planning.
In 1994, Judge Ford was awarded the State of Illinois Outstanding Support Person by MADD. Since 2000, Judge Ford has developed, organized and presented assemblies for high schools on the consequences of driving under the influence, failure to use seat belts and texting. He has served on numerous committees thru the Courts, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Department of Transportation and the University of Illinois - Springfield in the area of traffic safety. In 2010 the Illinois Traffic Safety Leaders presented Judge Ford with the Joanne Blair Award for exemplary leadership in the area of traffic safety in Illinois.