McGlynn and Spomer named to appellate court

Ann Knef Jun. 8, 2005, 6:17am

Belleville attorney Stephen McGlynn has been named appellate judge of the 5th Judicial Circuit to fill the vacancy that will be left by Judge Clyde Kuehn, whose temporary assignment ends July 7.

His appointment becomes effective July 8 and will end Dec. 4, 2006.

"I think I will prove to (everyone's) satisfaction that I will be fair and just to every litigant and lawyer that comes before the court," McGlynn said.

McGlynn, who has never served as a judge, said people have asked him if his lack of judicial experience will hurt him.

"I think it's a strength," he said.

He indicated he would seek a full term in the November 2006 general election.

In a separate order, the Illinois Supreme Court also announced the assignment of Circuit Judge Stephen L. Spomer, longtime resident judge of Alexander County in the First Judicial Circuit, to fill another open spot on the appellate court.

With McGlynn's and Spomer's appointments, the partisan balance of the appellate court will become three Republicans and four Democrats.

Illinois Civil Justice League President Ed Murnane said the two are "excellent" choices for the appellate court.

"Previously, we would have expected appointments who were the sons or daughters of influential lawyers or former judges," Murnane said. "This is a refreshing change and it will help continue the recent trend toward a more fair and respected judicial system in southern Illinois.

"Justice Karmeier deserves credit for helping improve the quality of the highly-criticized Fifth Appellate District Court."

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, who has expressed future interest in serving on the appellate court, said McGlynn has appeared before him several times in court.

"He has always been a gentleman," said Stack.

McGlynn, 43, is a fourth generation member of the firm McGlynn & McGlynn, which was founded in 1896.

He said his selection to the appellate court was conducted in a bipartisan manner. He was interviewed by panelist Matthew R. Hortenstine, a Democrat, and partner with Taylor Law Offices in Effingham.

"The process was designed to be fair," McGlynn said. "And I think it was designed to get people from a good geographic representation in the 5th District."

McGlynn has handled cases for plaintiffs and defendants and represented governmental entities. His practice has included the creation of multimillion dollar businesses, international contracts, banking and finance transactions as well as commercial and industrial real estate.

"I think the court probably felt it was a good idea to get a practicing attorney in Madison and St. Clair County," he said.

McGlynn also is a Republican state central committeemen and former vice chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

"People that know me will think it was a good selection," he said. "I've certainly seen the courtroom from eyes of many perspectives. I've represented companies, injured people and people who are so poor."

According to a press release issued by the Illinois Supreme Court, McGlynn was chosen in an application process that included review by a seven-member screening committee appointed by Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, who recommended McGlynn's appointment.

Committee member were:

  • Clarence W. DeMoss, a partner in Karmeier's former law firm, Hohlt, House, DeMoss and Epplin of Nashville
  • Hortenstine
  • J. Thomas Long, an attorney and chairman of First National Bank of Grant Park
  • Timothy Neubauer, a member of the Mount Vernon firm, Neubauer, Hanson & Overstreet, and a former member of the Board of Review of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
  • Alice Noble-Allgire, associate professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law
  • Gayl Pyatt, a practicing lawyer in Pinckneyville
  • John W. Sanders, a partner in the Marion firm, Sanders & Sanders

    McGlynn received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Dayton with a major in political science and minors in philosophy and history. He studied abroad in Germany in Ireland.

    He received his juris doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1987, where he was the recipient of the American Judicature Society's American Jurisprudence Award in Advanced Commercial Transactions.

    McGlynn was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1987, and has also been admitted to practice in Missouri, and in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

    He was appointed special assistant Attorney General of Illinois from 1996 to 2004 and represented the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

    He has been active in numerous civic matters and has contributed pro bono work for the NAACP and indigent African-Americans who could not pay for legal representation in various legal matters.

    He is married to Mary Anne (nee Lindauer) and the couple has a daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth.

    Judge Kuehn was appointed to the appellate court Dec. 6, 2004, on a short-term basis to fill the vacancy of Gordon S. Maag, who failed to win retention in November.

    Karmeier recommended Spomer fill a vacancy left by the election last November of Judge James K. Donovan to the appellate court. Before he was elected, Donovan sat by assignment on the appellate court.

    Spomer's assignment is effective July 1, 2005, and will continue until further order of the Court.

    A resident circuit judge in Alexander County since 1978, Spomer, 56, was elected by his colleagues to be chief judge of the First Judicial Circuit three times and served in that position from 1992 to 1998.

    He received his bachelor of arts degree from Tulane University, majoring in history and political science and his juris doctor from Tulane in 1974.

    Before becoming a judge, he was Massac County State's Attorney in Metropolis from 1976 to 1978; public defender for Johnson and Massac counties in 1975 and 1976; and in private practice as a solo practitioner in Cairo in 1974-78.

    On the Circuit Court, Spomer has handled all varieties of cases including small claims, medical malpractice, class actions, divorce, probate, criminal misdemeanors and capital felonies.

    He and his wife, Debra, have a daughter.

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