Vying for retention

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 16, 2005, 4:59pm

What used to be considered "ho-hum," southern Illinois judicial elections are anything but. And the lineup for November 2006 is already promising compelling drama.

In Madison County's Third Circuit, Judges George Moran, Charles Romani and Ann Callis will run for retention.

But, the real attention-grabber will be the race for the seat vacated by retired Judge Philip Kardis (who would have run for retention in 2008). Stay tuned to the March 2006 primary for the outcome of "Karmeier Appointee v. Popular Democrat."

Ann Callis

  • First elected or appointed: 1999 after the death of Circuit Judge Lawrence Keshner
  • Served as an associate judge from 1994-99
  • Graduated from SLU School of Law, 1990
  • Assigned to criminal cases
  • Before a judge: Practiced law with Bruce Cook in Belleville and with her father, Lance Callis, a personal injury attorney in Alton.
  • Former assistant state's attorney in Madison and St. Clair Counties
  • Once had to go into hiding and was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest after Kelly McGinness was planning to kill her because she presided over his divorce case, in which he lost custody of his children. McGinness murdered his ex-wife's attorney and tried to murder his attorney.
  • Last Election: Nov. 7, 2000. Ran unopposed, receiving 83,811 (98.48%) votes

    George Moran
  • Former assistant public defender
  • First appointed as associate judge in 1977 by Illinois State Supreme Court
  • First elected a circuit judge in 1982
  • Graduate of SIU-Edwardsville and SLU Law School
  • Generated national controversy in March 1992 when he ordered four top officers of Toledo, Ohio-base Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp. to testify in an asbestos suit against the company. The officers refused, arguing that travel to Madison County would interfere with their company's operations. Moran held them in contempt of court and ruled that the company had forfeited its right to a defense, rendering a default judgment. The verdict forced Owens-Corning to pay four former workers $10 million, including $7.5 million in punitive damages.
  • Last Election: Nov. 7, 2000. Ran for retention. Received 74,404 (79.84%) yes votes, and 18,783 (20.16% no votes).

    Charles Romani, Jr.
  • Former state's attorney in Bond County
  • First appointed associate circuit judge in 1983
  • First elected circuit judge in 1988
  • Graduate of Western Illinois University and SLU
  • Romani was selected for jury duty in June 1999, serving in the case of a Madison County sheriff's deputy suing the owners of three dogs who attacked him. The judge was Randy Bono.
  • In 2001, Romani and Judge Andy Matoesian were the only Southern
    Illinois representatives on a 17-member panel that recommended
    sweeping new rules for death penalty cases.
  • Last Election: Nov. 7, 2000. Ran for retention. Received 73,542(80.96%) yes votes, and 17,290 (19.04%) no votes.

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