Weber chosen to fill Madison County bench

Ann Knef Oct. 31, 2005, 7:45am

Circuit Judge Don Weber

Edwardsville attorney and assistant Madison County state's attorney Don Weber has been appointed resident circuit judge in the Third Judicial Circuit.

The transition from prosecutor to judge will be swift. Weber will be sworn into office at 9 a.m. Wednesday, most likely by Madison County Chief Judge Edward Ferguson.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who recommended Weber fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Phillip Kardis, will conduct a more formal swearing-in ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday.

A jubilant Weber, who has said that being a prosecutor is the "best thing" you can do with a law license, believes his new career will be as satisfying.

"There is a perception that the judicial system is not fair," Weber said.

"As a judge, it will not be my job to see that people are happy when they leave my courtroom. It's my job that they leave feeling that they've been treated fairly."

Weber said he believes he will get along well with his new colleagues in the Third Circuit.

"I have my views," said Weber, an unabashed conservative Republican.

"What I want to do is level the playing field. I've been a prosecutor for 30 years. I have vast experience."

"I offer Don my congratulations, and wish him good luck," said Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, whose chambers will be right next to Judge Weber's.

"I look forward to working with Don, I have known him a long time," offered Circuit Court Judge George Moran, Jr.

Weber believes that his lack of allegiance to either the plaintiff's or defense bar made him a more attractive candidate in Justice Karmeier's eyes.

"Justice Karmeier could see that," he said.

Already focused on a competitive election in November 2006, Weber said he has "good people" in place to help him fend off a challenge from Democrat attorney Dave Hylla, a plaintiff's attorney.

His appointment will terminate Dec. 4, 2006.

Weber, who was elected Madison County State's Attorney in 1980, is only one of handful of Republicans to ever win a county-wide race.

U.S. Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) was elected as county treasurer in 1990.

"Karmeier blazed the trail," Weber said. "Now we (Republicans) hope to widen it."

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