High court may tap Maddox or Rarick to fill vacancy

Steve Gonzalez Feb. 27, 2006, 4:39am

Philip Rarick

A familiar face may soon return to the Madison County Courthouse to fill the remainder of retired Circuit Judge George Moran's term. Moran, who abruptly retired earlier this month, would have served until December.

Several sources tell The Record that former Associate Judge Lola Maddox, the first female judge in Madison County, or former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Philip Rarick, may be called upon by Justice Lloyd Karmeier to fill the vacancy for seven months.

The general election in November between Associate Judges James Hackett and Barbara Crowder will determine who will serve the next six-year term.

Moran, who had announced he would not run for retention but would serve the remainder of his term, surprised many by leaving office on Feb. 14.

Whomever the Illinois Supreme Court appoints to the vacancy, the temporary assignment will last until Dec. 6, when the winner of the general election will be sworn in to office.

Madison County Chief Judge Edward Ferguson believes that a decision could be reached by the full Supreme Court this week after Karmeier makes his recommendation to the high court.

Maddox retired from the bench on Nov. 30, 2004, after a 25-year judicial career handling a variety of Madison County cases.

In an interview with The Record prior to her retirement, Maddox said she did not plan to disappear from the legal community. Edwardsville attorney Janet Heflin replaced Maddox

Rarick was a Madison County Circuit Judge from 1975 until 1988 and served as the Chief Judge from 1985-1987.

In 1988, Rarick was elected to the appellate court and was retained in 1998. In September 2002, Rarick was tapped to sit on the Illinois Supreme Court where he served until retiring in December 2004.

Karmeier also could leave the vacancy open until voters decide in November. If that were to happen, presiding Civil Judge Nicholas Byron said he plans to distribute Moran's cases to the four other judges currently assigned to hear civil cases.

The other judges assigned to the civil division are Circuit Judges Andy Matoesian, Daniel Stack, Don Weber and Byron.

Illinois Supreme Court Spokesman Joe Tybor would not confirm if Karmeier plans to make his recommendation this week.

Rarick and Maddox could not be reached for comment.

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