Diamond in the rough
It's official. Judge Lola Maddox recently gave notice to Justice Lloyd Karmeier that her second retirement is for real and happening Nov. 30.
Maddox, who first retired in December 2004, came back for a second call of duty after Judge George Moran Jr. abruptly ditched in February.
Saddled with an arguably neglected caseload that topped 700, Maddox cleared 30 percent of the monstrous docket.
She graciously thanked Karmeier for the opportunity to serve. And a grateful supreme court justice wrote that all who came before the court are better for her service.
They're young. They're smart. They're hybrids.
They're the new bailiffs in the Madison County Courthouse.
Her court reform stuff made the headlines, but one of Circuit Judge Ann Callis first orders of business upon taking over as chief was to "professionalize" the bailiff ranks.
These days sheriff's "deputy-bailiffs" who are police academy graduates provide security at every court trial.
We hope this doesn't become a problem, but the "bail-uties" don't carry guns.
Madison County Associate Judge James Hackett, once the sole Republican in a sea of Democrats, got an endorsement nod from Madison Chief of Police Thomas Voloski, a Democrat.
Bond County Sheriff Jeff Brown, a Republican, is also backing Hackett.
Brown endorsed Judges Ann Callis, Charles and John Knight.
And in an act of sheer kindness, Edwardsville plaintiff's attorney John Hopkins -- a hardcore Democrat -- donated $350 to the Republican Women of Madison County.
High five to former Deputy John Richardson, a familiar fixture in the friendly confines of the Madison County Courthouse.
Richardson, who helps provide courthouse security, was promoted to Sergeant. He takes over for Sgt. Chris Bardell, who is now serving process for the Madison County Sheriff's Department.
Hosted by U.S. District Judge David Herndon, Ukrainian jurists on tour of the American justice system made a stop by the Madison County Courthouse to sit in on a weld rod trial slowly getting under way.
The genial jurists took pictures of the jurors and Judge Dan Stack, for keepsake sake. After sitting in on the trial, Herndon left his old stomping ground for a tour of the Burroughs firm.