Bonding session

The Madison County Record Nov. 18, 2006, 10:20pm



Jurors in Madison County's recent weld rod trial grew so fond of one another during their month and a half together that they apparently couldn't bear to part ways.

After job one was complete-- delivering a huge victory for defendants --the panel planned a Christmas-themed get together in Alton on Dec. 1.

A verdict could have been reached after only a few minutes of deliberations, sources tell Dicta. But the tight-knit jurors decided to sleep on it so they could have another day off before returning to work, as well as another day in one another's company.

Eyes on Mt. Vernon

The deadline has passed for applicants vying for the 5th Appellate District vacancy created by the passing of Justice Terrence Hopkins.

Sources tell Dicta the list of contenders reads like a who's who.

Having lost primary battles along the way, Democrats Jim Wexstten, 2nd Circuit Judge in Mt. Vernon, and Madison County attorney Bill Berry, are looking for an easier route onto the appellate bench.

Wexstten was trounced in 2002 by Melissa Chapman. Berry's March loss is still fresh, having succumbed in the primary to the newly-elected Justice Bruce Stewart.

Also under consideration: Republican Appellate Justice Steve McGlynn, who lost to Stewart Nov. 7, as well as lawyers Amy Maher and Steve Szcewczyk.

The hands-on favorite, many believe, is Fifth Appellate Presiding Justice Stephen Spomer, whose current job is a temporary assignment. He's rumored to be ready for something more permanent, and is certainly more bullet-proof than the oft-controversial McGlynn.

Dicta wonders-- are any Madison County judges yearning for a trip to Mt. Vernon?

Bad boy

Madison County's not-so-favorite son Jacob Bathon was ordered to attend a batterers' intervention program by St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroeder as part of a sentence stemming from a domestic charge.

Schroeder told a reporter that he "obviously has an anger management problem."

No stranger to conflict, Bathon stands accused of punching funeral home director Mike Weber after Weber refused to place a campaign sign for dad Fred Bathon in the lawn of Weber Funeral Home on Main Street in Edwardsville. Jacob must also undergo evaluation for alcohol abuse treatment.

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