Associate judges set for reappointment vote in June; all 13 seeking to retain seats

Amelia Flood Apr. 7, 2011, 9:30am




All 13 associate judges in Madison County are seeking to stay on the bench as this year's reappointment vote nears.

The county's circuit judges will vote on whether or not to reappoint their colleagues June 30.

Trial court administrator Teri Picchioldi said Thursday that all of circuit's associate judges have filed paperwork with the Administrative Office of the Illinois State Supreme Court necessary for reappointment.

If any of them should fail to receive three fifths of the circuit judges' votes, they will not be reappointed to the bench.

Associate judges are appointed every four years.

The time that an associate judge's term began does not factor into the reappointment vote.

That means that Madison County's newest associate judge, Dean Sweet, will be on the same ballot as judges who have served longer.

Sweet became an associate judge last year upon the retirement of Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn.

The county's associate judges handle cases in areas such as the court's family division and sometimes major civil cases worth more than $50,000 in damages.

Associate Judge Thomas Chapman presided over a trial last year that saw a $100,000 verdict for plaintiff Frank Cantlon. Cantlon sued his former employer, East County Transport, on claims of retaliatory discharge.

Chapman and Associate Judge Duane Bailey also oversaw the contentious divorce between Sara and Thomas Buske from 2008 to its 2010 conclusion. The divorce saw the intervention of a third party - a rare occurrence in a divorce - due to a multimillion dollar foreign judgment.

The associate judges are also involved in other areas of the court's daily routine. An example is Associate Judge Clarence Harrison's involvement with the court's new Web site that launched earlier this week.

If a judge fails to secure the three fifths votes needed, then Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis would then seek permission from the Supreme Court to ask for applications for the vacancy from the county's legal community.

Madison's current roster of associate judges includes:

Duane Bailey – Family
Thomas Chapman - Civil
Ellar Duff - Traffic, DUI, Domestic Violence
David Grounds - Family
James Hackett - Criminal
Clarence Harrison - Civil
Janet Heflin – Juvenile Abuse & Neglect & Juvenile Delinquency
Keith Jensen – Bond Count & Family
Elizabeth Levy - Family
Nelson Metz – Traffic & Family
Kyle Napp - Criminal
Stephen Stobbs – Probate, Mental Health, Small Claims
Dean Sweet – Family

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