Bethany Krajelis Jun. 4, 2013, 3:38pm

Longtime Madison County Associate Judge James Hackett has been appointed a circuit judge, the Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday.

Hackett will fill the vacancy created earlier this month by Ann Callis, who resigned from the judiciary and her position as chief judge in order to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in next year’s election.

Hackett’s appointment takes effect Friday and will expire Dec. 1, 2014. If he wants to keep the seat, he will have to win the November 2014 election to stay on the bench as a circuit judge.

Although his appointment fills Callis’ vacancy, it will create an opening for an associate judgeship. Associate judges are appointed by a vote of the circuit judges.

A message left for Chief Judge Dave Hylla was not immediately returned Tuesday so it’s unclear when exactly that vote will occur.

Hackett joined the judiciary in 1995 as an associate judge and has been re-appointed by his colleagues every four years since.

He ran for circuit judge in 2006 on the Republican ticket, but was defeated by Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder who ran as a Democrat.

Before becoming a judge, Hackett practiced with Meyer & Hackett in Alton. He also previously served as city attorney in Edwardsville and as a special public defender in Madison County.

In the court’s release, Hylla said Hackett “has been a fine, respected associate judge for many years.”

Hylla added, "I am very happy to have him added to our Circuit bench. I am confident that he will be a fine Circuit Court judge."

Hackett, in the court’s release, said that “I will do my best” and is grateful to the Supreme Court and Justice Lloyd Karmeier for “this continued opportunity to serve in the courts.”

The court’s release notes that Hackett, a graduate of St. Louis University School of Law, has served in all of the circuit court’s divisions since 1995 with his primary assignment to the felony division since 2000.

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