Norton's law office is in Sparta, pop. 4,450 in Randolph County.

William C. Norton of Sparta, a partner in the Marissa firm Conn, Clendenin & Norton, has been appointed to fill a judicial vacancy in the 20th Judicial Circuit.

Norton will be sworn into office March 7 and his appointment will run through Dec. 4, 2006, the Supreme Court of Illinois announced Thursday. Norton was recommended by Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier, following a review process by a special committee established by Karmeier.

Last month The Record reported a panel of attorneys in the 20th Judicial Circuit formed in December to begin reviewing potential candidates for the position.

Nashville attorney Clarence W. DeMoss, who served as chair of the screening committee, said each of the applicants was interviewed and their credentials reviewed before winnowing the list for Karmeier.

Other members of the committee were Retired Judge Carl Becker of Red Bud; Steve Buser, an attorney practicing in Columbia, former editor of the Illinois Bar Journal and Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation; Paul Koeneman, an attorney in Chester; Michael McGlynn, an attorney in Belleville; and Gayl Pyatt, who practices law in Pinckneyville and is active member of the University of Illinois Foundation.

The vacancy was created by the election of Judge James K. Donovan to the Illinois Appellate Court in November.

According to the Court's press release, a committee screened 14 applicants for the vacancy and submitted a short list of the most qualified candidates to Karmeier, who made the final recommendation.

“I was very pleased there were applications from so many well qualified individuals, which made my task of selecting a nominee both difficult and easy,” said Justice Karmeier. “It was
difficult because there were so many good and qualified candidates, but easy because many would have made a great addition to the bench in this Circuit.”

The 20th Judicial Circuit consists of St. Clair, Washington, Perry, Randolph and Monroe counties in southwestern Illinois.

Norton received his undergraduate degree from Southeast
Missouri State University, which he attended on an athletic scholarship and was a honors student. He participated in track, cross country and golf.

He received his Doctor of Law degree from Southern Illinois University in 1978. He joined the firm which now bears his name and also was an assistant state’s attorney in Perry County from 1978 through 1980.

During his legal career, he has participated in nearly 3,000 civil and criminal cases, and has also handled cases on appeal.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Randolph County Bar Association; and a former member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

“I am very humbled by this opportunity to serve the people and I am very appreciative of the confidence shown in me by Justice Karmeier and the Supreme Court in making the appointment,” said Norton. “I view this as a real challenge and a responsibility that I undertake with the utmost seriousness and commitment.”

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