A large crowd gathered Monday morning to observe Godfrey attorney Stephen Stobbs be sworn into office as Madison County Associate Judge.

Chief Judge Ann Callis presided over the ceremony, which was attended by numerous government officials, lawyers and judges, including Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

Karmeier, who commended Madison County's judiciary and encouraged Stobbs to be fair, presented the new judge with a hand-made gavel created by Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

Stobbs, a Republican from Godfrey, was accompanied by his wife, Katie, and their children.

In April, the Third Circuit -- which includes Madison and Bond counties -- learned it was gaining a new associate judge position due to population gains reflected in the 2000 U.S. Census report. Statewide, a total of 26 new associate judgeships were authorized.

Before his appointment, Stobbs was serving his third term as Madison County Board member. He chaired the Judiciary Committee.

Callis had said Stobbs' county governmental experience gave him a "unique" perspective that will benefit the court.

"Steve will bring a new energy and a balance to our court system," Callis stated in a press release. "We welcome him to the bench and look foward to the beginning of a long judicial career."

Stobbs' law practice focused primarily in the areas of probate and estate, elder law, as well as trusts, will, estate planning, civil litigation, commercial and residential real estate and small business representation.

He is a graduate of St. Louis University and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich.

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