To the editor:

In the recent local election, Chief Madison County Circuit Judge Ann Callis and her fellow candidates for retention, Judges Charles Romani and John Knight, along with the two new Circuit Judges Dave Hylla and Barb Crowder all ran on platforms of judicial reform and bipartisanship. And since Crowder, a former associate judge, won the seat on the circuit bench, a new associate judge must be named to fill her seat.

Currently, there are nine seats on the circuit bench, all being filled by Democrats.

There are also 11 current associate judges, with nine being filled by Democrats. All of the applications for associate judge have already been submitted, and the circuit judges will choose a new associate judge by way of secret ballot.

Before this vote takes place, however, I would like to see the five circuit judges who were recently retained/elected live up to their campaign promises and open up this selection process to public scrutiny and allow the citizens to view the qualifications of all candidates being considered, and receive feedback from the public.

In the past, it has been rumored that associate judges were appointed through "back room deals," primarily with the powerful local plaintiff attorneys.

This process has resulted in appointments of associate judges that the public knows nothing about. If anything is to change for the better, this notorious process must come to an end. After all, aren't the courts supposed to represent the public?

Now let's see if Judges Callis, Romani, Knight, Hylla and Crowder are really serious about judicial reform and bipartisanship.

Chris Slusser
Wood River

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