Thirty thousand dollars dragged Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder into disgrace, but no one batted an eye when Madison County's first asbestos judge, Nicholas Byron, raked in that kind of money in 2002.

His retention campaign raised $65,750 that February, mostly from plaintiff lawyers.

Byron enjoyed a fund-raising advantage Crowder lacked, because he held a busy court not only for asbestos but also for class actions and personal injuries.

Byron raised $24,500 in a single day, the 27th of February.

Tom Lakin's firm in Wood River supplied 13 checks at $500 each.

John Simmons's firm in East Alton supplied eight.

Chicago asbestos lawyers John Cooney and Kevin Conway supplied five.

Class action lawyers John Carey and Joseph Danis, of Clayton, Mo., supplied three.

Class and mass action firm Hopkins Goldenberg matched Carey and Danis with a single check for $1,500, and so did injury lawyers Brown and James of St. Louis.

A mixture of plaintiff and defense lawyers produced another $7,000.

St. Louis class action firm Korein Tillery delivered 11 checks for $500 the next day.

Wendler and Ezra, injury lawyers for Teamster truckers, wrote a check for $1,000.

Injury lawyers Christopher Brown and Jerry Brown, at the same address in St. Louis, each wrote a check for $500.

Another $5,000 from plaintiff and defense lawyers raised the day's total to $12,500.

Already that month, plaintiff lawyers Randy Bono, Evan Buxner, Rex Carr, Francis Duda, John Hustava, Randy Julian, Pam Wise, and Robert Saville had provided $500 each.

Five checks had arrived in a day from injury lawyers in Dallas.

Late to the game but more generous than the rest, Chicago asbestos firm Cascino Vaughn supplied $1,600 on March 5.

Voters retained Byron.

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