MT. VERNON – Justice S. Gene Schwarm was unanimously elected to be the presiding judge of the Fifth District Appellate Court on Dec. 7.
The nomination comes as Schwarm begins his last year on the bench.
“I was very pleased and honored,to be named,” said Schwarm. “I really appreciate my fellow members of the court giving me this opportunity… I’m very pleased to get to go out as presiding.”
Schwarm will serve in the role until Nov. 30, 2016.
“I’ve always enjoyed the administrative work in the courts, and I really enjoyed being chair of the Conference of Chief Judges. As I look back on my judicial career, I think my work in court administration and being a chief judge was one of the highlights,” said Schwarm.
Prior to being appointed to the appellate court, Schwarm was a circuit judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit for 20 years. He served as chief judge of the Circuit for 13 of the 20.
In his role as presiding justice, Schwarm will, among other things, represent the Fifth District at both the Appellate Conference and the Judicial Conference held by the Supreme Court.
He said he hopes to improve the court’s administrative functioning by integrating technology into the filing system.
“We hope to see more of that happen this year,” said Schwarm. “We are kind of limited, and can only move as fast as the Supreme Court and its administrative office will allow us to move, but certainly the Fifth District is willing, I am willing, and we are all anxious to see [electronic filing] move forward.”
Schwarm will retire on Dec. 5, 2016. After retiring, he hopes to pursue other interests with his wife, who also recently retired.
Retirement "will be great," he said.
“I’ve got a lot of interests outside of the law, and I’ll certainly pursue those. I may do some things law-related in the future, but I haven’t determined that."