East Alton attorney David W. Dugan has been picked to fill a vacancy in the Third Judicial Circuit, created when former circuit judge John Barberis was elected to the appellate court in November.
Dugan's appointment by the Illinois Supreme Court, upon the recommendation of Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier, will take effect March 3.
His term will last through Dec. 3, 2018 when the winner of the November 2018 general election will be seated to a full term of six years.
Dugan, a Republican, said he would seek election to the seat next year and expects he will have an opponent.
He said he respected the way his predecessor and fellow Republican Barberis conducted his campaign for circuit judge in 2014, in that Barberis announced at the outset that he would not accept campaign contributions from lawyers who appeared before him.
In Barberis's recent election to the Fifth District Appellate Court, in spite of a heavily funded negative ad campaign, Dugan said Barberis's win was a "testament to the Democratic process."
"When people actually vote, and look past the (negative ads) and look at the candidates themselves, I was pleased to see that," he said.
In a press release issued by the Supreme Court, Dugan said he was "honored and humbled" by the appointment.
"I am grateful as well to Chief Justice Karmeier for not only his nomination, but also for entrusting me with the responsibilities of service to the people of Madison County."
Karmeier recommended the appointment following a review of applicants by a six-person screening committee, which included attorneys J. Thomas Long of Sandberg, Phoenix, & von Gontard; Andrew K. Carruthers of Hepler Broom; Sara Ann Ingram of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen; Al Pranaitis of Hoagland, Fitzgerald & Pranaitis; Dawn Sallerson of Hinshaw & Culbertson and John D. Stobbs II of Stobbs Law.
“The caliber of the applicants for this position was very high and I am confident that the people of Madison County will be well served by the appointment of Mr. Dugan as their newest resident circuit judge," Karmeier stated in the release. “With 30 years of courtroom experience in both state and federal courts, Mr. Dugan has earned the respect of his fellow lawyers, the judges before whom he has appeared, and the clients he has represented.”
Dugan, who has worked in private practice since 1986, said his practice area has been centered on civil litigation and involved representation of both plantiffs and defendants.
He said that in the last 15 years, he has concentrated on insurance and commercial disputes. He's also been involved in personal injury litigation, both on the plaintiff and defense side and in products liabiliy.
Dugan also has served as a part-time assistant state's attorney.
He earned a degree in political science from Eastern Illinois University in 1982 and his juris doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1985 where he was awarded the CJS Jurisprudence Award.
His charitable activities include serving as a board member at Options Now, Counsel for Riverbend Family Ministries, Refuge, and Community Hope Center, and a regular speaker on nursing malpractice at the Lewis and Clark Community College Nursing School.
Dugan has been married to Susan E. Dugan for 30 years and they have one daughter, U.S. Air Force Academy graduate Capt. Sarah E. Martin.
The Third Judicial Circuit is comprised of Bond and Madison counties.