Thirty lawyers apply for three associate seats on St. Clair County bench; Runoff is possible

By Ann Maher | Jan 15, 2019

Areda Johnson and Kevin Hoerner  

Thirty local lawyers have applied for three associate judge positions that became open after November's general election.

Among the applicants are 23 Democrats, six Republicans and one lawyer who has not voted in a primary election since at least 2010. Twenty one of the applicants are male; nine female.  

The youngest is an attorney who has been practicing law just over four years - Areda Johnson, 29, Democrat, of Belleville. Johnson currently works at the St. Clair County State's Attorney's office. She received her undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University in 2011 and her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2014.

The oldest is William Stiehl, 66, Republican, of Belleville, who recently finished a brief stint as an appointed circuit judge to fill the vacancy of Robert LeChien who died in August 2017. Stiehl returned to private practice when his temporary assignment ended in December and the winner of the election for LeChien's vacancy, Chris Kolker, was seated.

Associate judges are selected in balloting among a circuit's elected judges. In the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, which includes St. Clair, Monroe, Perry, Randolph and Washington counties, there are 12 circuit judges who in this case will vote for three individuals among the list of 30. 

Ballots are mailed to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts in Springfield for tabulation. To "win," an applicant must get at least seven votes. With a maximum of 36 votes to be cast, many results scenarios are possible. In the event there are not three clear winners, run-off balloting is conducted. 

The complete list of applicants:

Jeanne AuBuchon of East Carondolet, 54, Democrat, AuBuchon & Lee in Belleville.

Laura Beasley of Belleville, 46, Democrat, Joley, Oliver & Beasley in Belleville.

Luke Behme of Mascoutah, 37, has not voted in primary election from 2010 to present, Harvey Behme & Associates in Mt. Vernon.

Daniel Bronke of Nashville, 39, Republican, Washington County State's Attorney's Office.

Stacy Campbell of O'Fallon, 37, voted Democrat in 2008, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in East St. Louis.

Laninya Cason of Belleville, 47, Republican, Department of Children and Family Services in Belleville.

Bernard Dowling of Swansea, 58, Democrat, Clayborne, Sabo and Wagner in Belleville.

Brian Flynn of Belleville, 33, Democrat, city attorney for City of Belleville and affiliated with Flynn Guymon & Garavalia in Belleville.

Patrick Foley of Belleville, 44, Democrat, Foley & Kelly in Belleville.

Brent Gaines of Freeburg, 39, Democrat, solo practitioner and affiliated with the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.

Daniel Grueninger of Smithton, 57, Republican, Law Office of Daniel J. Grueninger in Belleville.

Brandon Marshall Hilmes of Marissa, 47, Republican, Hilmes Legal Solutions in Caseyville.

Kevin Hoerner of Belleville, 56, Democrat, Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa in Belleville.

Areda Johnson of Belleville, 29, Democrat, St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.

Kevin Kaufhold of Belleville, 63, Democrat, Kaufhold & Associates in Belleville.

Joan Keltner of Belleville, 58, Democrat, unaffiliated.

Samantha Kerth of Belleville, 60, Democrat, solo practitioner in Belleville.

Bernard Kloess of Belleville, 65, Democrat, Law Office of Jack Kloess in Belleville.

Elaine LeChien of Belleville, 57, Democrat, LeChien & LeChien in Belleville.

Michael Murphy of O'Fallon, 54, Democrat, Freeark, Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville,

Philip Rice of Belleville, 60, Democrat, Rice Law Offices in Belleville.

Richard Roustiou of Swansea, 62 Democrat, St. Clair County Public Defender's Office.

Christie Schmieder of Belleville, 48, Democrat, Charter Communications in St. Louis.

David Schneidewind of Marissa, 44, Democrat, Boyle Brasher in Belleville.

Christopher Smith of Belleville, 42, Democrat, Dixon and Johnston in Belleville.

Thomas Speedie, Jr. of Nashville, 50, Democrat, Tom Speedie, Attorney at Law, in Nashville.

William Stiehl of Belleville, 66, Republican, solo practitioner in Belleville.

Paul Storment of Belleville, 55, Republican, Storment Law Office in Belleville.

Timothy Stubblefield of Columbia, 60, Democrat, Bement and Stubblefield in Fairview Heights.

Harvey Taylor, Jr. of Belleville, 41, Democrat, St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office.

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Organizations in this Story

Boyle Brasher City of Belleville Florida Coastal School of Law Hilmes Legal Solutions Illinois Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court

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