Mudge elected chief judge of Third Judicial Circuit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Apr 24, 2019

Hylla and Mudge  

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge was elected to take over as chief judge of the Third Judicial Circuit beginning June 3. 

“I’m proud of the Third Judicial Circuit and am honored that my colleagues have placed their faith and confidence in me to maintain the circuit’s excellent reputation,” Mudge said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our experienced circuit and associate judges in a collaborative manner to better serve the citizens of Madison and Bond Counties and continue to provide them with fair and impartial justice.”

Mudge will replace current Chief Judge David Hylla, who has served in the role since 2013. 

“Judge Hylla ably and competently handled the chores of the office, rising to become Chair of the Conference of Chief Judges, which is quite an accomplishment. I thank him for his dedicated years of service to the citizens of Madison and Bond Counties,” Mudge said.

Hylla told the Record he is grateful for the opportunity to serve as chief judge for three terms, but he is happy to preside over cases again after six years. 

“I’m looking forward to going back on the trial docket and handling cases, and certainly ready for someone else to start handling the administrative duties,” he said. 

“I frankly didn’t go to law school and run for judge to be a business manager,” he added. “It was a good experience and I learned a lot, but it’s not my primary interest.”

Hylla said he does not know what docket he will preside over. 

“I’m happy to serve anywhere,” he said.  

Mudge said that since news spread that he will be the next chief judge, he has had numerous requests and recommendations for judicial assignments. 

“I’ve not made any decisions on changes in assignments or things to that nature,” he said. “I’m going to evaluate everything and work with the associates and the circuits and try to accommodate needs and desires.”

“Obviously, you can’t put everyone where they want to be,” he added. 

However, he said he will not make changes just to make changes. 

“Things that aren’t broken, I won’t fix,” he said. 

Mudge said his role as chief judge will focus on administrative duties, and his primary goal is to maintain a sound judiciary for Madison and Bond Counties. 

“I believe my number one priority will be to maintain and continue to foster an fair, efficient and independent judiciary,” he said. “That is done when our associate and circuit judges maintain a strong work ethic, a high level of judicial competence and an unwavering devotion to the high office that we hold.”

He added that Madison County is ahead of the curve in many statewide initiatives thanks to “some of the finest judges in the state.”

“You’re only as good as the people that you surround yourself with,” Mudge said. 

Mudge was elected a circuit judge in 2010 and has served in the law division. 

Prior to serving on the bench, Mudge graduated from Saint Louis University School of Law alongside Hylla before working in private practice in Edwardsville for 16 years. Mudge was also a Madison County State’s Attorney for eight years. 

Mudge currently serves as president of the board that oversees the Madison County Child Advocacy Center. 

He also formerly served as chair of the U.S. Senate Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District of Illinois, served on the board of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in Chicago, and served on several Illinois Supreme Court Committees. 

Mudge is married to Jennifer Mudge, a special prosecutor with the Illinois State’s Attorney Appellate Prosecutor’s Office. They reside in Edwardsville. Mudge has two children and two step children. 

Hylla was first elected chief judge in 2013 after former chief judge Ann Callis stepped down from the bench to run for Congress. Callis now works for the Edwardsville firm Goldenberg Heller Antognoli and Rowland. 

Since taking over the role, Hylla said the Third Judicial Circuit has tripled the staff in the self-help center, added the JusticeCorps of Volunteers, started an internship program with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students, formed a full-time law clerk position and judicial assistant position, started the Domestic Violence Accountability Court, began the Intimate Partners Violence Prevention Project and the drug court has been certified by the state. 

Hylla also said that since he’s become chief judge, Madison County started National Adoption Day, Second Chance Saturday, and recently began using a courthouse therapy dog named Fitz. 

“I hope our county continues to move in the same direction, improving our court system and improving the lives of the people in Madison County,” Hylla said. 

Hylla currently serves as the Chairman of the Illinois Supreme Court’s first e-Business Policy Advisory Board, serves on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Committee, Special Advisory Committee on Justice and Mental Health Planning and Commission on Access to Justice’s Steering Committee for JusticeCorps.

He also serves as the chair of the Chief Judges’ Association, which is expected to pick a new chair on May 17. 

During his time as chief judge, Hylla helped usher in an e-filing system statewide. 

He said the e-Business Policy Advisory Board is also currently working on establishing remote access for court records in all courts statewide. He said the policy will allow for greater transparency, convenience, and less expensive access to court documents. 

“It’s not been an easy process because we are trying to balance the integrity of court records with transparency and access to those records,” Hylla said. 

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