Nine applicants for judge in Piatt County

Nine applicants for judge in Piatt County

DANVILLE — Nine lawyers would like to be the next judge for Piatt County.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman on Friday announced the candidates who would like to fill the post vacated by the upcoming retirement of Judge John Shonkwiler.

They are:

— David K. Cox of Monticello.

— William H. Finson of Monticello.

— John W. Foltz of Monticello.

— Dana C. Rhoades of Monticello.

— Debra A. Seaton of South Holland.

— Roger Simpson of Monticello.

— Timothy J. Tighe of Decatur.

— Gary A. Webber of Monticello.

— Shig W. Yasunaga of Champaign.

Garman has named a seven-person committee to screen the applicants and make a recommendation to her and the other Supreme Court justices.

The judicial screening committee includes retired Judge Frank Lincoln of Tuscola, Glenn Stanko of Champaign, William Tracy II of Monticello, Dr. Lawrence Jeckel of Champaign, Dan Mogged of Cerro Gordo, Kelly Finet of Monticello and Ed Williams of Monticello.

Persons interested in submitting comments about the applicants may write to Kelly Finet, secretary, Sixth Judicial Circuit Screening Committee, P.O. Box 17, Monticello, IL 61856. Comments should be received by the committee before 5 p.m. July 9.

Whoever is named to the post will serve until the November 2014 election. The person will have to run for election only in Piatt County since Shonkwiler's seat is a resident judgeship.

A circuit judge since 1974, the 79-year-old Shonkwiler of Monticello announced in May that he would retire effective July 31. He has been in poor health for several months.

Shonkwiler has served as the chief judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for 18 years, essentially acting as a liaison between the judges in Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court. As chief judge, he served on several committees set up by the Supreme Court.

The circuit judges in the Sixth Circuit elected Moultrie County Judge Dan Flannell as the new chief judge effective June 1, even though he's been handling Shonkwiler's administrative duties for several weeks while Shonkwiler has been hospitalized. Flannell has been a judge since 1988.

Flannell, as well as several judges from Champaign and Macon counties, have been handling Shonkwiler's caseload.

Flannell said he's hopeful that the new judge can be selected and seated by mid-August.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on June 23, 2012 at 12:06 am
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Congratulations to my friend Dan Flannell. As for the nine contestants, I (naturally, without saying) endorse Yasunaga.