MONTICELLO — A lawyer who has been both public defender and state's attorney will be the next circuit judge in Piatt County.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday named Hugh Finson to succeed John Shonkwiler, the chief judge of the Sixth Circuit who died July 18.
Judge Shonkwiler already had announced his retirement, and the selection of his successor was in process when he died.
Finson's appointment will take effect on Sept. 4 and run through Dec. 1, 2014.
Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman recommended the appointment to the Supreme Court after a review process involving a committee of lawyers and non-lawyers.
"I am flattered, humbled and grateful to the Supreme Court and Justice Garman for their confidence in me by their appointment," Finson said in a release from the Supreme Court. "I am eager to serve the people of Piatt County on the bench, and looking forward to starting work."
The court news release said Finson graduated from DePauw University with a degree in history. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1972 and started his legal career as an associate with Arnold Sievers Law Office in Monticello. From 1973-1975, he was partner with the Monticello firm of Eaton & Finson Law Office. Before his appointment to the bench, Mr. Finson has worked since 1975 as sole practitioner engaged in general practice with Finson Law Office in Monticello.
From 1975 to 1988, Finson was Piatt County state's attorney. He also served as Piatt County public defender from 1988 to 1996.
A resident of Monticello, he is married with four children.
Finson could not be reached for comment.
Garman's screening committee consisted of four non-lawyers — chairperson Dr. Lawrence Jeckel, M.D. of Champaign, Cerro Gordo resident Dan Mogged, and Monticello residents Kelly Finet and Ed Williams — and three lawyers — Frank Lincoln (retired) of Tuscola, Glenn Stanko of Champaign and William Tracy II of Monticello.
The Sixth Judicial Circuit covers six counties: Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt.