Timing uncertain for new judge's installation in Ford County
PAXTON — Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton knows he will be stepping out of the prosecutor's chair and onto the bench at some point in the next year.
But after defeating his Republican opponent — attorney Ellen Lee of Paxton — for the Ford County circuit judge's post in Tuesday's primary election by a 1,546 to 1,281 margin, Fitton still does not know when his current job ends and his new one begins.
The former Champaign County public defender could take office as judge as late as Dec. 1, following the November general election. However, the Illinois Supreme Court could appoint Fitton, who is unchallenged in November, to the vacant seat earlier.
"I would like to (become judge) early, but I've been an attorney long enough and I farmed before that, and I'm the youngest of eight kids, so I can be patient," Fitton said. "I'll do what I have to. But I'm excited, and I'm looking forward to it and I'll follow in step."
The 52-year-old Fitton, a Paxton resident, will replace Circuit Judge Steve Pacey, who resigned from the bench, effective Dec. 31, 2013, after a 17-year career as judge.
Fitton's win means the remaining two years of his four-year term as state's attorney will need to be filled by appointment, according to state law.