15 apply for associate judgeship
Fifteen lawyers have applied to become the newest associate judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit.
Chief Judge Dan Flannell said he hopes to have that person on the bench June 16, the same day Richard "Rick" Broch is sworn in as Douglas County's newest circuit judge.
Broch, of Tuscola, was chosen in November 2012 from 26 applicants for the associate judgeship that he now holds.
When Douglas County Circuit Judge Mike Carroll retired Jan. 1, that left an opening for a circuit judge. Broch ran in the Republican primary for the judicial nomination and won.
And since the Democrats fielded no candidates, the Illinois Supreme Court promoted Broch, effective June 16, to the seat for which he'll run apparently unopposed in November.
Flannell said he's hopeful that whoever is chosen as an associate can have his or her practice wrapped up and be ready to begin serving that day.
"This position cries out for someone with varied experience and it really narrows the field," said Flannell, explaining that the new associate will be the "de facto presiding judge" of Piatt County.
That's because resident Piatt County Circuit Judge Hugh Finson is unable to hear any criminal cases in Monticello because his niece is Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades. And as long as Rhoades remains in office, Finson will have that ongoing conflict of interest.
"I've got Hugh in Clinton full-time now and he will continue there until Judge (Gary) Bryan recovers," said Flannell.
Bryan is the circuit judge in DeWitt County and has been dealing with serious health issues for a couple of years. Other judges from around the circuit have been going to Clinton to help out.
The six counties in the 6th Judicial Circuit are Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt.
The 14 circuit judges in all those counties will choose the new associate. Circuit judges are elected; associates are selected by and serve at the pleasure of the circuit judges.
However, Flannell said the circuit judges in the four smaller counties — DeWitt, Douglas, Moultrie and Piatt — will have the main say in selecting the new associate since that person will work closely with them.
Flannell said he, Finson, Bryan and Broch will cull the field of candidates to a few who will be interviewed. The four judges will then make their recommendations to the other circuit judges, who have to cast paper ballot votes that are tallied by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.
Flannell said he hopes to announce the new associate judge on May 27.
"We need somebody who's done it all. This person is going to get flooded day one," said Flannell. "The new associate will be in Piatt probably four days a week and the other day in DeWitt."
Associate judges in Illinois earn $175,214 annually. Circuit judges make $184,436.
Applicants by cities and counties in which their primary offices are:
— Sami Anderson, Champaign
— Ramona Sullivan, Champaign.
— Roger Webber, Urbana.
— Richard Goff, Clinton
— Stephanie Scoles, Clinton
— Karle Koritz, Clinton
— Kevin Nolan, Tuscola
— Katherine Watson, Tuscola
— Phoebe Bowers, Decatur
— Steven Perbix, Decatur
— Timothy Tighe, Decatur
— Marvin Hanson, Sullivan
— Bradford Rau Sr., Sullivan.
— Gary Webber, Monticello.
— David Cox, Monticello.