Webber chosen for associate judgeship

Webber chosen for associate judgeship

SPRINGFIELD — A Savoy man with 30 years of legal experience has been chosen as the newest judge for the 6th Judicial Circuit.

The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts announced Monday that Roger B. Webber, 55, has been selected to the associate judgeship left vacant by the promotion of Associate Judge Richard "Rick" Broch to Douglas County circuit judge, which becomes effective June 16.

Broch is running in the November election, apparently unopposed, for that judgeship.

Although Webber can technically hear cases in any of the smaller four counties of the 6th Circuit — DeWitt, Douglas, Moultrie and Piatt — he will spend the bulk of his time presiding in Piatt County.

That's because resident Piatt County Circuit Judge Hugh Finson has a conflict of interest since his niece, Dana Rhoades, is the state's attorney in Piatt County and that precludes Finson from hearing criminal cases.

To remedy that situation, Chief Judge Dan Flannell has assigned Finson to DeWitt County, where he fills in for Judge Gary Bryan, who's dealing with a chronic illness. Webber is expected to spend one day a week in Clinton.

Webber has applied several times in the past for associate judgeship openings. The elected circuit judges chose him from a field of 15 applicants, including his own brother, Gary Webber, who practices in Monticello.

Associate judges serve at the pleasure of the circuit judges and are reviewed for reappointment every four years. They currently earn $175,214 annually.

Webber has been a principal shareholder in the law firm of Beckett & Webber in Urbana since 1995, although he's been with that firm since 1990. The firm has had an office in Tuscola since 2006.

Prior to 1990, Webber was the first assistant state's attorney in Douglas County from 1986 to 1990 under Dave Bartholomew and later Broch. And before that, he worked as an assistant public defender in Champaign County from 1984 to 1986.

Webber has a wide-ranging practice, including criminal defense work, civil litigation, traffic cases, real estate, First Amendment issues, and even the representation of fellow attorneys before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

He received his undergraduate degree in business administration from Illinois State University in 1980 and his law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1983. Webber has been married to his wife Jane for almost 34 years. They have two children.

Webber said he was "thrilled but scared" at the prospect of his new career.

He said he hopes to wrap up his practice in a couple of weeks and take the bench in the latter part of June.

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