Saturday, June 13, 2015

All Cook County Associate Judges retained for new four-year terms; some Downstate judges rejected by their colleagues

Three hundred seventy six of the 384 associate judges who sought new terms were reelected to the bench by their full-circuit colleagues, according to election results announced this week by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. Every one of the 140 Cook County associate judges who applied was chosen for a new four-year term.

Of the eight Downstate judges who sought retention unsuccessfully, one was from Will County (12th Judicial Circuit) and another was from the 6th Judicial Circuit (the circuit which includes Champaign County). According to Beth Hundsdorfer's article in the June 11 editions of the Belleville News-Democrat, the other six were from Madison and St. Clair Counties, including the only African-American jurist in St. Clair County, Laninya Cason, and the only two African-American judges in Madison County, Duane Bailey and Ben Beyers.

According to Hunsdorfer's article, every one of the six judges not retained in Madison and St. Clair Counties had been recommended for retention by the Illinois State Bar Association with the sole exception of Judge Cason. "In recent years," Hunsdorfer reported, "Cason switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican."

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39(a)(1) provides, in pertinent part, "The terms of all associate judges in office shall expire on June 30th of every fourth year subsequent to 1975, regardless of the date on which any judge is appointed."

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