Metro-East News

After an associate judge isn’t retained, a vacancy is open on the Third Judicial Circuit

Jennifer Hightower was sworn in as associate judge by circuit judge David Hylla.
Jennifer Hightower was sworn in as associate judge by circuit judge David Hylla. News-Democrat

The Third Judicial Circuit Court, which oversees Madison and Bond counties, has announced a vacancy on the bench after Judge Jennifer Hightower was not retained last week.

Chief Judge William A. Mudge declared the opening in a news release Thursday, notifying members of the Illinois Bar that the position for an associate judge on the court is effective June 30.

Hightower, who was one of the youngest judges appointed in Madison County, was voted out by a vote of nine circuit judges. The circuit judges voted by secret ballot, the Alton Telegraph reported. All 12 of the other Madison County associate judges were retained. Hightower will remain an associate judge until the end of her term on June 30.

Hightower was not recommended by a May poll vote of Illinois Bar Association members. She received just under 63 percent of the vote for “meets requirements of office.”

Any U.S. citizen who is an attorney licensed to practice law in the state and is a resident of the Third Judicial Circuit can apply for the position.

Applicants have 30 days after the notice of vacancy to electronically file two signed originals of the application on a form prescribed and furnished by the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. on July 15 for electronic submissions and 5 p.m. on July 15 for mailed or hand-delivered submissions.

Those applications must be sent in to Marcia M. Meis at 3101 Old Jacksonville Road, Springfield, Illinois 62704.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.