Two retired 3rd Judicial Circuit judges were tapped Tuesday by the Illinois Supreme Court for temporary service to fill the gap left by five Madison County associate judges who lost their jobs after a vote of their peers.
A statement from the state Supreme Court said retired Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn and retired Circuit Judge Lola Maddox would return to the circuit starting Wednesday for temporary service. Their stints are expected to last until September while replacements for the five booted judges are selected.
Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, a Washington County native, recommended Mendelsohn and Maddox for temporary duty after 3rd Judicial Circuit Chief Judge David Hylla requested some of the slack left by the departing judges be picked up.
The five associate judges now looking for a new job are Duane Bailey, Ben Beyers, Donald Flack, David Grounds and Elizabeth Levy. They failed to receive the required 60 percent of circuit judges voting to retain them in a vote held earlier this month.
Circuit judges are elected by voters, while associate judges are chosen by the circuit judges. The 3rd Judicial Circuit has nine circuit judgeships and 13 associate judgeships. Associate judges are up for retention votes every four years.
Statewide, 376 associate judges were retained by their peers in recent retention votes. Only eight associate judges — including the five from Madison County and one from St. Clair County — were not retained.
Mendelsohn served as an associate judge in Madison County from 2000 to 2009. Upon his retirement he started a private mediation practice serving Madison County and the St. Louis area.
Maddox served on the bench from 1979 to 2004 and then again in 2006 when she was appointed to serve the remainder of a retiring judge’s term. She has volunteered with the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in Alton since her retirement.
“Both (Mendelsohn and Maddox) are experienced and well-respected jurists who, I am confident, will do an excellent job,” Karmeier said in the Supreme Court statement.
The 3rd Judicial Circuit consists of Madison and Bond counties.