Metro-East News

3 more associate judges picked for Madison County: Flack, Schuette, Simmons

Madison County Courthouse
Madison County Courthouse

Three more associate judges have been selected to serve in the 3rd Judicial Circuit, which covers Madison County.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Friday the selection of Donald M. Flack, Maureen D. Schuette and Luther W. Simmons as associate judges. Their selection means all five recent judicial vacancies in the circuit have been filled.

Attorneys Jennifer Hightower and Sarah Smith already had been chosen to fill the other two associate judge vacancies.

Five associate judges from the 3rd Judicial Circuit lost their positions in June when they failed to get enough votes for retention from the circuit judges.

Flack was one of those associate judges who failed to get retained in June. But the vote threshold for being selected as an associate judge differs from the threshold for being retained. Selection requires only a majority vote from the circuit judges, while retention requires affirmative votes from at least 60 percent of the circuit judges.

There were 46 applicants for the five vacancies.

Circuit judges are elected by voters. The circuit judges vote on the selection and retention of associate judges.

Chief Judge David Hylla said, “These three candidates bring a great deal of experience and professionalism to our bench. They will be fine additions and allow our courts to be even more responsive to the needs of the people of Madison and Bond counties. I truly look forward to working with all of them.”

The 3rd Judicial Circuit has nine circuit judgeships and 13 associate judgeships. Associate judges are up for retention every four years, while circuit judges are up for retention every six years.

Flack received his undergraduate degree in 1993 from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and his law degree in 1998 from Saint Louis University.

Schuette received her undergraduate degree in 1984 from SIUE and her law degree in 1988 from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Schuette has a solo practice in Edwardsville.

Simmons received his undergraduate degree in 1970 from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his law degree in 1974 from Saint Louis University. Simmons is affiliated with the Madison County Public Defender’s Office.

Flack will return to the bench on Tuesday. Schuette and Simmons will begin their terms in early October, at the end of the temporary terms of Circuit Judge Lola Maddox and Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn. Maddox and Mendelsohn were called back from retirement to help carry the load during the five vacancies.

Hylla said, “I deeply appreciate the willingness of Judge Maddox and Judge Mendelsohn to come out of retirement, step in and be the team players they have always been. Their service allowed the courts to keep running this summer with minimal disruption during the process of filling these five vacancies.”