Madison County Circuit Judge John B. Barberis Jr., a Republican from St. Jacob, has announced that he will run for the Illinois’ 5th District Appellate Court in the November 2016 general election.
Barberis will be running for the seat being vacated by Justice Bruce Stewart, a Democrat from Carbondale, who has announced he will retire when his current term expires.
1st Judicial Circuit Judge Brad Bleyer of Carbondale is running as a Democratic for Stewart’s seat. No other candidates have announced. The winner gets a 10-year term on the seven-member court. The Mount Vernon-based 5th District Appellate Court encompasses Illinois’ 37 southern most counties.
In a press release announcing his candidacy, Barberis describes himselft as “a lifelong conservative, promises to base his decisions on a strict adherence to the Illinois and U.S. Constitutions.”
He said he “intends to set an example of the highest judicial ethics by maintaining integrity and honesty and impartiality both on and off the bench.”
Barberis successfully ran for the Madison County Circuit Judge in the November 2014 election, defeating Associate Judge Clarence Harrison, a Democrat 54 to 46 percent.
Prior to being elected circuit judge, Barberis was a part-time state’s attorney for nearly 15 years and was in private practice for 18 years.
He most also served as city attorney for Collinsville, as corporate attorney for Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville and as zoning officer for the village of St. Jacob, where he has resided on a small farm with his family since 2000.
Barberis is a life-long resident of Madison County. He attended elementary school at S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic Grade School in Collinsville, and he graduated from Collinsville High School in 1986.
He went on to attend and play basketball at Eureka College in Eureka, Ill., where he stayed for two years before transferring to Illinois State University in Normal. He graduated from ISU with a B.S. degree in sociology.
After college, he went to work for Madison County as a juvenile probation officer. After two years working for the Madison County Probation Department, he enrolled full time at St. Louis University School of Law, where he received his juris doctor degree.
Barberis has been married to his wife, Laura, for 25 years, and they have three children.
Court has two open seats
There will be two seats open on the appellate court in the next election cycle. The other is also due to retirement.
James “Randy” Moore, a Republican Carterville, who is presently serving on the court by appointment, and 2nd Circuit Court Judge Jo Beth Weber, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, have announced candidacies for a seat being left open following the subsequent retirements of two justices.
In March 2014, 4th Judicial Circuit Gene Schwarm, a Republican from rural Fayette County, was appointed to serve for the remainder of the term of Justice James Wexstten, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, who retired. Schwarm also plans to retire following when his term his expires.
Moore was appointed to the court in January to replace Justice Stephen Spomer of Cairo, who retired in November 2014.