Deadline April 12 to apply for at-large circuit judge vacancy created by removal of Adrian

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QUINCY — Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White has started the application process for an at-large circuit judge vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit that resulted from the removal of Judge Robert Adrian on Feb. 23. 

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment. The application process will lead to final Court approval. 

Notice of the vacancy is posted in courthouses throughout the circuit, which is made up of Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Mason, Menard, Pike and Schuyler counties. 

The application form and instructions to apply for the vacancy is available at the Illinois Supreme Court’s website or at the IllinoisCourts.gov website. The deadline to apply is April 12.

A press release from the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts says applicants will undergo an evaluation and screening process. The person selected to fill the vacancy will serve until the first Monday in December following the November 2026 general election.

To be eligible for consideration for appointment, the applicant must be a lawyer licensed to practice law in Illinois. 

The Illinois Courts Commission ruled Feb. 23 that the Judicial Inquiry Board proved “by clear and convincing evidence” and sustained a three-count complaint that Adrian gave untruthful testimony before the Board in explaining reasons for reversing his decision that found Drew Clinton guilty of felony criminal sexual assault after a three-day bench trial in October 2021. The commission also found Adrian’s conduct was “unbecoming of a judicial officer” after he removed Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones from the courtroom on Jan. 12, 2022.

The seven-member commission, which conducted a two-day hearing in November in Chicago, declared Adrian committed “willful misconduct” and ordered him removed from office.

Judge Charles H.W. Burch of Hardin, who had been handling the docket in Calhoun County, is now working with Judge Tad Brenner to handle the criminal court docket in Adams County.

Another Eighth Judicial Circuit position remains open as well. Amy Lannerd was assigned to the Illinois Appellate Court’s Fourth District on Dec. 5, 2022, and she launched her campaign for a full term in July 2023. She is running unopposed. Lannerd filled the vacancy when Justice John W. Turner decided not to seek retention.

Both Lannerd and Adrian’s dockets were based in Adams County. Lannerd’s position remains unfilled, and Frank McCartney, chief judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, doesn’t expect her replacement to be named until later this year.

McCartney also must find a replacement for Judge Debra Wellborn, who plans to retire this summer from her position as an associate judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

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