Eight apply for judge appointment in Eighth Judicial Circuit; seven named to screening committee

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Top row from left, Timothy Bass, Casey Schnack, Josh Jones and Jonathan Hoover; bottom row from left, Andrew Mays, Gabriel Grosboll, Jennifer Winking and Christopher Pratt.

QUINCY — Justice Lisa Holder White of the Supreme Court of Illinois has announced the formation of a seven-member judicial screening committee for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. 

The screening committee, announced in a press release late Friday afternoon, was formed to assess the qualifications of eight people who have applied for appointment to the office of Judge of the Circuit Court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The removal of Judge Robert Adrian, effective Feb. 23, by the Illinois Courts Commission created the vacancy. Under the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy will be filled by Supreme Court appointment. 

Applicants being considered for appointment to the judgeship are: 

  • Timothy A. Bass of Springfield, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois. He prosecuted the cases against three former Illinois Department of Corrections officers — Alex BantaTodd Sheffler and Willie Hedden — who were convicted of federal civil rights violations and obstruction charges in the beating death of inmate Larry Earvin, 65, at Western Illinois Correctional Center in May 2018.
  • Gabriel T. Grosboll of Petersburg, the state’s attorney in Menard County and the former general counsel for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
  • Jonathan S. Hoover of Quincy, a partner with the firm of Lemon, Matchett and Hoover in Hannibal, Mo. Hoover previously worked for Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu and Mitchell in Quincy. He also is a professor at Quincy University.
  • Joshua L. Jones of Quincy, assistant state’s attorney in Adams County for more than 20 years. He prosecuted the 2023 cases against convicted murderer Tim Bliefnick and Bradley Yohn, who received 130 years in prison for kidnapping, home invasion, hijacking and sexual assault.
  • Andrew O. Mays of Quincy, an attorney at Mays Law Office since January 2018. He previously was an attorney for Hauk & Owens, LLC, and Mays, Walden & Anastas, P.C.
  • Christopher W.B. Pratt of Quincy, who was named interim chief public defender in Adams County in February and had the interim tag removed April 1. He has been with the public defender’s office since 2016. He previously worked for seven years for Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu and Mitchell.
  • Casey J. Schnack of Quincy, an attorney at Schnack Law Offices, P.C., for 13 years.
  • Jennifer A. Winking of Quincy, an assistant general counsel for the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission. She previously was the director of human resources and risk management for the city of Quincy for nine months and assistant professor of legal studies at Culver-Stockton College for two years. She was a partner for 25 years at Scholz, Loos, Palmer, Siebers and Duesterhaus.

The screening committee consists of non-lawyers and lawyers who reside in the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The non-lawyer members of the committee are Nicole Kopec, Lee Lindsay, Stacey Juilfs and Dr. Eric Sieck. The lawyer members of the committee are attorney Hal Oakley and retired judges Diane Lagoski and Scott Butler. Lagoski will serve as chairperson of the committee. 

After the committee has received public input, gathered information and interviewed each of the applicants, it will report its findings to the Supreme Court of Illinois, which will make the appointment. The person appointed will serve as a circuit Judge until the general election is held in November 2026. 

Members of the public are invited to submit written comments concerning the applicants by U.S. mail to Eighth Judicial Screening Committee, Adams County Courthouse, 521 Vermont Street, Quincy, IL 62301, or by email to smain@adamscountyil.gov. Comments must be in writing and received no later than 5 p.m. on May 1, 2024. 

Anonymous letters will not be accepted. All comments will be held in confidence by the committee and the court.

Muddy River News Editor David Adam contributed to this story.

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