Appellate Court Judge Vacancy Filled

March 18, 2014

Appellate Court Judge Vacancy Filled

By Leigh Williams, Contributing Writer

The appellate court judge vacancy left by the retirement of Appellate Justice James M. Wexstten will be filled by a familiar face. The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday the appointment of Chief Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm, of Mt. Vernon. Wexstten, also of Mt. Vernon, retired from the bench effective Jan. 29.

According to a release from the Illinois Supreme Court, Schwarm’s appointment is effective April 1 and will expire Dec. 5, 2016, when the position will be filled by the winner of the 2016 General Election.

“I am honored to be selected to fill the vacancy in the Fifth District Appellate Court,” Chief Schwarm says in the release. “My humble thanks go to Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Supreme Court for giving me this opportunity. I am especially pleased to follow retiring Justice Jim Wexstten, an outstanding jurist and colleague.”

Schwarm, 58, has served for the past 20 years as a Resident Circuit Judge for Fayette County in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Since 2001, he has served as Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit, having been elected seven times by the Circuit Judges of the Fourth Circuit, according to the press release.

Since 2006, Schwarm has served as chairman of the Conference of Chief Circuit Judges. The Conference of Chief Circuit Judges is composed of the chief circuit judges from the 24 Illinois judicial circuits. Schwarm has been elected chairman five times by the 24 chief judges in the state of Illinois. The Conference meets regularly to discuss issues related to the administration of justice in the circuit courts and other matters referred to the Conference by the Supreme Court.

Schwarm was chosen in an application process that included review by an eight-member screening committee appointed by Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. Each applicant was interviewed and their credentials reviewed by members of the screening committee, which forwarded a short list of recommended candidates who were interviewed by Justice Karmeier. The Fifth Judicial District is made up of 37 counties in southern Illinois. They are: Alexander, Bond, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Edwards, Effingham, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Richland, Saline, Shelby, St. Clair, Wabash, Wayne, Washington, White, Williamson, and Union.