Judge Michael D. McHaney elected as Chief Judge

April 3, 2014

Judge Michael D. McHaney has been elected as Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, according to a release from the office of the Chief Judge.

McHaney replaces Judge S. Gene Schwarm, who left the position after being appointed to the Fifth District Appellate Court.

McHaney, of Salem, is a circuit judge from Marion County and was elected by the circuit judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit as an associate judge in 2006 after serving as public defender for Marion County for many years.

He was appointed as a circuit judge by the Supreme Court in 2010 and elected by the voters to the position in December 2010.

The chief judge is elected by the circuit judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit which is made up of nine counties including, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, Montgomery and Shelby. According to the release, the duties of chief judge include assignment of judges, controlling certain court funds, liaison with other governmental entities and administering certain court personnel, including court reporters, public defenders and staff members of probation departments.

McHaney, who began his term as chief judge on April 1, will also represent the Fourth Circuit at the statewide Conference of Chief Judges.

McHaney, a graduate of Mt. Vernon High School, Rend Lake College and Southern Illinois University’s School of Law in Carbondale, was named RLC Alumnus of the Year in 2010. He is a member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Bar Association and Illinois Lawyers for Criminal Justice. In 1985 he served as president of the Jefferson County Bar Association and was president of the Marion County Bar Association in 2003.

He has presided over the Marion County Drug Court since its inception and, according to the judicial assignments, is responsible for all jury trials, case management conferences, pre-trials and dispositive motion hearings on civil jury cases.