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Central Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Friday that Associate Judge Timothy M. Lucas has been appointed a circuit judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride recommended Judge Lucas fill the Circuit Court vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. James E. Shadid upon his appointment as a federal district judge for the Central District of Illinois. Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court is given the authority to fill judicial vacancies. An associate judge in the 10th Circuit since 2001, Judge Lucas has presided over a wide range of cases including misdemeanor, traffic, civil, probate, juvenile abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency.
Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride of the Illinois Supreme Court and Chief Judge Michael Brandt of the 10th Judicial Circuit announced Tuesday a new mediation program to help ease the financial and emotional burden of homeowners, lenders and taxpayers caused by residential mortgage foreclosures in Peoria County. Chief Justice Kilbride said he is hopeful that the foreclosure mediation program will help keep some families in their homes and help prevent vacant and abandoned houses that drive down property values and destabilize neighborhoods. The Illinois Supreme Court approved the program which is modeled after one which began last June in Will County. Both programs operate with no expense to taxpayers and are sustained by an increase in filing fees paid by lenders seeking to foreclose. "This is an important step forward for those who have suffered the effects of our nation's economic crisis in Peoria," said Chief Justice Kilbride. "The Supreme Court has a keen interest in programs that have the strong promise of achieving timely and lasting resolutions to tough problems." The program in Peoria County not only mirrors the one in Will County, but comes after another mortgage foreclosure initiative was announced last week by the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court. On the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, the Court appointed a special 14-person committee to study ways to ease the burdens of homeowners and to ensure fairness throughout foreclosure proceedings. It is anticipated that the Committee will propose procedures that can be implemented throughout the state. The Committee will examine the program in Will County and Peoria County as well as the one operating in Cook County, which is partially funded through county funds.
Robert G. Kirchner, 54, of Urbana passed away on Sunday, April 17. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and had practiced in Champaign County for more than two decades.
"He was unique among the Champaign County Bar for how aggressive he was, what a bulldog he was," says fellow attorney Tom Bruno. "We lawyers have an ethical obligation to act in the best interests of our clients, and he would do anything to fulfill that obligation."
Funeral arrangements are pending at Renner-Wikoff Chapel and Crematory, 1900 Philo Road, Urbana. Read the full obituary in the Champaign News-Gazette

M. Carol Pope
Justice Carol Pope, currently serving on the Fourth District Appellate Court, has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination to fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Justice Sue Myerscough to the Federal District Court. Justice Pope has served on the appellate court since Dec. 1, 2008. Prior to that she served for 17 years as the Resident Circuit Judge of Menard County in the 8th Judicial Circuit. Justice Pope also served as the Menard County State’s Attorney from 1984-1991. Justice Pope graduated magna cum laude in 1975 from the University of Illinois, where she was named to the Bronze Tablet, the university’s highest recognition of academic excellence. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree with honor from DePaul University College of Law in 1979 where she was Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review. Justice Pope, by the election of her peers, currently serves as Third Vice President of the Illinois Judges’ Association (IJA), an organization of over 1,100 active and retired judges. She will serve as President of the IJA in 2013-2014.
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride has developed a screening process to interview and assess the qualifications of applicants to the position of Circuit Court Judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Request an application at
The VanFleet Law Offices proudly announce they have relocated their business and commercial law practice firm from downtown Peoria to a more practical location in Peoria’s northern business district. To better serve client needs, the firm is now conveniently located at 7817 N. Knoxville Avenue (Corner of Knoxville and Pioneer Parkway).  All other contact information remains the same.
  • VanFleet Law Offices
  • 7817 N. Knoxville Ave.
  • Peoria, IL 61614
  • Telephone: 309-672-2200
  • Facsimile: 309-672-2201

Robert F. Russell
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. has elected Attorney Robert F. Russell of Princeton, Ill., as the chairman of its board of directors. Russell is a partner in the Princeton law firm Russell, English, Scoma & Beneke. He is the third generation of Russells to practice law in Princeton, following his father, Fred G. Russell, and his grandfather, Judge R. L. Russell, who first opened his office in Princeton in 1897. ATG is widely known as an advocate for both lawyers and the clients they serve. Subsidiary companies owned and operated by ATG include:  ATG Legal Education, LLC; ATG LegalServe; ATG Trust Company; The Judicial Sales Corporation; and NLT Title, LLC. “It is my goal to maintain ATG’s industry-wide reputation as the premier lawyer service organization for both the legal profession and for the public,” Russell said. “We have the right people to ensure we continue providing unsurpassed service to attorneys and their clients. Being chosen to lead this complex and innovative company during a time of extreme uncertainty in the national real estate market is a true honor.  I look forward to working with our management team and my fellow board members to meet and surmount the challenges that face us.” Peter J.
President Mark Hassakis and Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride are welcomed by Lawyers Assistance Program president Sheila Murphy to the 2nd Annual Joseph R. Bartylak Dinner at the Governor's Mansion in Springfield March 25. Kilbride was featured speaker at the dinner. Retired appellate justice Tobias Barry of Ladd and retired circuit judge E. Michael O'Brien of Peoria were presented the Joseph R. Bartylak Volunteer Service Award. President Hassakis and past ISBA presidents Herb Franks of Marengo and Timothy Bertschy of Peoria were singled out by Murphy for their long support of LAP.
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it has recalled retired Appellate Court Justice Robert W. Cook and assigned him to the Fourth Judicial District Appellate Court to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. Sue E. Myerscough upon her appointment as a federal district judge for the Central District of Illinois. His assignment will be effective April 1, 2011 and will terminate on December 3, 2012. Appellate Justice Cook graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.A. degree in History. He received his juris doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1967. After graduation, he entered the United States Marine Corps as a captain, serving with the Judge Advocate General from 1967 to 1970, and in Vietnam from 1969 to1970. Before his initial appointment to the bench, Appellate Justice Cook worked as an attorney with the law firm of Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell in Quincy from 1970-1981. From 1983 to 1991, Appellate Justice Cook served as a Circuit Court Judge in Adams County. He was appointed to the Fourth Judicial District Appellate Court in 1991. He was subsequently elected in 1994 and was retained in 2004. The Fourth Judicial District is comprised of 30 counties across central Illinois. Those counties are: Adams, Pike, Calhoun, Schuyler, Brown, Scott, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Morgan, Cass, Mason, Menard, Sangamon, Logan, DeWitt, Macon, Piatt, Moultrie, McLean, Woodford, Livingston, Ford, Champaign, Douglas, Coles, Cumberland, Clark, Edgar and Vermilion.