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An elite committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) has honored the 17th Judicial Circuit, Winnebago County Bar Association and the Boone County Bar Association for pioneering a local initiative designed to enhance professionalism and civility in the legal profession.

The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism will award the three northwestern Illinois entities with the 2012 E. Smythe Gambrell Award and a $3,500 check during the ABA’s annual meeting this summer. The presentation will take place at a luncheon on Friday, August 3 at 12:15 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

The Gambrell Award is given each year to organizations that contribute to the understanding of professionalism among lawyers. The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (ILSCCP) nominated the three organizations for working together in designing and implementing an Aspirational Code of Conduct, Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program, and Peer Review Council.

All three initiatives have become models for the profession, not only in Illinois but in other jurisdictions as well.

"Three successive Chief Judges in the 17th Circuit have, in collaboration with the leadership of the two bar associations, not only initiated and maintained a vibrant professionalism initiative in the 17th Judicial Circuit, but also have actively collaborated with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in replicating the initiatives throughout the state," said Justice Robert R. Thomas of the Illinois Supreme Court. "I commend all of them for their efforts which led to this award. They have done much to craft innovative ways to promote the ideals of professionalism, and we are all better off as a result of their commitment."

Richard M. Batcher
Richard M. Batcher
Richard M. Batcher, 70, of Bettendorf, Iowa, died unexpectedly at University Hospitals in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, June 9, 2012. 

Richard was born August 9, 1941 in Waterloo, Iowa to Robert and Maxine (Edsel) Batcher. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1963 with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1967 he received his law degree from the University of Iowa.

Mr. Batcher practiced law at Heninger and Heninger in Davenport, Iowa, for seven years. He continued practicing law for 38 years at Bozeman, Neighbor, Patten and Noe in Moline, Illinois.

Richard was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Scott County and Rock Island County Bar Associations, the Bettendorf Rotary Club, Transitions Board, Quad City Astronomy Club and the Cornbelt Running Club.

Richard married Lynn Hagglund on June 17, 1967 in Ottumwa, Iowa.

He was a gentle man with an avid curiosity about a variety of subjects. Even after achieving a professional degree he took college courses and tutored high school physics students for fun. He was an avid reader and especially enjoyed true survival stories. Dick loved the outdoors, in particular the Rocky Mountains. He took up running in his 50's and solo hiked 176 miles of the John Muir Trail in his 60's. He was a 44 year member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. He adored his wife and children, his son in law and most recently his granddaughter, Leah Grace, all of whom loved him fiercely.

Peter Kostantacos
Peter Kostantacos
Peter C. Kostantacos, 88, passed away on June 11 at Provena St. Anne Center after a lingering illness. He was born Feb. 14, 1924 in Rockford, the son of Charles and Metaxia (Heotis) Kostantacos.

He attended Rockford schools and in 1942, he enrolled in Beloit College. Shortly after, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve. After one semester, he received his notice to report to active duty. Peter became a B17 pilot assigned to the 31st Bomber Group of the Fifteenth Air Force. While co-piloting a return from a mission over Yugoslavia in 1945, his plane took enemy fire and went down in the Adriatic Sea. Of the 10 crew members, Peter was one of 7 survivors to raft to a nearby island. They all were eventually brought back safely and he flew 11 more missions.

After the war, he returned to Beloit College, he became a Life Loyal member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, and received his undergraduate degree in 1948. He enrolled in U. of Michigan and received his law degree in 1952. He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1952.

Soon thereafter, he was hired by the firm of Thomas and Davis located in the Talcott Building where he maintained his law practice for almost 60 years. Among his valued clients were Rock Valley College, Woodward, Clinton Electronics, HCI, and many fine individuals and their families. He was instrumental in establishing the Rock Valley Community College District. He served there as the attorney for the Board of Trustees for many years.

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and the Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday that two counties in the Second Judicial District will be added to a pilot project allowing the filing of the trial record on appeal electronically.

The Supreme Court Order authorized the Illinois Appellate Court in the Second Judicial District to begin an e-project that will allow attorneys, parties and appellate justices to view, access and work electronically from the official record of cases on appeal from DeKalb and McHenry counties for appeals filed after August 1, 2012.

DeKalb and McHenry will join DuPage and Ogle counties in the Second Judicial District to electronically transfer the official court record of cases on appeal. Other Illinois counties in the pilot project include Clinton County in the Fifth Judicial District, Rock Island County in the Third Judicial District and Adams County in the Fourth Judicial District.

In addition, the Court announced in January a pilot project for the electronic filing of motions, briefs and related documents with the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk's office. That project involves the Illinois Attorney General, the State Appellate Defender's Office and the Office of the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.

Chief Justice Kilbride has said making the records on appeal available electronically will bring the courts closer to eventually making e-business universal throughout the Illinois court system. Justice Kilbride has pledged to make Illinois court operations more efficient by implementing improvements in technology since becoming Chief Justice in October 2010.

Robert C. Moehle, 92, Rockford, formerly of Oregon, died Saturday, May 5, 2012 in Rockford. 

He was born Jan. 2, 1920 in Okawville, the son of Walter and Minna Miche’ Moehle.

He was a graduate of Belleville High School and then entered in the Business School of Washington University.

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard as an ensign and served three years in the Pacific during the World War II.

He married Eleanor Elrod in Martin, Tenn., on Sept. 28, 1946.

After Moehle was discharged from the Coast Guard, he finished the School of Law at Washington University and then he and Eleanor moved to Oregon in 1948.

He owned and operated the Ogle County Abstract Office which later became Ogle County Title Insurance Company.

He formed a law partnership with Gerald Garard in 1967 and added David Smith to the firm in 1973. In 1977, the firm became Garard, Moehle, & Smith.

Moehle was active in the Oregon United Methodist Church, the Oregon School District, Rotary, Masons, and the Oregon Golf Club. 

He was recognized for serving 40 years on the Village of Progress board of directors. 

Survivors include sons, John Stephen (Claire) Moehle,Vernon Hills, and Dan (Cindy) Moehle, Germantown, Tenn.; grandsons, Stephen, St. Louis, Mo., and Robert, Seattle, Wash.; brother, Edward (Carol) Moehle, Pekin; and many nieces, nephews,  great-nieces, and great-nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor on April 25, 2012; daughter-in-law, Diane; and brothers, Fred, Walter, and Melvin.

Memorial services for both Eleanor and Bob have been held.

William R. Nash
William R. Nash
William Nash was a U.S. Army World War II veteran, a two-term Winnebago County state’s attorney, a circuit judge, an Illinois Appellate Court judge and an avid golfer who got his first hole-in-one at the age of 80.

To Steve Nash, he was simply Dad.

“We were very blessed that we had our dad for such an advanced age,” Steve Nash said Monday, speaking for his brother, Robert, and sister, Patricia Cortright. “We were a bit spoiled having him. He was truly devoted to us kids. We always could count on him.”

William R. Nash of Rockford died Friday at home. He was 87.

Nash was born and raised in Rockford and spent two years in Gen. George S. Patton’s tank forces in World War II. He was wounded in combat in northern France, for which he received the Purple Heart.

Nash served two terms as Winnebago County state’s attorney before being elected circuit judge from 1968 to 1977. He served on the Illinois Appellate Court from 1977 to 1989.

Read the full obituary in the Rockford Register Star

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride
Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride
The Illinois Bar Foundation will host a Rock Island County Fellows Chapter Reception honoring Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride. Chief Justice Kilbride will be presented with the Rock Island County Beacon of the Profession Award.

This event will be held on Thursday, May 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Abbey Station, 3031 Fifth Avenue, Rock Island, Illinois. For more information, please call the IBF at 312.726.6072.

 

Thomas R. Cross
Thomas R. Cross
Thomas R. Cross joined Holmstrom & Kennedy as an associate attorney. The Naperville native graduated magna cum laude in May 2011 from the University of Iowa College of Law and earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 2008 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He was admitted to the Illinois State Bar law year and is a member of the Winnebago County and Illinois State Bar Associations. His concentration is business transactions, commercial litigation and employment and labor law. The firm is at 800 N. Church St., Rockford and can be reached at (815) 962-7071.

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride of the Illinois Supreme Court and Chief Judge Val Gunnarsson of the 15th Judicial Circuit in northwestern Illinois announced on Wednesday that news cameras will be allowed in trial courts in five additional Illinois counties under a pilot program approved by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The counties that make up the 15th circuit are Carroll, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle and Stephenson. They join Madison County in the Third Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County in the 21st Judicial Circuit and Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Whiteside counties in the 14th Judicial Circuit where extended media coverage was approved earlier by the Supreme Court.

“Chief Judge Gunnarsson’s application and approval by the Supreme Court to allow cameras in the trial courtrooms in the 15th Circuit bring more geographical diversity to the pilot project for electronic coverage approved earlier this year,” said Chief Justice Kilbride. “The 15th Circuit is a more rural area, and will provide a host of smaller newspaper and radio stations with the opportunity to provide their readers and listeners with picture and audio coverage.

“As the pilot project goes forward, I am confident that Chief Judge Gunnarsson and all the judges in the 15th Circuit will carefully balance the goals of greater openness and access to the courts while ensuring the constitutional guarantees of a fair trial and a fair proceeding.”

Approval of the 15th Circuit extends the pilot project to the Second Judicial District.

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Monday that the Hon. Robert T. Hanson has been appointed as Circuit Judge for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, at Large. The position was previously held by the Hon. Stephen C. Pemberton, who is retiring from judicial office on July 3, 2012.