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Central Illinois

Charles Palmer
Charles Palmer
Charles L. "Charlie" Palmer, 84, of Savoy passed away at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana on Wednesday morning (Jan. 13, 2016) with his family by his side.

Charlie was born on May 18, 1931, to Walter and Gertrude June (McKinley) Palmer in Champaign. He was married to Barbara Palmer from 1957 to 1974. He married Roberta "Bobbie" Palmer on June 9, 1975, in Champaign.

Charlie, a 1957 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, practiced in Champaign County for 53 years. The majority of his career was in private practice at Franklin, Flynn & Palmer (now Flynn, Palmer, Tague & Jacobson). Previously he served as assistant state's attorney and assistant city attorney for Champaign as well as interim public defender for Champaign County and outside counsel for the University of Illinois.

Alicia Washington
Alicia Washington
The Tenth Judicial Circuit judges have voted to select Alicia N. Washington as an associate judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Washington is a lifelong resident of Peoria. She received her undergraduate degree in 1995 from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, Master's Degree in 1997 from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and her Juris Doctor in 2001 from Michigan State University College of Law in Lansing, MI. Ms. Washington is currently an attorney with the Janssen Law Center. Prior to joining the Janssen Law Center, she worked as a staff attorney for Prairie State Legal Services, an organization that offers free legal services for low-income persons and senior citizens.

The swearing in for Ms. Washington will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016 at 3 p.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse. Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride will preside.

The national law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP announced that Judge Richard E. Eagleton has retired from private practice. Judge Eagleton, formerly of counsel in Hinshaw's Government Practice Group, joined the firm in 1990 and practiced with Hinshaw until his retirement.

Judge Eagleton previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Peoria from 1961–1964 and the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois from 1965–1969. He is the only Peorian to have served as a U.S. Attorney. After that, he was a circuit court judge in Illinois' 10th Judicial Circuit for 20 years, including three years as chief judge. His long and storied career also includes 34 years of service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, including two years as Chief Judge of the Naval Reserve Trial Judiciary. Judge Eagleton retired from military service as a captain in the JAG Corps.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman (left) swore-in Springfield attorney Jennifer M. Ascher as a Sangamon County Associate Judge on Monday. Ms. Ascher was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the impending retirement of Associate Judge Steven H. Nardulli.

Ascher received her undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Juris Doctor in 2003 from Saint Louis University School of Law. She is currently a partner at Sorling Northrup, where she has practiced family law nearly exclusively for the past 12 years. During her tenure, she represented clients in Sangamon County and surrounding counties. She is a Springfield native where she resides with her family.

Ms. Ascher previously served as president of the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association and the Sangamon County Bar Association.

The law firm of Denby, Meno, Bloomer & Denby is pleased to announce that Nicole K. Thomas has joined the firm as an associate attorney.

Nicole is a graduate of Carlinville High School and obtained her undergraduate degree from SIU Carbondale and law degree from St. Louis University. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Macoupin County Bar Association, and is available for client appointments in the firm's Carlinville and Staunton offices.

Fourth Circuit Judge Ronald Spears (left) was honored at a retirement party Dec. 18 in Taylorville. Judge Spears retired after 22 years of service in Christian County. ISBA Past President J. Timothy Eaton (right), Judge Spears' law school roommate, spoke in his honor.

When Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman asked William McCleery to speak at the 2015 Admission Ceremony for the Fourth Judicial District in Springfield on November 6, he humbly accepted. Among the fifty-two lawyers to be sworn in from the fourth district, was his son, Daniel McCleery. William said “I was honored to address this talented group of young men and women and take great pride knowing Daniel was one of them.”

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for an At-Large Circuit Court vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the resignation of Judge William O. Mays, Jr., effective January 15, 2016. Judge Mays has been an At-Large Circuit Judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit since 2006.

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment. The application process will lead to the final Court approval. Applicants will undergo an evaluation and screening process.

Notice of the vacancy has been posted in the courthouses throughout the Circuit. The application form and instructions may be obtained by visiting the Illinois Supreme Court's website at and following the instructions in the "Latest News" scroller announcing the Eighth Judicial Circuit vacancy.

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that effective January 1, 2016, Quincy attorney James A. Rapp will chair the Supreme Court’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board.

The Supreme Court adopted minimum continuing education requirements for Illinois attorneys in September, 2005. The board is composed of nine members including attorneys, judges, and a non-lawyer member. Rapp is a charter member of the governing board and has served as Vice Chair and on the board’s rules and regulations as well as finance committees. There are approximately 106,000 attorneys in Illinois subject to the requirements.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith
Thomas R. Smith, 76, of Danville passed away at home on Monday (Nov. 23, 2015).

Thomas was born Aug. 6, 1939, to Kenneth and Naydean (Phillips) Smith. He married Nancy (Underwood) Nixon on June 6, 1975; she survives.

Also surviving are a stepdaughter, Melissa (Matthew) Muirhead of Danville; his children, Kenneth Smith of Milwaukee, Thomas Smith of Zionsville, Ind., Melinda Smith of Zionsville, Michele (Mark) Jones of Monrovia, Ind.; and eight grandchildren, including a very special grandson, Grant Thomas Muirhead.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Jack Smith.

As a youth, he was active in Boy Scout of America, earning his Eagle Scout badge and representing his council several times in both national and international gatherings. He was a member of the Danville Jaycees, serving a term as president. He was an avid sports fan, especially Illini sports and the Indianapolis Colts.

Thomas graduated from Danville High School in 1957, DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind. where he was a member of the golf team in 1961, and the University Of Illinois College Of Law in 1964.

He practiced law in Danville for 50 years and was a partner in the law firm of Acton & Snyder. Thomas was also a member of both the Illinois and Indiana State Bar Associations, as well as the Vermilion County Bar Association.