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Local

Recommendations given for new 23rd Circuit's judge positions

SYCAMORE – The Kane County Bar Association has made its recommendations for the vacancies created by judges Kurt Klein and Melissa Barnhart in the newly formed 23rd Judicial Circuit.

Of the 35 candidates interviewed, only two obtained highly recommended status by receiving at least 75 percent of the vote from the 21-member committee. Kendall County lawyer Robert D. Dore and former chief assistant in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office Jody P. Gleason topped the list.

Jan Wade, executive director of the Kane County Bar Association, said the organization assisted the new district because it just formed and did not have the resources needed to perform the interviews and evaluations. The 23rd Circuit officially formed Monday and includes Kendall and DeKalb counties, which broke away from Kane in the 16th Judicial Circuit.

Wade said her bar association would be willing to help in the future as DeKalb and Kendall county bar associations are volunteer driven with fewer resources.

“We are working closely with both bar associations,” Wade said. “Neither have staff in place and they were not prepared to handle evaluations on their own so we offered to conduct evaluations on their behalf.”

While the bar association had two highly recommended candidates, it will be the circuit judges in the 23rd Circuit who make the final decision. Wade said she did not know when that decision would be made.

The vacancies were created after Klein retired and Barnhart, an associate judge, became a circuit judge.

DeKalb County Circuit Clerk Maureen Josh said the new circuit would not have been possible without the help and blessing of the Kane County judicial officials in the 16th Circuit or the lawmakers who passed legislation.

She said she was excited for the future of the circuit and believed DeKalb and Kendall counties would be able to address their own issues more specifically and efficiently.

“It’s a wonderful and momentous occasion for us,” Josh said. “We’re going to have more ability to manage our own issues.”

DeKalb County will now have six full-time judges in its courthouse, which will prevent some of the previous backlog issues, Josh said.

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