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  • Retired judge clarifies confusing judicial ballot

  • Retired judge clarifies confusing judicial ballot

    By Patrick J. Hitpas,

    Circuit Judge (Ret.)

    The Fourth Judicial Circuit will have two contested elections for circuit judge vacancies in the November 4, 2014, general election. The Fourth Judicial Circuit is comprised of the nine Illinois counties of Clay, Christian, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, Montgomery and Shelby. There are twelve circuit judges who serve in the Fourth Circuit. The circuit judges are elected by the voters. Each of the nine counties elects a Resident Circuit Judge who is elected by the voters of that county. The Fourth Circuit has three at-large circuit judges who are elected by the voters of all nine counties. Circuit judges in Illinois are elected to six-year terms. After serving a six year term the voters of the entire circuit vote whether the judge should be retained for another six year term. The judges must receive 60% "yes" votes to be retained in office.

    In addition to the circuit judges who serve the Fourth Circuit there are also seven associate judges in the circuit. The associate judges are appointed by the circuit judges for four-year terms. To be retained in office associate judges must receive a 60% affirmative vote of the circuit judges.

    Other than the method of selection, the duties of the associate judges are somewhat different from that of the circuit judges. Circuit judges are eligible to be elected Chief Judge of the circuit. Resident Circuit Judges are responsible for working with the County Board to establish a budget for the judiciary and court-related expenses. They are also charged with the duty of nominating a public defender for the county and reviewing the performance of the county's probation officer.

    Both resident circuit judges and at-large circuit judges vote on issues affecting the circuit including court rules, major purchases and public defender appointments. Associate judges do not vote on matters affecting the circuit.

    One of the contested circuit judge elections on November 4 is an election to fill the vacancy of Judge Dennis Middendorff, Resident Circuit Judge of Clinton County, who is retiring as a judge effective December 2014. The candidates for the judgeship are Associate Judge William Becker of Breese and Attorney Stanley Brandmeyer of New Baden. Only the voters of Clinton County will decide this contest.

    The other election is to fill the vacancy of Judge Sherri L.E. Tungate who has retired from an at-large circuit judgeship. The candidates for this judgeship are Associate Judge Ericka Sanders of Centralia and Attorney Martin Siemer of Effingham. The voters of all nine counties of the Fourth Circuit will decide this contest.

    Information regarding Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Advisory Polls regarding the candidates may be found at The website for the Fourth Judicial Circuit is

    Look to God this election

    In recent weeks the agenda of Election 2014 has taken on new concerns. There are local, state, and national issues/programs needing conscientious attention and wise decisions as well as appropriate funding.

    Additionally, the ISIS Driven Brutality Program promoting their Sharia Law is evidenced in Mosul, Iraq. ISIS uses "the Arabic letter nun (pronounced "noon", the first letter of Nasarani, or Nazarene, to refer to Christians. ISIS told them to convert, pay a tax, leave the city or face the sword." [Editorial Council/Christian Chronicle, 9/03/2014] This ISIS Program is well funded with motivated support.

    While ISIS denigrates and/or deaths the Nazarene, Charles Gabriel, hailing from Wilton, Iowa, in the nineteenth century wrote, "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus, The Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean ". Quite contrary to the ISIS Program, Jesus The Nazarene's Highway To Heaven Program is fully funded, currently open to every person (ISIS-minded or not) and is in need of no revision. If you would like an Election 2014 campaign flyer for The Nazarene's Highway To Heaven Program check out John 5:24 in The Nazarene's Program manual, The BIBLE.

    May each of us cast our meaningfully-decided vote this Election 2014. This free vote is presently fully available courtesy the blood, sweat, and tears of past and present faithful establishers, protectors, and guardians of our United States of America.

    Perhaps a refreshing of Red Skelton's "Pledge of Allegiance" aired January 14, 1969, may reinforce our vote to keep America "one nation, under GOD, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." (GOOGLE it.)

    Milton Luginbuhl

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