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Illinois Supreme Court appoints Canton attorney as Circuit Judge in Ninth Judicial Circuit

Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Canton attorney Bruce C. Beal as a Resident Circuit Judge in Fulton County in the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Beal was appointed by the Court to fill the vacancy created by Judge William C. Davis, who retired on September 5, 2016. His appointment takes effect October 17, 2016, and will terminate on December 3, 2018, when the position is filled by the 2018 General Election.

Justice Kilbride recommended Mr. Beal's appointment to the Supreme Court after an extensive application, evaluation, and interview process that included the formation of a special judicial screening committee.

"I am extremely grateful for the kind words and support I have received throughout this process and most grateful for the support of my staff," Mr. Beal said. "I embrace and look forward to the new challenge. "I am extremely proud to be a member of the Illinois judiciary and look forward to serving in the Ninth Judicial Circuit."

Mr. Beal will join the judiciary after practicing law for 40 years in Fulton County most recently at the Beal Law Office in Canton. Prior to his solo practice, Mr. Beal was a partner at Claudon, Kost, Beal, Walters & Lane engaging in the general practice of law for over 30 years.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics in 1973 from Illinois College and earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from Western New England College of Law.

Mr. Beal, age 65, and his wife Jennifer live in Cuba. The Beals have been married for 43 years and have two adult children, Nathanial Beal and Alissa Carter. He has volunteered for and served as a board member to charitable organizations and provided pro bono legal assistance.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court has the authority to fill judicial vacancies. To fill this vacancy, Justice Kilbride opened an application process for everyone interested in the appointment. He also sought and received public comment about five applicants, including Mr. Beal.

The evaluation process included background checks by law enforcement authorities and with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, as well as a poll of attorneys in the Ninth Judicial Circuit conducted by the Illinois State Bar Association. The attorneys were surveyed on their opinions of the applicants' integrity, temperament, legal ability, management skills, and other qualifications.

Justice Kilbride also appointed an eleven-person judicial screening committee made up of representatives from the community, including non-lawyers to evaluate all the applicants. The committee was chaired by Timothy Bertschy, managing partner at Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen in Peoria.

In addition to Mr. Bertschy, the members of the committee were: Virginia Campbell, mental health professional at Bridgeway Inc.; Martha Daly, retired executive director, Fulton-Mason Crisis Center; Mike Elam, retired police chief for the City of Canton; John McCarthy, solo practitioner in Canton, Sandy Monari, business owner and past chairman of the Fulton County Board; Nancy Rabel, attorney for the City of Canton; John W. Robertson, attorney at Statham & Long LLC in Galesburg; Donald F. Rosenberry, retired plumber and project manager; Nancy Schell, partner at Froehling, Weber & Schell LLP in Canton; and Chief Judge David L. Vancil, Jr., of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit includes Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, McDonough and Warren counties.

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Morgan Yingst