The Journal of The DuPage County Bar Association

Back Issues > Vol. 12 (1999-00)

Judicial Succession in the Eighteen Judicial Circuit
By Hon. Anthony Peccarelli

Article VI of the 1870 Illinois Constitution vested judicial powers in one Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, County Courts, Justices of the Peace, Police Magistrates and such other courts as the general assembly may provide. It divided the state into seven districts unless otherwise provided by law. The Seventh District consisted of the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kankakee and Will. From 1897 to 1958 DuPage County was part of the 16th Judicial Circuit. The statute, 705 ILCS 35/1 (formerly Chap. 37 Ill.Rev.Stat 72.1), was amended February 28, 1957, L.1957 page 29, S.B. No.3, creating the 18th Judicial Circuit to encompass all of DuPage County, the second single county circuit court in Illinois. Article VI provided for the elected office of Circuit Judge, to serve within a district, whose term of office was six years and the elected office of County Judge whose term of office was four years; it further provided that the general assembly may provide for a Probate Court and an elected Judge whose term of office was four years; and permitted the election of Justices of the Peace and Police Magistrate as may provided by law.

Article VI of the 1870 Illinois Constitution was amended in 1962, effective in 1964, which eliminated the elected offices of Probate Judge and County Judge but continued the judges in office, designated them Associate Judge and extended their term to six years.. The 1962 amendment eliminated the elected office of Justice of the Peace and Police Magistrate and created the office of Magistrate. Magistrates were appointed by the Circuit Judges to serve at the pleasure of the Chief Judge of the circuit. The Illinois Supreme Court limited the number of Magistrates to be appointed in each circuit.

The Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention proposed and Illinois adopted a new constitution in 1970 to succeed the 1870 Illinois Constitution in its entirety. The Transition Schedule for Article VI of the 1970 Illinois Constitution provided elected Associate Judges became Circuit Judges on July 1, 1971 and eliminated the office of Magistrate effective June 30, 1971. Article VI provided all Circuit Judges were subject to retention every six years; created the office of Associate Judge whose term of office was four years, to begin July 1, 1971; and provided for the appointment of Associate Judges by the Circuit Judges subject to a retention appointment every four years.

There appears no ascertainable record available, other than anecdotal, of many Justices of the Peace and Police Magistrates in office prior to 1964. Prior to January 1, 1964 there was no constitutional requirement for a judge to be a licensed attorney-at-law. The 18th Judicial Circuit Court, DuPage County, currently has fifteen elected Circuit Judges and twenty-six appointed Associate Judges.

Judges serving in the 16th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County, Illinois prior to the creation of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court, DuPage County, Illinois

1930-1953 Win G.Knoch (County Judge; Circuit Judge; Judge, U.S.District Court, Northern District of Illinois; Judge, U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals)

1940-1956 Russell W. Keeney (County Judge; Circuit Judge, 16th Circuit)

1953-1958 Mel Abrahamson (Circuit Judge, 16th Circuit)

1954-1958 William C. Atten (County Judge, DuPage County, 16th Circuit)

1955-1958 Bert E.Rathje (Probate Judge, DuPage County, 16th Circuit)

1957 William E. Hooper (Circuit Judge, 16th Circuit)

Chief Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court,
DuPage County, Illinois

1958 - 1964 Mel Abrahamson

1964 - 1972 Bert B. Rathje

1972 - 1973 LeRoy L. Rechenmacher

1973 - 1975 Alfred B. Woodward

1975 - 1979 George W. Unverzagt

1979 - 1980 William V. Hopf

1980 - 1984 Bruce R. Fawell

1984 - 1989 Carl F. J. Henninger

1989 - 1993 Anthony M. Peccarelli

1993 - 1995 Edward W. Kowal

1995 - 1999 Michael R. Galasso

1999 - Thomas B. Callum



Mel Abrahamson (Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1964)

William C. Atten (Retired)

Bert E. Rathje (Retired)

County Judge

William L. Guild (Elected County Judge 1958-60; 1962-1964; Elected Circuit Judge 1966; Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1970)

Probate Judge

Philip F. Locke (Elected Circuit Judge 1964; Retire)


William J. Bauer (Appointed U.S. District Attorney, Northern District of Illinois; Appointed U.S. District Judge, Northern District of Illinois; Appointed Judge Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals)

Associate Judge

LeRoy L. Rechenmacher (Circuit Court 1971; Assigned to the Appellate Court, 2nd District 1974)


George W. Unverzagt (Assigned Appellate Court, 2nd District 1979)

Alfred E. Woodward (Assigned Appellate Court,

2nd District 1979)

Associate Judge

Edwin L. Douglas (Circuit Court 1971; Retired)

Bruce R. Fawell (Circuit Court; Retired)


William V. Hopf (Assigned Appellate Court, 2nd District, 1990)


James B. Fitzgerald (Retired)


John J. Bowman (Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1990)

Helen C. Kinney (Retired)


John S. Teschner (Retired)

Charles R. Norgle, Sr. (Reappointed Associate Judge 1978; Elected Circuit Judge 1982; Appointed District Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois 1984)


Carl F. J. Henninger (Retired)

Robert A. Nolan (Retired)


Lewis V. Morgan, Jr. (Reappointed Associate Judge,

December 1982)


Anthony M. Peccarelli (Appointed Appellate Court,

2nd District 1993)


William B. Black (Retired)

Edward W. Kowal (Retired)

Robert D. McLaren (Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1988)


John W. Darrah


Michael R. Gallasso (Assigned Appellate Court,

2nd District 1999)

John J. Nelligan (Retired)

Robert R. Thomas (Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1994)


Bonnie M. Wheaton


Robert E. Byrne

Peter J. Dockery (Reappointed Associate Judge 1992)

Ronald B. Mehling

Robert K. Kilander


S. Lewis Rathje (Elected Appellate Court, 2nd District 1994; Appointed Illinois Supreme Court 1999)


Thomas E. Callum

Edward R. Duncan

Ann B. Jorgensen


Robert J. Anderson

Perry R. Thompson

Hollis L. Webster


George J. Bakalis

Rodney W. Equi

Kenneth Moy

Magistrates and Associate Judges in the 18 Judicial Circuit Court, DuPage County Illinois


Fred N. Banister, Sr. (Retire)

George H. Bunge (Retired)

Walter Bard Carroll (Resigned)

Wence F. Cerne (Retired)

Beryl H. Childs (Retired)

Bruce R. Fawell (Circuit Judge 1971)

Robert A. Nolan (Elected Circuit Judge 1978)

Lester P. Reiff (Retired)


James E. Fitzgerald (Appointed Circuit Judge 1975)

Marvin E. Johnson (Retired)

Jack T. Parish (Retired)


Gordon Moffett (Retired)

Edward Van de Houten, Jr. (Resigned)


George Borovic, Jr. (Deceased)


William E. Black (Appointed Circuit Judge 1984)

Richard L. Calkins (Deceased)

George B. Van Vleck (Resigned)

Blair Varnes (Retired)


Helen C. Kinney (Elected Circuit Judge 1976)


Charles R. Norgle, Sr. (Appointed Circuit Judge 1977)


Fredrick Henzi (Deceased)

Edward W. Kowal (Appointed Circuit Judge 1984)

Carl F. J. Henninger (Elected Circuit Judge 1978)

Charles W. Spencer (Retired)

Lewis V. Morgan, Jr. (Appointed Circuit Judge 1975;

Reappointed Associate Judge 1982)

John S. Teschner (Appointed Circuit Judge 1977)


Robert A. Cox (Retired)

James R. Sullivan (Resigned)

S. Keith Lewis (Retired)

Kevin P. Connelly (Retired)


Philip J. R. Equi (Retired)

Duane G. Walter (Retired)

Richard A. Lucas

S. Bruce Scidmore (Resigned)


Anthony M. Peccarelli (Elected Circuit Judge 1982; Appointed

Appellate Court, 2nd District 1993)

John J. Nelligan (Elected Circuit Judge 1988)


C. Andrew Hayton

Edmund P. Bart

Charles E. Ruth (Retired)

Robert D. McLaren (Appointed Circuit Judge 1984;

Elected Appellate Court,

2nd District 1988)

Patrick M. Coolahan (Retired)

James W. Jerz


Michael R. Galasso (Appointed Circuit Judge 1988)


Margaret O. Coffin (Retired)

Francis W. Faris (Retired)

Donald J. Hennessy (Retired)

Ronald B. Mehling (Appointed Circuit Judge 1991)

Maryellen Provenzale (Retired)


Robert E. Byrne (Appointed Circuit Judge 1991)

Thomas E. Callum (Elected Circuit Judge 1994)

Roy F. Lawrence (Retired)


Edward R. Duncan (Appointed Circuit Judge 1994)

Perry R. Thompson (Appointed Circuit Judge 1994)


Brian F. Telander (Resigned)

Bonnie M. Wheaton (Appointed Circuit Judge 1990)


Peter J. Dockery (Appointed Circuit Judge 1991; Reappointed

Associate Judge 1992)

Ann B. Jorgensen (Appointed Circuit Judge 1994)


George J. Bakalis (Elected Circuit Judge 1996)

Joseph S. Bongiorno

Eugene A. Wojcik


John T. Elsner

Carp B. Pierce

Hollis L. Webster (Appointed Circuit Judge 1995)


Robert J. Anderson (Appointed Circuit Judge 1995)

C. Stanley Austin

Michael J. Burke

Thomas C. Dudgeon

Paul Noland (Resigned)


Kenneth A. Abraham


Nicolas J. Galasso

Patrick J. Leston

Thomas J. Riggs

Kathyrn E. Cresswell

Mark W. Dwyer

Jane Hird Mitton

Kenneth W. Torluemke

Terrence M. Sheen


Elizabeth W. Sexton


John W. Demling

Kenneth L. Popejoy


William I. Ferguson

Stephen J. Culliton

History reflects other judges served DuPage County throughout time. The information that follows is taken from an historical treatise (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Munsell Publishing Company, Chicago, Page 643, 1913), anecdotal inquiry and photographic memorabilia.

Circuit Judges

George W. Brown 1890-1896

Linus C. Ruth 1904-1907

Max F. Alleben 1932-1936

Probate Judge

Edgar F. Thoma 1930-1948

Honorable Anthony M. Peccarelli (retired) was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court, 2nd Judicial District in 1993 and served through 1994. Judge Peccarelli was Chief Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court, DuPage County, Illinois for four years prior to his appointment to the Appellate Court. He joined the judiciary in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court as an Associate Judge in 1979, was elected Circuit Judge in 1982, and retained as a Circuit Judge in 1988. Prior to 1979 he was a trial attorney for 17 years.

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