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updated: 12/14/2010 9:50 AM

Lake Co. associate judge field crowded with prosecutors

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The field of candidates for the next associate judge position is crowded with assistant state's attorneys.

Seven of the 16 applicants for the position, created by the elevation of Associate Judge Daniel Shanes to circuit judge, currently make their living as prosecutors.

According to a release by Chief Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti's office, Christen Bishop, Janelle Christensen, Ari Fisz, Patricia Fix, Reginald Matthews, George Pappas and Mary Stanton have all tossed their hats into the ring.

Other attorneys who have applied for the job are Nandia Black, Marin Blumenthal, David DeRose, Elizabeth Rochford, Joann Fratianni-Atsaves, Christopher Kennedy, James Simonian, Perry Smith and Robert Wilson.

Rossetti said the candidates are being evaluated by the Lake County Bar Association and all will be interviewed by the sitting circuit judges in the county.

A ballot with the names of the top two candidates chosen by the circuit judges will be prepared, and the person who will fill the position will be chosen by vote of the circuit judges.

Rossetti said she hopes the position will be filled before the end of the year.

Judge shuffle

Some of the assignments for judges in the Waukegan courthouse will change at the first of the year.

Rossetti said last week that Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes will take the court call of Associate Judge Christopher Stride, and Stride will become a backup judge in the felony division.

Circuit Judge Jorge Ortiz will move from the family law division to fill the vacancy in the civil law division that was created by the retirement of Circuit Judge Raymond McKoski.

Circuit Judge Jay Ukena, already assigned to family law, will replace Ortiz as presiding judge in that division, Rossetti said, while Associate Judge Donna-Jo Vorderstrasse will take over the cases currently assigned to Ortiz.

Newly elected Circuit Judge Mark Levitt is in a training program for new judges and will not be assigned a permanent position until sometime after Jan. 1, Rossetti said.

Heard in the hallway

Occupational exemptions from jury service no longer exist. According to the Lake County Jury Commission, judges, lawyers, clergy, law enforcement personnel and gasp members of the media are eligible to serve as jurors.