Supreme Court of Illinois has announce that Rule 39 of Illinois Supreme Court has been amended on April 23, 2009 and will go into effect on July 1, 2009.
Following is the new text of amended rule 39.
Rule 39. Appointment of Associate Judges
(1) The terms of all associate judges in office on June 30, 1975, shall
expire on that date and on every fourth anniversary of that date, regardless of
the date on which any judge is appointed. Notwithstanding the provisions for
conditional notices of vacancy as contained in paragraph (a)(2) of this rule, Tthe
office of an associate judge shall be vacant upon his or her death, resignation,
retirement, or removal, or upon the expiration of his or her term without his or
her reappointment. When a sitting associate judge submits in writing his or her
resignation, the chief judge of the circuit may, no sooner than 120 days before
the effective date of such resignation, cause notice of the vacancy to be given
pursuant to subpart (b) of this rule, provided that the candidate appointed to fill
the vacancy shall not take office before the effective date of such resignation.
(2) In those instances where a sitting associate judge is running unopposed
or where two or more associate judges are the only candidates opposing one
another in the general election and an associate judge vacancy therefore can be
anticipated, the Administrative Director may, upon the chief judge’s request,
approve posting of a conditional notice of vacancy not more than 30 days prior
to the general election and absent a letter of resignation from a sitting associate
judge. The conditional notice of vacancy shall clearly advise potential associate
judge candidates that the vacancy is contingent upon certification by the Illinois
Board of Elections of general election results declaring a sitting associate judge
the winner. At the close of the application process provided for in paragraph
(b)(2), the Director shall await certification of the general election results before
certifying a list of associate judge applicants to the chief judge.
(b) Filling Vacancies. Vacancies in the office of associate judge shall be filled
in the following manner:
(1) Notice of Vacancy. Upon approval of the Director of the
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, the chief judge of the circuit shall,
after forwarding a copy of the notice to the Director, cause notice to be given
to the bar of the circuit, in the same manner as notice of matters of general
interest to the bar is customarily given in the circuit, that the vacancy exists and
will be filled by the judges of the circuit. The notice of vacancy shall be given
as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 days after the accumulation of five
consecutive vacancies for which notice has not been given. If the chief judge of
the circuit fails to give notice within the time period prescribed by this provision,
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may direct the Director of the
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts to give notice of the vacancies in the
manner prescribed by this rule.
(2) Applications and Certification. Any attorney who seeks appointment
to the office of associate judge must be a United States citizen, licensed to
practice law in this state, and a resident of the unit from which he/she seeks
appointment. Applicants shall have 30 days after the notice of vacancy is given
within which to file with the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois
Courts two signed originals of an application on the form prescribed and
furnished by the Director. Applications must be received by the Director within
the 30-day period. Applications transmitted via facsimile will not be accepted.
At the close of the application process, the Director shall certify to the chief
judge a list of those applicants who have timely filed and provide a copy of
(3) Nomination. In judicial circuits having a population of more than
500,000, the chief judge of each circuit and at least two but not more than 10
additional circuit judges selected by their fellow circuit judges shall serve as a
nominating committee for candidates for appointment to the office of associate
judge of their circuit. If there are fewer than 20 circuit judges in a circuit, all of
the circuit judges may sit as a nominating committee. When one or more
vacancies in the office of associate judge are to be filled, the nominating
committee shall select from the applications filed twice as many names of
qualified candidates as there are vacancies to be filled.
(4) Distribution of Ballots and Related Materials.
(i) In judicial circuits having a population of more than 500,000, the
chief judge shall notify the Director of the names of those candidates
selected by the nominating committee and request that the Director initiate
the balloting process. Within 14 days after the chief judge’s notification,
the Director shall place the name of each candidate on a ballot in
alphabetical order. The ballot shall also contain blank spaces equal in
number to the number of vacancies to be filled, in which spaces may be
written the name of any qualified applicant whose name does not appear
on the ballot as a candidate.
(ii) In judicial circuits having a population of less than 500,000, the
chief judge shall request that the Director initiate the balloting process.
Within 14 days after the chief judge’s request, the Director shall place the
name of each candidate on a ballot in alphabetical order.
(iii) A ballot and a brief biographical synopsis of each candidate shall
be mailed to each circuit judge in the circuit. Each ballot shall also be
accompanied by a stamped, addressed return envelope, an envelope
marked “For Ballot Only,” and a signature card. Upon request, any circuit
judge may obtain a copy of the complete application of any applicant.
(5) Balloting. Each circuit judge shall complete his or her ballot by voting
for one candidate for each vacancy to be filled, enclose the ballot in the
envelope marked “For Ballot Only,” seal the envelope, sign the signature card,
and enclose that envelope and signature card in the stamped, addressed return
envelope, which shall be delivered to the Director within 14 days of the date the
ballots were distributed. The Director shall count the ballots which are
accompanied by a signed signature card, tabulate the results and certify them to
the chief judge, maintaining the secrecy of the ballots.
(6) Results of Balloting; Runoffs.
(i) In judicial circuits having a population of more than 500,000 the
candidates receiving the most votes shall be declared to be appointed to
fill the vacancies. Ties shall be decided by reballoting in the manner
provided above for the first balloting.
(ii) In judicial circuits having a population of less than 500,000 the
candidates receiving votes from a majority of the circuit judges who have
voted shall be declared to be appointed to fill the vacancies. If there are
not enough candidates receiving majorities to fill all the vacancies, the
Director shall list alphabetically on a runoff ballot the remaining
candidates, in number equal to twice the number of remaining vacancies,
who received the most votes in the first balloting (or twice that number
plus any who are tied with the candidate in the list who received the least
number of votes). The candidates receiving the most votes in the runoff
balloting shall be declared to be appointed to vacancies not filled as a
result of the first balloting. Ties shall be decided by reballoting in the
manner provided above for the first balloting.
(c) Reappointment of Associate Judges Upon Expiration of Their Terms.
(1) Request for Reappointment. An associate judge may file a request for
reappointment with the chief judge of the circuit at least three months but not
more than six months before the expiration of his or her term. At least 63 days
before the expiration of the terms of associate judges, each chief judge shall
certify to the Director the names of the associate judges in the circuit who have
(2) Distribution of Ballots. At least 40 days before the expiration of the
terms of associate judges, the Director shall prepare and distribute ballots on
which each circuit judge shall vote on the question whether each associate judge
who has requested reappointment shall be reappointed for another term. Each
ballot shall be accompanied by a stamped, addressed return envelope, an
envelope marked “For Ballot Only,” and a signature card.
(3) Balloting. Each circuit judge shall complete his or her ballot, enclose
it in the envelope marked “For Ballot Only,” seal the envelope, sign the
signature card, and enclose the sealed envelope and signature card in the
stamped, addressed return envelope, which shall be delivered to the Director
within 14 days after it was distributed. The Director shall count the ballots
which are accompanied by a signed signature card, tabulate the results and
certify them to the chief judge, maintaining the secrecy of the ballots. If three
fifths of the circuit judges voting on the question vote in favor of reappointment
of an associate judge, he or she shall be declared reappointed for another term.
(d) Definition of “Circuit Judge.” For the purposes of this rule, “circuit
judge” shall include a circuit judge elected or appointed to a term of office within a
circuit (or a unit defined by law which is smaller than the circuit), including a circuit
judge who is assigned to the Supreme or the Appellate Court (whether relieved of
judicial duties on the circuit court or not), and a circuit judge temporarily recalled
from retirement and assigned to judicial duty as a circuit judge in the circuit from
which the circuit judge had been elected, but shall not include a circuit judge who was
elected in another circuit but is temporarily assigned to a circuit which is in the
process of selecting or retaining an associate judge. A circuit judge appointed to office
during the balloting period may vote to fill associate judge vacancies in his or her
circuit if the circuit judge has been sworn in and has provided a copy of his or her
signed oath of office to the Director. The newly appointed circuit judge must
complete and deliver his or her ballot to the Director within the same 14-day period
that the ballots were distributed to the circuit judges under paragraph (b)(5). In no
instance will the 14-day period specified in paragraph (b)(5) be extended for those
circuit judges appointed to office during the balloting period.
Effective July 1, 1971; amended effective October 14, 1971; amended April 1, 1992,
effective August 1, 1992; amended December 3, 1997, effective January 1, 1998;
amended December 17, 1999, effective immediately; amended March 16, 2001,
effective immediately; amended November 27, 2002, effective immediately; amended
May 28, 2003, effective immediately; amended January 25, 2007, corrected January
26, 2007, effective February 1, 2007; amended April 23, 2009, effective July 1, 2009.
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