Kennedy appointed to 17th Judicial Circuit Court

The Illinois Supreme Court recently announced the appointment of Associate Judge J. Todd Kennedy to fill a converted Circuit Court judgeship that will be created by the retirement of Associate Judge Angus More in the 17th Judicial Circuit.

More is retiring effective Sept. 30, and under legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law, his associate judge seat converts to a Circuit Court seat once it is vacant.

The appointment of Kennedy, an experienced judge who has presided over major criminal and civil litigation for 17 years, is effective Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 1, 2008.

“I am very grateful to the Illinois Supreme Court, and especially to Chief Justice Robert Thomas, for moving expeditiously in making this appointment,” said Judge Kathryn E. Zenoff, chief judge of the 17th Circuit. “The 17th Judicial Circuit is operating under extremely heavy caseloads and conditions of jail overcrowding. Allowing us to fill the position temporarily with a senior, experienced jurist will enable us to continue to try to move our growing caseloads efficiently and to serve the public effectively.

“Judge More’s service to the Circuit has been invaluable,” Zenoff said. “His leadership will be greatly missed.”

Kennedy, an associate judge since April 1989, has served as presiding associate judge in the Circuit for four years, responsible for scheduling high-volume court rooms. He initiated victim impact panels for DUI cases, played a key role in organizing an ongoing small claims mediation program, and completed judicial seminars established by the Supreme Court, on Capital Cases in 2002, 2004 and 2006. He is Presiding Judge of the Probate and Small Claims divisions.

“I am very honored to be given the opportunity by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve the community in this important position,” Kennedy said. “I will do my utmost to fulfill all my new judicial responsibilities and to ensure that all litigants before me receive fair and impartial justice.”

With termination of his appointment in 2008, Kennedy said he will retire from the bench at that time.

Under legislation, More’s resignation triggers the conversion of his associate judge position to that of a resident circuit judge in the First Subcircuit. With Kennedy’s intention to retire, candidates will vie for election to the position in the 2008 election cycle.

It is anticipated that Kennedy’s associate judge position will be filled in a timely manner and allow the circuit to administer the courts at full capacity.

Kennedy received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1972 after serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Before he became an associate judge, he served as an assistant state’s attorney in Winnebago County and as a partner in the Rockford law firm of Reno Zahm.

The 17th Judicial Circuit is composed of Winnebago and Boone counties.

From the Aug. 16-22, 2006, issue

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