PEORIA — The annual change of judicial assignments for 2014 has new judges in several Peoria courtrooms and a new judge to preside over the three northern counties in the 10th Circuit.
The biggest change is the rotation of Judge Steve Kouri into the role of chief judge, which handles the administrative duties of the entire 10th Circuit, which comprises Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties. He takes over for Judge Michael Brandt, who has been chief judge since 2011.
Brandt will now move across the river to Tazewell County, where he will handle that county's felony courtroom. Kouri moves out of one of the two felony courtrooms in Peoria County and takes over one of Peoria's civil courtrooms.
Replacing him is Judge Kevin Lyons. Judge David Brown will preside over the other felony courtroom.
Each year, the judges undergo assignment changes. Such changes tend not to reflect upon the judge. Rather, the changes can give both the attorneys and judges a change of pace.
Other changes on the Peoria side of the Illinois River include Judge Kirk Schoenbein moving from juvenile abuse and neglect court to take over traffic court. Kevin Galley leaves Pekin's felony courtroom and takes over Peoria County's probate and equity courtroom.
Judge Scott Shore moves from being the judge in the three less populated northern counties to take over Peoria County's other civil courtroom, while Tom Keith, a resident of Stark County, takes the northern circuit role.
Judge John Vespa leaves one of Peoria County's domestic relations courtrooms and slides down the hallway to become the misdemeanor court judge. Judge Kate Gorman remains in the other domestic relations courtroom. Joining her in the other courtroom will be Judge Jerelyn Maher.
Judge Kim Kelley remains in DUI court as well as handling Peoria County's drug court and veterans court. Judge Lisa Wilson will continue to handle orders of protection, paternity, small claims, mental health and other civil matters in Peoria County.
In Peoria County's two juvenile courtrooms are Judges Albert Purham, Jr. and David Dubicki.
Judge Paul Gilfillan remains the chief judge in Tazewell County and will preside over the county's probate and equity court, while Judge Richard McCoy will preside over Pekin's domestic relations courtroom.
Judge Mark Gilles will preside over Tazewell County's misdemeanor and juvenile court, while Judge Michael Risinger will be in civil court. Judge Timothy Cusack will preside over the county's traffic courtroom.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.