PEORIA — A Tazewell County associate judge was not retained by the 10 elected judges of the 10th Circuit.
Kirk Schoenbein was one of only five associate judges statewide who were not retained for another four-year term on the bench. There are 21 judgeships within the state's 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, Stark and Putnam counties. Ten of those seats are for circuit judges who are elected by popular vote to six-year terms. The remaining 11 seats — including Schoenbein — are for associate judges who are appointed by a tally of circuit judges to serve four-year terms.
Schoenbein sat in one of Tazewell County's two civil courtrooms. His term will end June 30.
Statewide, there were five judges including two in the neighboring 9th Circuit which includes Knox, Warren, Fulton, Hancock and McDonough counties, who were not retained. The two 9th Circuit judges are Anthony W. Vaupel and Patricia A. Walton.
When reached for comment, Schoenbein, who was appointed in 2013, said he learned of the decision from Chief Judge Paul Gilfillan.
"As with the jury verdicts that I lost as an attorney, I respect the circuit judges' decision on my retention," he said in a statement. "I am indeed grateful for the 5 1/2 years they conferred upon me that rare privilege for any attorney, to decide cases and not just argue me."
Prior to the bench, Schoenbein was a state and federal prosecutor as well as a public defender for more than 20 years.
There was no word on whether Schoenbein's spot will be filled.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.