A new associate judge is selected in Madison County. Ben L. Beyers the Second has been picked by the Third Judicial Circuit to fill a vacant associate judgeship. Beyers fills the seat formerly held by Ellar Duff, who served Madison County for 24 years, but was not retained in a recent vote of the area's nine circuit judges. Duff was among 12 applicants for her old job.
All the other associate judges were retained, and Duff was actually the only judge in the state that did not earn retention. Each year the Illinois Bar Association rates judges in a poll, and Duff had the lowest rating in the Third Judicial Circuit. While it's not the deciding factor on the decision of the judges, Duff's also scored the lowest rating in 2003 and 2007. Circuit judges vote by secret ballot and do not typically issue reasons for their retention decisions. Duff was not re-appointed in 1999, but was subsequently re-appointed a few months later by the circuit judges. Beyers graduated from law school in 1999, and has been an assistant state's attorney for 4 1/2 years, handling felony cases.