By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Indicating he was “deeply moved” by the support shown, Mt. Vernon attorney Jerry Crisel was officially sworn in as a judge in the Second Judicial Circuit on Thursday.
The ceremony took place in Courtroom A at the Jefferson County Courthouse with Chief Judge Stephen Sawyer presiding.
Comments were made by Resident Judge Jo Beth Weber, Crisel's childhood friend and judge David Frankland, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.
One of the justices said Crisel has been involved in more murder trials than any other attorney in southeastern Illinois.
“He is honest, thoughtful and cares about people,” Sawyer offered.
Frankland said, “He's patient, dignified and professional. I have no doubt you will make a great judge.”
Also attending the ceremony were judges Joe Harrison, Barry Vaughan, Tom Tedeschi, Tom Dinn, David Overstreet and retired judge George Timberlake.
Crisel was born and raised on a small farm in Edwards County. He earned his bachelor's and law degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
He has practiced law in Albion since 1976, having been elected to two terms as Edwards County State's Attorney. He also served for many years as Jefferson County special public defender and public defender for the counties of Edwards and White.
Crisel resides in Mt. Vernon with his wife Karen, who serves as a court reporter supervisor for the Second Judicial Circuit. They have have three children: Lauren, a second year veterinary medicine student at the University of Illinois; Alex, a senior in biology at the University of Illinois; and Kyle, a junior in automotive technology at Southern Illinois University.
All were present for the swearing in, as well as brother John of Albion.
“Before honor comes humility, and I am very humbled by this support,” Crisel said, before joking, “I feel like the javelin thrower that elected to receive.”
Crisel indicated his parents were good role models and he fears the people he sees in court will not be afforded the same luxury.
"I will try to keep that in mind when I am sitting on the bench. You need to remember where you are from," Crisel said.