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Chambers named to bench; will replace retiring Judge Freitag

Chambers named to bench; will replace retiring Judge Freitag

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BLOOMINGTON — McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers on Monday was named a circuit judge, filling the vacancy created with the upcoming retirement of Judge Robert Freitag.

The appointment was made by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman.

Freitag is retiring, effective July 6. Chambers' appointment is effective Aug. 21 with the term ending Dec. 7, 2020 when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2020 election, the high court said in a statement.

Garman said Chambers has been a "distinguished state's attorney in McLean County, has a wide variety of experience and is highly recommended by both the bench and bar." 

Garman recommended the appointment to the full court following a review of applicants by a seven-person screening committee consisting of four non-lawyers and three lawyers who reside in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. 

After the Supreme Court announcement, Chambers said the new appointment brings with it a mix of emotions.

"If you had asked me a year ago, I would have had no intention of seeking a judicial position. But with so much significant turnover of long-term judges, the circumstances were right," said Chambers.

The move from prosecutor to judge will allow Chambers to serve the justice system in a different capacity, he said. His experience as a veteran member of the McLean County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council could be part of his new role. 

"If asked to serve on the CJCC, I will embrace that," he said.

Chambers has been state's attorney since 2012, having also served as an assistant prosecutor. Prior to his election, Chambers was in private practice.  

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and his law degree from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The McLean County Board will name a replacement to serve as state's attorney for the remainder of Chambers' term. 

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