Judge Hylla’s retirement changes election picture in Madison County


Edwardsville, IL – The announced retirement of Illinois 3rd Circuit Judge Dave Hylla has set up a scramble of candidates in upcoming elections for judge and state’s attorney.

Hylla will retire next November, leaving that position open for the coming year’s elections. State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, a Democrat and Labor supporter, had been planning to run for re-election but instead will seek the party nomination to replace Hylla as circuit judge. No other Democratic candidates have announced. The circuit consists of Madison and Bond counties.

With Gibbons’ decision, his current chief assistant, Crystal Uhe, and his former chief assistant, Susan Jensen, both are seeking the Democratic nomination for state’s attorney.

Hylla has been a circuit judge since 2006. The East St. Louis native attended SIUE and St. Louis University Law School and worked with the Pratt & Callis firm from 1988 to 2000 as an associate and then a partner. He worked at Bilbrey & Hylla until his election as judge. He has served as city attorney for Madison and Venice, as a special public defender and represented Service Employees International Local 98, in addition to being on many state judicial groups and committees.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of Madison County, the Third Judicial Circuit and the state of Illinois,” Hylla said. “I greatly appreciate the support of the people who elected me in 2006 and voted to retain me in 2012 and 2018. I am retiring at this time so the voters can choose my successor in 2020.”

In 2013 he was elected chief judge of the Third Judicial Circuit and remained in that role until this past June, when Bill Mudge took it over.

As chief judge, Hylla brought full-time law clerks to the county, expanded the Legal Self-Help Center by adding staff, renovated the law library and created a partnership with SIUE to bring JusticeCorps volunteers to Madison County.

Hylla received the NAACP Civic Service Award in 2010, New Opportunities’ Community Service Award in 2017 and Head Start’s Circle of Care Award in 2019.

“I tried to do many things during my judicial career but hope to be remembered most as a judge who was fair,” he said.

Gibbons, an Edwardsville native, has been state’s attorney since being appointed to the position in 2010 to complete two years left on the term of Mudge, who was elected circuit judge that year. Gibbons was then elected to four-year terms in 2012 and 2016.

Republicans have found a potential candidate for circuit judge, Amy Maher, a 23-year assistant state’s attorney in Madison County who has worked for Catholic Charities since 2013.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here