Recently retired Whiteside County judge joins Sterling-based law firm

Stanley B. Steines

STERLING – It wasn’t a particularly long retirement for former 14th Judicial Circuit Judge Stanley B. Steines.

Steines, whose last day on the bench in Morrison was Dec. 31, has joined the Sterling-based law firm Mertes & Mertes, managing partner James W. Mertes announced Wednesday.

“The transition from serving on the bench to private practice is thrilling for me,” Steines said in a statement. “I am proud to be joining such a highly regarded law firm.”

Steines, a judge for 17 years, followed the same path as former Whiteside County State’s Attorney Gary L. Spencer, 74, who has been with the firm for nine years, and who was the county’s top prosecutor for 31½ years before stepping down in December 2012.

Before being elected circuit judge in 2006, Steines, 59, was a Whiteside County assistant state’s attorney under Spencer.

“It is an incredibly high honor that Judge Steines has joined our firm,” Mertes said in the statement. “Judge Steines has a tremendous reputation for outstanding legal knowledge, unyielding fairness and extraordinarily high ethical standards. We are so very fortunate now to be working with him.”

Steines will be the firm’s seventh attorney, joining Mertes, Spencer, Magen J. Mertes, Cristina M. Buskohl, Derek Bushman and Mitchell R. Johnston at the office at Mertes Center, 4015 E. Lincolnway.

Among other legal matters, the firm handles criminal defense, driving under the influence and traffic violations, medical malpractice, personal injury, and divorce and custody cases throughout the Sauk Valley.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Democrat James F. Heuerman, 56, of Sterling, to replace Steines.

Heuerman was seated Jan. 2.

The 14th Circuit serves Whiteside, Henry, Mercer and Rock Island counties.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.