WILLIAMSON COUNTY — A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Judge, First Judicial Circuit Clerk of Illinois on Thursday confirmed that Judge Phillip Palmer has tendered his resignation effective September 30.
Palmer, 57, began his career in Williamson County in 1984 when he was hired as a prosecuting attorney in the Williamson County State's Attorney's Office under Charles Garnati.
Two years later, he went into private practice, where he remained until 1994, when an opening came up for associate judge.
In 2014 Palmer was elected to the first Circuit Court on November 4, 2014, for a term that expires on December 6, 2020, having garnered 69.9 percent of the vote.
Williamson County Commissioner Brent Gentry said Palmer has negotiated a difficult and stressful job with dignity and fairness for the past 24 years
“As a longtime friend, I have known him to be passionate at the bench and someone who worked every day to be fair. It has been an honor to work with him over the past 13 years as commissioner. He knew when it was time to step down and I wish him the very best,” Gentry said.
Palmer is known for his work defending and supporting the welfare of children in Williamson County, which included a stint serving as a local judge on the juvenile court docket.
“He has been a wonderful supporter of our program throughout the years and has worked tirelessly for the health and safety of the children of Williamson County,” said CASA Executive Director Nanette Evans.
Williamson County State’s Attorney Brandon Zanotti said he is sorry to see Judge Palmer go.
"But his retirement is well deserved. He is an honorable man, and has served this county admirably and fairly for many years. His wisdom will be missed in our courtroom, “ Zanotti said.
Williamson County Commissioner Ron Ellis said that the county will sorely miss the historical knowledge Palmer embodied as well as Palmer’s fair and balanced temperament.
“He has always been very fair, and that’s what you want in a judge. He was also great to work with in the county budget process, Ellis said.
Ellis said the Williamson County Board will look forward to working with his replacement and shepherding them through the budget process, which began this week.
Office of the Chief Judge, First Judicial Circuit Clerk of Illinois has issued no official word of who Palmer’s replacement will be.
Palmer is a 1977 graduate of Herrin High School. He attended SIUC, where he earned an accounting degree in 1981. He followed up with a law degree in 1984.
Palmer was not available for comment as of press time Thursday.