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New judges selected in Kendall-DeKalb circuit

Kendall County Judge Bradley Waller

Kendall County Judge Bradley Waller

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Updated: December 24, 2012 2:00PM

There will soon be two new judges in the new 23rd Judicial Circuit.

Stephen Krentz of Plano and Bradley Waller of DeKalb were elected as associate judges in the circuit — formed earlier this month — which covers Kendall and DeKalb counties.

Both men will be sworn in Jan. 4. Krentz will initially be assigned to DeKalb County and Waller will be in Kendall County to avoid conflicts with cases there that they were involved in as attorneys.

Tim McCann, chief judge for the 23rd Circuit, said both men stood out for the variety of legal work they’ve done in private practice. It’s likely they will handle a variety of criminal and civil cases once they take the bench, McCann said.

“We had a very good group of candidates,” McCann said. “I think they’ll both be great judges.”

Waller earned both his undergraduate and law degree from Northern Illinois University. While at Northern, Waller also played shooting guard for the Huskies alongside West Aurora grad (and future NBA player) Kenny Battle.

Waller has worked in law for 24 years and said over the last four years, he has considered a move to the bench. He works for Klein, Stoddard, Buck, Waller & Lewis, LLC in Sycamore. His practice has been focused on bankruptcy, creditor’s rights and commercial transactions, but he’s also handled a variety of corporate transactions.

“I truly am humbled and I consider it an honor to serve the new 23rd,” Waller said.

Krentz, 47, received his law degree in 1990 from Valparaiso University, the same school he attended for undergraduate work. Krentz is working with Krentz & Salfisberg, PC in Plano. Krentz joined his father’s law practice in 1990.

“I looked forward to going to work every day in my law career,” he said. “It’s going to be very hard to leave my practice but, at this point, I’m ready for the next challenge.”

Krentz said he has practiced in virtually every kind of civil and criminal courtroom during his career. During that time, he has found ways to connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds, he said.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for people and hopefully I will be able to carry that over to the bench,” he said. “I really do consider this a tremendous honor.”

Although there are two new judges, only one judicial seat has been added to the circuit. Former Kendall County State’s Attorney Melissa Barnhart and former DeKalb County State’s Attorney Ron Matekaitis were selected to move from associate to circuit judges. Barnhart fills a new position; Matekaitis fills a retirement. Circuit judges are appointed and participate in writing circuit rules; associate judges are elected by the circuit judges.

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