EDWARDSVILLE — After a long and rewarding legal career, Associate Judge Dean E. Sweet is retiring from the Third Judicial Circuit.
Sweet, 67, of Wood River, was appointed to his position about four years ago.
He started his legal career in 1975, when he was employed as a law student with the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. He received his law license from the Illinois Supreme Court in 1976.
Sweet, who was law partners with Thomas W. Holland, Arthur L. Greenwood and Joseph J. Barr during his years of private practice, said he found representing units of local government to be the most satisfying part of his career. He represented Madison County, St. Louis Regional Airport, Lewis and Clark Community College and Madison County Transit, among others.
“They did interesting projects and I was able to assist them and help them get the projects done,” Sweet said. “That was my specialty.”
Sweet’s focus as a judge was family law, presiding over marriage dissolutions, orders of protection, custody matters and adoptions.
“The weddings and the adoptions are the most positive part of that,” he said.
Sweet said he enjoyed being a member of the RiverBend Growth Association, being active in the Boy Scouts and serving on the Roxana School Board.
“I am proud to have served on the Roxana School Board,” Sweet wrote in a March 17 retirement letter to Chief Judge David A. Hylla. “At a time when information was wanting and prejudice was high, that School Board had the courage to admit and accept a student diagnosed with AIDS after other school districts had rejected that child. “
The circuit judges will appoint Sweet’s replacement. He will retire Saturday, May 31.
Sweet plans to spend more time with his wife, Judy, their two children and three grandchildren.
“I’m a lucky guy. I got to practice law a lot of years and work with a lot of good people, and I’ve enjoyed my time on the bench,” Sweet said. “I’m looking forward to enjoying my retirement.”