Honorable Stephen R. Pacey (Ret.) was the Resident Circuit Judge in Ford County, Illinois, until retiring from the bench in December 2013. He had been a judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit since 1996. As the only judge regularly sitting in Ford County, Judge Pacey was assigned to and was the presiding judge of all divisions.
He has a longstanding interest in ADR, having served on the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) ADR Section Council, as well as being the Board of Governors liaison to the Council for six years. Judge Pacey was a co-founder of the Ford County Restorative Justice program in 1998 and has presented and written on restorative justice. He also completed The National Judicial College program on Civil Mediation in Reno, Nevada.
Even prior to becoming a judge, Judge Pacey had an extensive public service career. He served for five years as the Ford County Public Defender, for six years as a member of the Ford County Board and for two years as a Commissioner of the Illinois Court of Claims. He is very active in the organized bar. He was president of the Ford County Bar Association from 1991 to 1997. He has been a member of the ISBA since his 1974 admission to the bar and a member of its assembly from 1994 to 2000 and since 2004. He served on its Board of Governors from 2007 to 2013 and was Treasurer of the association for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. He has been a member of the Illinois Judges Association since 1996 and is serving a second term on its Board of Directors.
Judge Pacey received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1970 and then spent a year as a Legislative Staff Intern with the General Assembly in Springfield. He returned to the University of Illinois College of Law in 1971, graduating and being admitted to the bar in 1974. He then was in private general practice in Paxton, Illinois, for 22 years before becoming a judge.
Judge Pacey has been a presenter on a variety of topics for Illinois Judicial Conference seminars, ISBA and IICLE programs, as well as the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. In addition to hearing cases in all five counties of the 11th Judicial Circuit, he has been assigned by the Illinois Supreme Court to hear cases in the 5th Judicial Circuit Court, 21st Judicial Circuit Court and Cook County Circuit Court. Judge Pacey was inducted into the Samuel K. Gove Illinois Legislative Internship Hall of Fame in 2009.
Since August 2014, Judge Pacey has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois Law School teaching trial advocacy. In March 2017, he was appointed to the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.