Lloyd A. Karmeier is the 120th Chief Justice of the State of Illinois. He was unanimously elected to that position by his fellow justices in 2016 and, as Chief Justice, is the chief administrative officer of a unified court system with supervisory authority over the more than 900 judges. Chief Justice Karmeier was first elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2004 and then retained by the voters for a second term in 2014. He serves as the Supreme Court’s liaison to the state’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board, and the Supreme Court’s committee on jury instructions in criminal cases. Prior to his election as Chief Justice, he also held the post of Chairperson of the Illinois Courts Commission, an independent body established under the Illinois Constitution to hear and decide cases alleging that a judge has committed misconduct or is incapacitated.
Chief Justice Karmeier clerked for former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Byron O. House from 1964 to 1968, served as state’s attorney of Washington County from 1968 to 1972, and clerked for former U.S. District Court Judge James L. Foreman from 1972 to 1973. He was engaged in the general practice of law with the firm of Hohlt, House, DeMoss & Johnson from 1964 to 1986 and was resident Circuit Judge of Washington County from 1986 to 2004. Chief Justice Karmeier is a member of the Illinois Judges Association and the Washington County, St. Clair County, East St. Louis and Illinois State Bar Associations. He served as a member of the Assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association from 1996 to 2002, and as chair of its Bench and Bar Section Council. He is former a member of the Southern Illinois American Inn of Court and served as President of that group’s Executive Committee from 2003 to 2007. Chief Justice Karmeier regularly lectures at continuing legal education programs and contributes articles to the ISBA Bench and Bar Section Council Newsletter. He was among the recipients of the Illinois Judges Association’s Harold Sullivan Award in 2010 and received the Joseph Bartylak Award from the Lawyers’ Assistance Program in 2015. In 2016, Chicago Lawyer Magazine recognized him as its Person of the Year and the Illinois Judges Association awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award. Chief Justice Karmeier and his wife, Mary, reside in Nashville, Illinois. They have two children and six grandchildren.