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County’s three newest judges take the bench

Elizabeth Rochford Lake Forest (right) sits with her husbMichael Striedl before she is sworn as an Associate Judge Nineteenth Judicial

Elizabeth Rochford of Lake Forest (right) sits with her husband Michael Striedl before she is sworn in as an Associate Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Thursday during an instillation ceremony at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan. Also sworn in was Patricia Fix of Gurnee as a circuit judge and Joseph Salvi of Hawthorn Woods as an associate judge. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 27, 2013 2:12AM

Three new Lake County judges underwent their formal swearing-in ceremony before a crowded court room full of judges, family and supporters.

Circuit Judge Patricia Fix and Associate Judges Elizabeth Rochford and Joseph Salvi swore to uphold the Constitution.

“This is certainly a momentous occasion. We’re delighted to have three new judges join our ranks,” Chief Judge Fred Foreman said at the Thursday ceremony.

Fix of Gurnee is the oldest of three children. She grew up in Berwyn and worked for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for about 20 years.

“Her passion and her goal was to fight for the rights of victims,” attorney Donald Morrison said.

Fix was the founding supervisor for the first domestic violence courtroom and the founding supervisor of the cybercrimes investigation division of the State’s Attorney’s Office. She was a prosecutor who took more than 100 murder, sexual assault and other violent crime cases to trial.

Fix defeated Republican Associate Judge Luis Berrones for the Second Subcircuit judgeship by more than 700 votes. Fix was the first female Democrat elected in a subcircuit.

She came under fire shortly before elections on allegations of campaign sign theft, which Fix denied. She called the allegations the results of a “misguided supporter.”

Fix finished her last days as an assistant state’s attorney on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation into the theft allegations. State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim has turned the investigation over to Illinois Office of the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.

“We are doing an investigation of the factual allegations,” said special prosecutor Dave Neal, who is handling the investigation. He said it was too early to determine if any charges would be filed against Fix.

The investigation is ongoing, Neal said. The sign theft allegations were not discussed at the swearing-in ceremony.

“I think so many of us have learned about the democratic process,” Fix said , noting she continues to be “humbled and grateful for this opportunity.”

Rochford of Lake Forest and Salvi of Hawthorn Woods also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as judges. Rochford was selected to fill the judgeship that opened after Associate Judge Wallace Dunn retired.

Rochford was a practicing attorney for 25 years and worked as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney and had a private practice for 20 years.

“I’m genuinely overwhelmed by the enormity of it (the judgeship),” Rochford said. “It is my honor to have been appointed to (Dunn’s) vacancy.”

Salvi concentrated on criminal, traffic, family law and probate since he became a lawyer n 1991. Salvi was appointed by the elected circuit judges to fill the judgeship left open after Associate Judge Thomas Schippers was elected circuit judge.

“I will be fair, I will be honest and I will respect the lawyers and the litigants before me,” Salvi said.

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