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Bishop: ‘It’s just an honor’ to be associate judge

Christen Bishop (left) is sworn as associate judge Nineteenth Judicial Circuit by Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge George Bridges Thursday Oct.

Christen Bishop (left) is sworn in as associate judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit by Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Judge George Bridges on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 11, 2012 2:02AM

Christen Bishop’s days working for Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office are over. That’s because Bishop was sworn in as the newest associate judge Thursday.

“It’s just an honor ... I look forward to taking the bench,” Bishop said.

Bishop will have to complete a three- to four-week training program in which she will observe judges in every court room before she will sit on the bench, Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti said.

Rossetti is Bishop’s mentor. Rossetti said she first met Bishop in 1995. Bishop had started working as an assistant state’s attorney.

“She was eager, aggressive. My first impression is that she was professional, poised and prepared. I knew from that point she was someone to watch,” Rossetti said.

Bishop developed into a highly skilled trial lawyer, Rossetti said.

Bishop advanced rapidly through the State’s Attorney’s Office, State’s Attorney Michael Waller said.

“I’m very proud that one of my assistants has assumed the bench. I can say I’m very confident. Christy Bishop is one of the best assistant state’s attorneys who ever worked for me,” Waller said.

Her latest assignment in the office was chief of special investigations. As chief, she supervised the Children’s Advocacy Center and tried sensitive cases.

“She understands and appreciates the justice system,” Waller said.

Bishop has prosecuted several kinds of cases, including government corruption, elderly victimization and child abuse.

She prosecuted Deerfield couple Jeffrey and Sara Hutsell, who were convicted of allowing their son’s friends to drink in their basement in 2007. Two teenagers were killed in a car crash shortly after they left the Hutsell’s home. This case led to the passage of several social host ordinances throughout the county.

The last case she tried in Lake County was the toddler murder case. Melissa Calusinski was convicted of murdering 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan at a Lincolnshire day care center in 2009.

Bishop’s experience as a prosecutor will serve her well in her judgeship, Rossetti said.

“You are now the focal point of the wheel of justice and you must keep it rolling. We believe your appointment continues the tradition of excellence,” Rossetti said.

Rossetti is one of 13 circuit judges. The majority of the circuit judges selected Bishop to serve the associate judgeship left vacant after Judge George Bridges was selected to serve as circuit judge after Circuit Judge David Hall retired from the bench.

Bishop is among 24 associate judges in Lake County. She was admitted in the Illinois Bar in 1994.

“How do I hope to be as a judge? I hope ... to be honest, ethical and fair. To be a decision-maker, a multi-tasker, to be compassionate and kind. I understand that this appointment brings tremendous opportunity and responsibility. I will not let you down,” Bishop said.

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