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Small changes after 16th Judicial Circuit split

Two counties officially split Monday from the 16th Judicial Circuit, making Kane County the sole county in the circuit.

Although the three counties are no longer part of one circuit, any noticeable changes have been minor.

Kane, DeKalb and Kendall counties used to make up the 16th Judicial Circuit. On Monday, DeKalb and Kendall counties formed the 23rd Judicial Circuit. Doug Naughton, Kane County Court administrator, said the split has been anticipated for more than two years. He said so far, the split hasn’t resulted in any drastic changes.

The only difference he has noticed is in transferring prisoners between Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties. He said the split has made the transfer process more formal.

He said one political difference people might notice is that when circuit judges run for retention during election seasons, they no longer will need to campaign in Kendall and DeKalb counties.

The three counties had been working together to lay the groundwork to allow cameras in courtrooms. Naughton said he expects that process to speed up in Kane County now that the split occurred. He said the final guidelines may differ from the rules established in Kendall and DeKalb counties because the two circuits likely will move forward independently.

Naughton said the split is the result of enormous growth in Kendall County in the past 10 years. From 2003 to 2007, Kendall County was the third fastest-growing county in the United States, and Kane County did not have the resources to address Kendall County’s needs, which is part of the reason the circuits split.

DeKalb and Kane broke off from DuPage County in the 1960s, and brought Kendall with them into the 16th Circuit.

State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said he has seen little change since the split.

“The split really has not had an impact on this office,” he said.

McMahon said he plans to meet regularly with state’s attorneys in DuPage, DeKalb and Kendall counties and keep those lines of communication open.

Some items, such as crests, need to be updated as a result of the split, but Naughton said those changes were inexpensive because all the redesign was done in-house.

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