After more than 15 years on the bench, Associate Circuit Judge Patricia Golden retired from the 16th Circuit earlier this week.
Golden, 62, of Dundee Township, has been a judge since 1996. Her last day was Tuesday.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t believe how fast it’s gone,” she said. “I’ve been so heartened by the very wonderful visits I’ve had by attorneys, court personnel and people I’ve worked with over the years. The retirement is very bittersweet for me.”
Golden practiced law for 22 years. She was elected as state’s attorney in Carroll County and served as Kane County’s first assistant state’s attorney. She was the founding executive director of the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, which she led from 1994 to 1996.
Aside from handling family and civil court cases, she spent about a decade handling cases in the felony division.
For 3½ years, she was the presiding judge over the Kane County Drug Rehabilitation program – a role of which she was particularly proud.
“I tried to make sure we had a good balance making sure people had their rights protected, but also were receiving very important treatments, which was really necessary,” Golden said.
She said the challenge with the drug rehabilitation program is finding a balance between sanctions for those who break the rules and incentives to ensure that participants recover and become contributing members of society. She said one of the goals of the drug rehabilitation program is to provide positive activities for drug court participants, such as an art and writing show, a family fun day and a book club.
Golden said Judge Marmarie Kostelny will take over as presiding judge.
Golden said she looks forward to spending more time with friends and family during her retirement, but she plans to stay active with the Illinois State Bar Association and hopes to continue speaking at schools about the legal ramifications of using drugs and alcohol.
“It’s been a privilege to work in the system. There are few countries in the world who have a system that is anything like ours,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful time to be able to work with a lot of great people and be able to try to make sure the law is applied properly. It’s challenging and very, very interesting.”
In a written statement, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon congratulated Golden for her “long and remarkable career.”
“She served with honor, distinction and humility both the legal community and the people of Kane County, as an assistant state’s attorney, the first director of the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, and later as a judge,” McMahon said in the statement. “Judge Golden’s commitment to the people, her sense of fairness, and her dedication to justice for all will be missed. Our best wishes to her in retirement.”