Crime & Courts

Local judge to fill vacancy left by retiring circuit judge Sharon Prather

McHenry County Judge Mark Gerhardt
McHenry County Judge Mark Gerhardt

McHenry County Associate Judge Mark Gerhardt will fill the vacancy left by longtime circuit judge Sharon Prather, who will retire July 12.

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Gerhardt to fill Prather’s vacancy effective July 15, according to a news release. The appointment will end on Dec. 7, 2020, at which point Gerhardt would need to run for re-election to retain his judicial seat.

Now heading into retirement after about 26 years of judgeship, Prather was a presiding judge of McHenry County from 2004 to 2006. She worked as a civil attorney before associate judge appointment in 1992 and was elected as a circuit judge in 1996.

Gerhardt, who lives in Lakewood with his wife and children, was first appointed as an associate judge on March 28, 2011. Since then, he has served both in the family and criminal divisions, according to the release.

Gerhardt received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1990 and his law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1995, according to the release. He has nine years of experience as an assistant state’s attorney in both Cook and McHenry counties, and also practiced as an associate attorney for the law firms of Gummerson and Rausch and Wiejaczka Law.

Gerhardt previously taught criminology at Trinity International University until 2013 and is a member and past president of the McHenry County Bar Association, where he also has served on the Board of Governors, according to the release.

Additionally, Gerhardt is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Judges Association.

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