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A Rock and Roe show in Ogle County

New 15th Circuit judge sworn in; interim state’s attorney named

OREGON – Ogle County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Rock will serve as the county's interim state's attorney until a permanent replacement is named, probably at Tuesday's board meeting, the board president said.

Rock, 46, has been the first assistant under Ben Roe since December 2010.

Monday, Roe was sworn in as a judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit.

The third-floor courtroom in the Ogle County Judicial Center where Roe will preside was filled with more than 100 county officials, co-workers family members and friends. Roe, 37, was sworn in by Chief Judge Val Gunnarsson.

"I will strive to be fair and impartial and do this job to the best of my ability and to serve justice based on the principles and values that have been instilled in me," Roe said.

The 15th Judicial Circuit includes Ogle, Lee, Carroll, Stephenson, and Jo Daviess counties.

Roe, who replaces retired Judge Michael Mallon, will serve as Ogle County's resident judge.

He was elected to his third term as state's attorney Nov. 6, and 2 days later the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him to the judgeship.

Rock was named the interim state's attorney minutes after Roe was sworn in.

Ogle County Board Chairman Kim Gouker said Rock will serve until Jan. 15, but it may end up being much longer than that.

Gouker said Jan. 4 he will recommend Rock as Roe's permanent replacement. The County Board could vote on that recommendation Tuesday.

"I appreciate the opportunity to serve the county as state's attorney," Rock said.

If approved by the board, Rock will serve only the first 2 years of Roe's 4-year term. The remaining 2 years will be up for election in November 2014.

A Poplar Grove resident, Rock said he soon will be moving to Byron with his wife and their three children.

Rock also served as an assistant state's attorney in Ogle County from 1994 to 2000. He was in private practice in Rockford until returning to the office.

Rock was one of four attorneys who applied for the state's attorney post late last year.

The County Board on Dec. 18 rejected a selection committee's recommendation of M. Thomas Suits, of Polo, for the post.

Rock, Suits, and two others, Eric Morrow and Robin Minnis, were interviewed in early December by the committee made up of Gouker, board Vice Chairman John Finfrock, of Mount Morris, and board members Greg Sparrow and Bruce McKinney, both of Rochelle, and Bill Welty, of Chana.

State law requires a county have a state's attorney at all times, and Gouker said he opted to have Rock serve in the interim until the County Board's next scheduled meeting.

"It costs us $1,400 or $1,500 every time we have a special meeting," Gouker said.

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