Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of St. Clair County Circuit Judge Bob LeChien, who passed away early yesterday after complications from surgery.
I got to know Judge LeChien over the course of a year. He presided over a jury trial that I handled nearly three years ago, involving my client, a nine-year-old girl, who was sexually abused by a day care owner. My client’s parents and their extended family were devastated. The case was among the more delicate I’ve handled in my legal career.
Given the nature of the situation, it was comforting to see Judge LeChien in action. He made every reasonable effort to make sure the process was as painless as possible. As a result, my clients were willing to provide uncomfortable but important testimony. Ultimately, it made the difference when it came time for the jury verdict.
This morning, as I stumbled upon LeChien’s obituary, I was reminded of his spirit and professionalism. He knew that at the heart of the case was a family suffering from trauma, betrayal, and even guilt. He didn’t show favoritism, but he understood what was at stake. Not all judges have that kind of talent.