Retired Circuit Court Judge Joseph F. Beatty, 64, of Rock Island, died Sunday at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minn.
Judge Beatty retired from the 14th Judicial Circuit on Dec. 31, 2007, after more than 23 years on the bench. In a Jan. 8, 2008, story about his retirement, Judge Beatty said he prided himself on never shying away from tough decisions and for keeping a balanced courtroom.
"I do what the law demands," he said. "Everyone gets a fair trial, and no one gets to stack the deck.I guess as a judge, that's how you have to think."
On Monday, Chief 14th Judicial Circuit Judge Jeffrey O'Connor said Judge Beatty "was a very good judge." He said the two worked together for more than 20 years.
"He was fair, and he was thorough," Judge O'Connor said. "He called them as he saw them."
A 1966 graduate of Rock Island High School, Judge Beatty graduated from St. Ambrose University and St. Louis University Law School. After receiving his law degree, he clerked at the Missouri Court of Appeals and later worked for the St. Louis Public Defender's Office where he racked up more than 160 jury trials.
He later moved to the prosecutor's side of the courtroom and was invited to return to his native Rock Island County to work as an assistant state's attorney. He successfully ran for judge in 1983.
Retired 14th Judicial Circuit Judge Charles "Casey" Stengel on Monday was sad to learn of Judge Beatty's death.
"He was compassionate, a fair judge," Judge Stengel said. "He was quite involved in the community. He looked out for people and did the fair thing. He did a lot of civil work."
That work included writs from prisoners at the East Moline Correctional Center, tax appeals, divorces, custody cases and cases from police and fire commissions.
He also helped bring continuity to the district.
While "riding the circuit" -- or spending one month in each county -- Judge Beatty noticed juvenile offenders sometimes receive different treatment based on which judge handled their cases.Instead of having juvenile judges in Rock Island County switch on a daily basis, he and Judge John McClean worked out a three- to six-month rotation.
Upon his retirement, Judge Beatty said he enjoyed his years as a judge.
"If I had to do it again, I'd do it exactly as I did before," he said.
Services for Judge Beatty are pending at Wheelen-Pressly Funeral Home, Rock Island.
Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."