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, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2013. There are 27 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Within a few weeks the Rock Island Barracks will contain more than 10,000 rebel prisoners, a guard of about 1,500 and a large number of officers. This should bring business to our city. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Corn was selling at 25 cents per bushel in Rock Island county, and the average price of wheat was 80 cents per bushel. 1913 -- 100 years ago: R.G. Hudson and R.H. Dart were elected wardens at Trinity Episcopal Church. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Smiling, baldish, 30-year-old Jimmy Roosevelt reported for work today as movie maker Sam Goldwyn's new hired hand. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Members of the East Moline City Council last night unanimously voted approval of the name of John F. Kennedy Drive for the improved sections of 3rd and 4th streets between 17th Avenue and the south city limits. 1988 -- 25 years ago: A $70,000 fundraising drive is underway to establish a Big Brother/Big Sisters program in the Quad-Cities. Organizers hope to raise funds to begin the nationally affiliated program by March 1.