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 Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.