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, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana. 1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.