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Joe McDade

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Joe McDade
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #4T
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   11/25/1991 - 2/28/2010
Chief:   1998 - 2004
Senior:   02/28/2010 - Present
Preceded by:   104 Stat. 5089
Succeeded by:   Sara Lynn Darrow
Past post:   Judge, Illinois Tenth Judicial Circuit Court
Past term:   1988-1991
Personal History
Born:   1937
Hometown:   Bellville, TX
Undergraduate:   Bradley U., 1959
Law School:   University of Michigan Law School, 1963
Grad. School:   Bradley U., 1960

Joe Billy McDade is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. He joined the court in 1991 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. McDade assumed senior status on March 1, 2010.


Born in Bellville, Texas, McDade received his B.S. from Bradley University in 1959, as well as his M.S. in 1960. McDade graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with a J.D. in 1963.[1]

Professional career

  • 1988-1991: Judge, Illinois Tenth Judicial Circuit Court
  • 1982-1988: Associate judge, Illinois Tenth Judicial Circuit Court
  • 1968-1982: Attorney in private practice, Illinois
  • 1965-1968: Executive director, Greater Peoria Legal Aid Society, Illinois
  • 1965: Executive trainee, First Federal Savings and Loan Association, Illinois
  • 1963-1965: Staff attorney, Antitrust Division, United States Department of Justice, Chicago, Illinois[1]

Judicial career

Central District of Illinois

On the recommendation of Congressman Henry Hyde, McDade was nominated to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois by President George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1991, to a new judgeship created by 104 Stat. 5089, which was approved by Congress. McDade was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 21, 1991, on a Senate vote and received commission on November 25, 1991. McDade served as the court's chief judge from 1998 to 2004. He assumed senior status on March 1, 2010.[1]

Notable cases

Former state judge sentenced after drug scandal (2014)

In March 2014, Judge McDade sentenced Michael N. Cook, formerly of the Illinois Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court, to two years in prison. Cook faced charges relating to his possession of heroin and a firearm, and resigned from the bench shortly after he was implicated in the cocaine-related death of Twentieth Circuit Court Judge Joseph Christ in Cook's hunting lodge. In February 2014, Judge McDade rejected the terms of an earlier plea deal for Cook as insufficient.


Judge allows cameras in his courtroom (2009)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (In Re Complaint Against District Judge Joe Billy McDade, 07-09-90083)

Judge McDade was involved in a controversy and faced the possibility of being charged with violations of federal rules and a Seventh Circuit resolution for an incident in which he allowed cameras into his courtroom. The judge allowed cameras to document a hearing involving a proposal for extension of a settlement which forced the Champaign, Illinois, school district to reduce the achievement gap between white and black students. On September 15, 2009, Judge McDade allowed media members to bring television cameras, audio equipment, and a still camera into the hearing because he said it should reach as wide an audience as possible. A complaint against him was filed with the Seventh Circuit. McDade apologized and admitted his actions were in violation of the district court's rule; he later wrote a formal letter of apology to the Seventh Circuit. Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook accepted McDade's apology and dismissed the complaint, deciding that no further action was necessary.[2]

Judge McDade's letter of apology may be found here.

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
NA-New Seat
Central District of Illinois
Seat #4T
Succeeded by:
Sara Lynn Darrow

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