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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Justice Lytton retires from 3rd District Appellate Court; Judge Hettell appointed to fill vacancy


Justice Robert L. Carter and the Illinois Supreme Court announced that Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Joseph P. Hettel has been appointed as an Appellate Court Justice in the Third District following the retirement of Justice Tom M. Lytton. Justice Lytton has served on the appellate court for 30 years and will be retiring effective July 1, 2022. Judge Hettel’s appointment is effective July 2, 2022, through Dec. 2, 2024.

“Every Illinois citizen has benefited from the service of Justice Tom Lytton on the Third District Appellate Court,” Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Carter said. “He is a role model for all judges in the state.”

Justice Lytton was first elected to the Third District Appellate Court in 1992 and was retained by voters in 2002 and 2012.

Prior to joining the bench, Justice Lytton was a partner at the firm of Lytton, Lytton & Sutton for nearly 20 years and also served as a special Assistant Attorney General for the Illinois Office of the Attorney General.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 30 years as a Justice for the Third District Appellate Court, from handing down decisions to the daily interactions with my staff,” Justice Lytton said. “Every aspect of my position has been rewarding and it has been an honor to serve the State of Illinois.”

Justice Lytton earned his Bachelor of Arts and his Juris Doctor from Northwestern University. He also received a degree from the International School of Law in The Hague, Netherlands. In 2018 he was honored by the Jewish Judges Association as the recipient of the Hon. Richard J. Elrod Public Services Award.

“I am honored and humbled by this appointment and I will do my best to serve the citizens of the Third District in the manner they are accustomed after 30 years of service by Justice Lytton,” Judge Hettel said. “I want to thank Justice Carter and the members of the Illinois Supreme Court for their confidence in me.”

Judge Hettel has served as a circuit judge in the Thirteenth Circuit since being appointed to the bench in 2006. He was retained by voters in 2014 and 2020.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Hettel worked in private practice and served for six years as LaSalle County’s State’s Attorney. He earned his Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The Third Judicial District is composed of seven counties: Bureau, DuPage, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, LaSalle and Will.