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A retired judge from Taylorville, a civil rights lawyer from Peoria and a former defense lawyer from Springfield will be among citizens who will help Illinois' U.S. senators recommend candidates to become the next U.S. attorney and marshal for the Central District of Illinois.

A six-member screening committee appointed by Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth will review candidate applications and advise the Democratic senators on the candidates' qualifications, according to a news release.

Applicants must submit cover letters, resumes and a questionnaire by May 3. The senators will make recommendations to President Joe Biden, and Biden will submit nominations to the U.S. Senate for votes of the Senate Judiciary and full Senate. A timeline for approval hasn't been set.

The federal Central District has offices in Springfield, Peoria, Urbana and Rock Island.

Douglas J. Quivey has served as acting U.S. attorney for the district since U.S. Attorney John Milhiser submitted his resignation in February. Biden, a Democrat, asked most U.S. attorneys across the country to resign so he could name his own candidates after the defeat of former President Donald Trump, a Republican, in November.

Current U.S. Marshal Brendan Heffner, like other U.S. marshals, will serve until new marshals are named, and they are eligible to apply for the four-year terms, a Durbin aide said.

Ronald Spears, a retired Illinois circuit court judge in the 4th Judicial Circuit in Taylorville from 1979 to 1993, was named committee chairman. He works as a mediator and arbitrator with Spears Dispute Resolution LLC.

The other committee members are:

— Ted Gottfried, who served as director of the Office of the State Appellate Defender in Springfield from 1972 to 2008, oversaw legal representation in more than 40,000 criminal cases in the Illinois Appellate and Supreme courts.

— Donald Jackson, a Peoria-based lawyer in solo practice, specializes in civil rights and workplace discrimination and is a former president of the Peoria chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the NAACP's Illinois State Conference.

— Rebecca Johnson of Quincy is a former staff attorney with the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau.

— Nicola Sharpe is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, where her research focuses on corporate governance, ethics, compliance and professional responsibility. She also is director of the Chicago Business Law Program.

— Ruth Waller is a former assistant state's attorney in Macon County, where she was senior supervisor of the child support division. She previously was a partner in the law firm of Johnson, Waller & Chiligris and is a former president of the Springfield Coalition of Black Attorneys.

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