SIULAW alum, Caroline Borden Campion ’07, is featured in this article in the Peoria Journal Star.

December 03, 2020 , Gary L. Smith | Journal Star


TOULON – Stark County has a new state’s attorney for the first time in 28 years.

Caroline Borden Campion of Wyoming was sworn in Tuesday to succeed Jim Owens of Bradford, who has retired after seven consecutive terms in the office.

“I can’t say enough for Jim Owens and the service he has given to Stark County for the past 28 years,” she said in an interview shortly after the ceremony in the county’s lone courtroom. “I’m just so honored to assume this office.”

Campion, the daughter of retired judge and former state’s attorney Stuart Borden of Wyoming, became the small county’s first woman to hold the office by winning without opposition both the Republican primary in March and the Nov. 3 general election. She’ll serve a four-year term.

A 2001 Bradley University graduate who worked in private business for about four years before entering Southern Illinois University of School of Law, Campion has been an attorney for 13 years. She’s been an assistant state’s attorney in Peoria County since May 2016 after previously practicing mostly civil law for about nine years with two Peoria firms.

“I saw what an important job state’s attorneys and prosecutors have to do,” said Campion, who started out in traffic court in Peoria and was more recently handling felonies and working with victims of domestic violence.

“I’ve seen how important the state’s attorney is in prosecuting cases, in deciding which cases are appropriate to be charged,” she continued. “And I’ve been fortunate enough to get some of that experience in Peoria County working with some of the best prosecutors in the business, and working under both (the late) Jerry Brady and (current State’s Attorney) Jodi Hoos, who were always both so supportive of my career. Becoming a prosecutor really showed me the importance the criminal courts have in our society.”

The transition from private practice to prosecutor helped pave the way to the position Campion assumed Tuesday, though it was not a process that she had really predicted in advance, she said.

“It was something I could foresee in my future. You never know what’s going to come at you. I never try to predict where I’m going to be,” she said. “But I’m from Stark County, I went to high school here, I married a farmer from the area, and we moved back a little over a year ago to Wyoming. So it does have a special place in my heart to be a prosecutor and come back to where I was raised.”

Campion is married to Jim Campion, whose extended family has had a large presence in area agriculture for years. They have a 3 ½ -year-old son, named James Campion IV.

The new prosecutor was administered her oath of office by Chief Judge Paul Gilfillan of the Peoria-based 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Marshall, Putnam, and Stark Counties as well as Peoria and Tazewell. Gilfillan explained he was filling in for Stark County Resident Judge Bruce Fehrenbacher, who has been ill, but also wanted to be there because of his long respect for Judge Borden and familiarity with the family.

“I told Caroline I had pulled rank to be here today because of my special connections to her and her family,” Gilfillan told the small gathering of family members and a few county officials.

Read the complete story here.