Associate Judge, Scott Belt, Announces Campaign for Grundy County Resident Circuit Judge

Grundy County Associate Judge, Scott Belt, has announced his candidacy to run for Grundy County Resident Circuit Judge in November of 2024 .  Belt currently serves as an appointed judge, having been originally appointed in December of 2020, and reappointed in 2023.  He will be on the ballot in November of 2024 to fill the vacancy of Circuit Judge, Gary Dobbs.  Judge Dobbs has decided he will not run for the elected position.  Belt has announced that he will be running as an independent candidate.

Belt stated, “my background and education have given me a unique foundation to serve as Circuit Judge.”   Belt’s legal career started as a Sheriff’s Deputy at the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department.  He also  clerked for the U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  During law school, Belt was awarded academic scholarships that funded a substantial part of his law school expense, and he was invited to serve as a member of law review – a distinction only awarded to the highest of academic students.  Belt graduated cum laude from Western Michigan law school in 1990.

Belt also practiced law in Morris for 30 years, serving as Morris City Attorney for 20 years.  He was also appointed to represent numerous other cities and villages throughout Grundy County.

Belt said his experience covers a wide range of civil and criminal law and has involved handling cases in both State and Federal Court.  Belt has argued before the Court of Appeals on many occasions and has briefed cases before the Federal Court of Appeals while employed with the U.S Attorney.

Belt was born and raised in Morris, and grew up in a union and religious household.  “Our family values centered around hard work and faith,” said Belt.   Belt’s father worked in the sheet metal union, and Belt’s mother worked as a community leader and a religious music director for over 50 years.  Most of her time was at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris where her father, Reverend Hugo Montanus, served as a minister.

“As a Judge, I come to the bench with a wealth of legal knowledge and expertise, and I have learned that you never decide a case before giving each party an opportunity for a full and fair hearing.  Giving people a fair shot is one of the most important aspects of a Judge.  It’s also important as a Judge to recognize the fear that a self-represented litigant may experience as they stand before the Court and explain how a relationship deteriorated to domestic violence or how they lost their children to the power of an addiction.”

Belt said Judges make decisions that impact the lives of every citizen.  That’s why it is so important to choose someone as Grundy County Resident Circuit Court Judge who honors and values fairness and independence.  I want the parties leaving the courtroom knowing that their concerns were heard, and that a fair and impartial decision was made.  I will always do my best to treat all parties with patience, fairness and respect.” 

Belt said his choice to run as an independent candidate reflects his belief that politics simply don’t belong in the courtroom.  “As judges, we are stewards of the public trust, and are accountable to the public, not a particular political party or to the wealthy.  Judges are sworn to uphold the Constitution, and that significant responsibility simply does not involve partisan politics.”  Belt’s independence as Judge has been noted by the Illinois State Bar Association, where Belt received an approval rating of 95% in “impartiality,” and a 97% approval rating in “judicial temperament.”

Belt said, “I am running for Circuit Judge because my qualifications, experience and distinguished record as an attorney and Associate Judge are unmatched.”

As Associate Judge, Belt currently presides over the Treatment Alternative Court program, which addresses mental health concerns within the criminal justice system.

Belt has been married to Cindy (Button) Belt of Morris for 33 years, and they have 4 adult daughters and 4 grandchildren.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve Grundy County, and I look forward to your support in November of 2024.”