Judge Norma (Guzman) Kauzlarich is continuing to break new ground in the area legal community, as she has become a circuit court judge for the Illinois 14th Judicial Circuit. Kauzlarich is the first Latina circuit court judge in the history of the circuit, according to a Friday release.

She was elected to the position after running unopposed across the four counties that make up the 14th Judicial Circuit — Rock Island, Henry, Mercer and Whiteside. The seat was opened by the retirement of Judge Carol Pentuic who was appointed to fill the vacancy of Judge Mark VandeWiele.

“I am humbled and honored by the citizens of our four counties,” Judge Kauzlarich said in the release. “I will strive every day to serve all citizens of our community with integrity and grace.”

Judge Kauzlarich first assumed the bench in 2014 upon her appointment as an associate circuit
court judge. Her transition to the circuit court bench is widely expected to be a seamless one as she has maintained a circuit court judge’s schedule for the majority of her time as an associate judge.

Judge Kauzlarich presided in Rock Island County felony court for several years and most recently she was assigned to Mercer County.

“It has been my extreme pleasure to call Judge Kauzlarich a colleague, a friend and now my successor,” Judge Carol Pentuic said. “To her, being a judge is not a job. It is a calling. The bench and the citizens of the 14th Judicial Circuit could not ask for a better public servant.”

Prior to taking the bench, Kauzlarich was an assistant state’s attorney in Rock Island County for
over 13 years, before that she maintained a civil law practice. Kauzlarich graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1994. She received her undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University.

The Illinois 14th Judicial Circuit ionsists of 12 circuit judges and 10 associate judges.