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Southern Illinois Federal Judge Gilbert to Retire

BENTON, Ill. (AP) - A longtime federal judge in southern Illinois says he'll retire from active duties early next year.

Marking his 21st year on the federal bench Thursday, U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert tells the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan that he'll be stepping down next March, when he turns 65.  Gilbert has sent a letter to President Barack Obama announcing his intentions, saying he'll continue his public service by taking on the role of senior judge. That status would give him a reduced caseload.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois calls Gilbert "one of the most committed, hard-working Illinoisans I know." He thanked Gilbert for his service to the state and the federal judiciary.]

Gilbert was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

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