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Lance was born in Joliet, Illinois and raised in Grundy County. He earned his undergrad degree from Millikin University. Lance then went on to earn his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School.  Lance has been recognized for his scholarly work, earning the Borg-Warner Scholarship for Academic Excellence and the Scribes Award for Meritorious Writing. His article entitled "A First Amendment - Sixth Amendment Dilemma"  on the Noriega case was selected for publication in the John Marshall Law Review and Lance was honored to be named Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.


After law school,  Lance served as Judicial Clerk to Justice Tobias Barry in the 3rd Appellate Court from 1993-1994. He then went on to serve  as Judicial Clerk to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow from 1994-1995. Prior to joining the bench, Justice Peterson served as Grundy County State’s Attorney from 1996 to 2001, at which time he was appointed as an Associate Judge in the 13th Circuit Court. In 2010, Lance was elected as a Circuit Court Judge by the citizens of Grundy County. During his time on the bench, he has heard all types of cases including felony criminal cases, family law, and complex civil litigation, including over 100 jury trials.

Lance created the Grundy County Juvenile Justice Diversion Program to help his community's troubled youth by attacking the family problems which are often at the core of juvenile crime. Lance helped begin his county's first domestic violence shelter in 1997 and established the Domestic Violence Diversion Program of the State's Attorney's office the same year. The 13th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Prevention Council honored the work of Judge Peterson in the area of Family Violence with its annual award in 1998.

Recognizing the distinct need, Lance oversaw the creation of the Grundy County Mental health Court and presided over cases heard in that Court for 8 years.

During his judicial career, Lance has been assigned to a number of distinguished commissions and boards:

  • Appointed by the Supreme Court to the Workers' Compensation Commission

  • Appointed by the Supreme Court to the Civil Jury Instructions Committee, charged with writing the standards used by judges in Illinois

  • Served on the judicial team that wrote "Benchbooks" on DUI and traffic Law. (Benchbooks are summaries of current law used by judges hearing cases)

  • Former member of the Illinois Courts Commission, the group that hears complaints and pleadings of judicial misconduct brought  before the Judicial Inquiry Board

  • Teaching other judges at judicial education conferences

In 2022, Lance was unanimously appointed by the members of the Illinois Supreme Court to the position of Justice of the 3rd Appellate District of Illinois.


Lance was born in Joliet, Illinois and raised in Grundy County. He and his wife Julie were married in the fall of 1996 and live in Morris with their two children, Mia and Eric, and family dog Grace.

Lance likes to cook and enjoys fishing, travel, attending Bears games, and spending time with family and friends.

Learn more about Justice Lance Peterson on his campaign website at

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