Judge Paul Biebel, chief of criminal courts, to retire this summer

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Cook County Circuit Judge Paul Biebel Jr. has overseen one of the most frenetic criminal court systems in the country for nearly 15 years.

Biebel, 73, sent a memo to his fellow judges Monday telling them he will retire from his post in early July.

In a phone interview from his chambers Monday night, Biebel, presiding judge of county’s criminal courts division, said he plans to move to the South.

“My wife and I built a house in Tennessee in a golf community,” Biebel said. “I have mixed emotions. I’ve loved this job and the people I’ve worked with here.”

Apart from trying to relearn the game of golf and visiting his children, who are scattered around the country, Biebel said he has few plans.

“It’s time to take a deep breath and get some perspective and see where life goes,” Biebel said.

Biebel said he is most proud of creating “problem-solving courts” focused on veterans, mental health and prostitution.

And though the law books from his office at the Leighton Criminal Court Building will make the trip to a new bookshelf in his home office in Tennessee, Biebel said he has no plans to practice law again anytime soon.

Biebel grew up on the North Side and attended St. George High School and Marquette University before earning a law degree from Georgetown University. He is married to Judy Pittman-Biebel, a retired judge from Florida.

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