In 1959 the Vandalia Municipal Court was established. Its jurisdiction included the City of Vandalia, Townships of Butler and Harrison, as well as the former Randolph Township. Judge Robert C. Way was the first to preside over cases (3,566 in 1960), in a building converted from a church to a Courthouse on Kenbrook Drive in Vandalia.
The next two Judges were J. Paul Brenton (1964-1966) and Richard Court (1966-1972). The caseload of the Court was growing and by 1968 had reached 15,954. This increase was attributed to an emphasis placed on eliminating the hazards caused by speeding on the section of I-75 between Little York and Neff Road, referred to at the time as Blood Strip.
Judge Harold H. Galbraith was elected in 1972, hearing cases until 1983. During this time the jurisdiction of the Court expanded to include the City of Englewood, and the Villages of Union and Clayton. Not only did the jurisdiction of the Court increase during this time, but the case count and revenue of the Court also saw increased numbers. In 1982 the caseload was 23,201 and for the first time the Court saw revenues over $1,000,000.00.
Upon resignation of Judge Galbraith, Harold LeCrone was appointed and was elected to terms as Judge in 1984 and 1989. In 1988 Judge LeCrone appointed Jerry Kaylor as Clerk of Courts, and in 1990 the Court saw the highest caseload in its history, which reached 25,906.
Richard Bannister was appointed by the Governor in 1991, and in 1992 Judge Bannister was elected to serve the remaining four years of Judge LeCrone’s six-year term. In 1992 Magistrate Bonnie Beaman Rice was appointed by Judge Bannister to assist in presiding over a growing number of Civil and minor misdemeanor cases.
Judge Bannister was re-elected in 1996 and again in November 2001 for his third term.
In November 2005, upon the retirement of Judge Bannister, Mark Zugelder was appointed by the Governor of the State. On November 8, 2005 Cynthia M. Heck was elected to fulfill the unexpired term of Judge Richard Bannister and took office on December 6, 2005. Judge Heck was re-elected to a six year term beginning in January, 2008 and two additional six-year terms beginning January 2014 and January 2020. Upon the retirement of Clerk of Courts, Jerry Kaylor in December 2011, Karen Goffena was appointed Clerk of Courts by Judge Heck.
Today the Court’s jurisdiction includes the Cities of Vandalia, Englewood, Union and Clayton, Townships of Butler and Harrison. The Court relocated to the second floor of the Vandalia Justice Center in 1999.