EDWARDSVILLE — Circuit Judge Sarah Smith announced her candidacy for Fifth District Appellate Court.
“I swore a solemn oath to serve the Constitution and my country right out of high school, and I’ve spent my entire life standing up for what I believe is right. I will do the same on the appellate court.” Smith said.
The Fifth District Appellate Court covers the southern 37 counties in Illinois. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Justice Melissa Chapman.
“I understand that this campaign presents unique challenges, but I believe my military service and two combat tours have taught me that when an opportunity for further service presents itself, you step up and rise to the challenge no matter what the circumstances.” Smith said.
In addition to her judicial duties, Smith is a colonel in the United States Army. She is a Bronze Star recipient for her service while deployed to Afghanistan. She is the highest-ranking JAG officer in the Illinois Army National Guard, the first female judge for the entire Army National Guard, and is currently in her second year at the US Army War College. Smith was also named as the first military judge in the State of Illinois under the Illinois Code of Military Justice and drafted the first Illinois National Guard Manual for Court Martials, allowing her to be uniquely involved in Veterans’ affairs.
Smith’s husband also serves in the Illinois National Guard and his unit has been alerted to deploy for a year in the Fall of 2020.
“I have served my country, and the people of Illinois. My dedication to the bench and service to my country and my community is what led me to run for this vacancy on the appellate court.”
A lifelong resident of Madison County, Smith was appointed Associate Judge in 2015, presiding in the family division. In 2018, she was elected Circuit Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit after a successful campaign in Madison and Bond counties. She currently presides over a civil docket along with post-conviction criminal cases.