Press Release: Circuit Judge Sarah Smith Announces Run for 5th District Appellate Court

CONTACT: Kelly Tracy  
(618) 520-8919

EDWARDSVILLE, IL. Circuit Judge Sarah Smith announces 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 to further serve 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. Judge 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 Courts Martials, allowing her to be uniquely involved in Veteran’s affairs. 

“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 lead 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 county. She currently presides over a civil docket along with post-conviction criminal cases.

Before becoming a Judge, Smith practiced civil litigation for ten years. Thereafter, she served for five years as a prosecutor in the Madison County States’ Attorney’s office. Throughout her extensive legal, military, and judicial career she has tried or presided over hundreds of cases involving civil, criminal, family and other complex matters. 

“Justice Melissa Ann Chapman was the first woman to serve on the Fifth District Appellate Court, she is smart, fair, and dedicated to ensuring justice was administered for the people of Southern Illinois. It is this legacy that I wish to carry on.  I am proud and grateful for the bipartisan support I received while running for Circuit Judge and I am optimistic that I will receive the same support in this next campaign,” said Smith.