Justice David Overstreet announced Friday he is seeking election to the Fifth District Appellate Court, which oversees 37 Southern Illinois counties including Madison and St. Clair.
“Having served in the appellate for eight months today, actually, my appreciation for the work of the court and its importance in resolving cases on review has grown — so I’ve decided to seek election,” he told the BND Friday.
Overstreet was assigned to his current seat on the appellate court in February when the seat was vacated by Justice James Moore after the November 2016 election.
“It’s such an honor to be a judge and serve at any level,” he said. “People come before the courts in moments of crisis. And I always remember that and remember that I’m there to listen, to be fair and give both sides an opportunity to present their case and to apply the law.”
“We are the one court where everyone has the right to have their decision reviewed,” he said, adding that the appellate court sets precedents for future cases.
Overstreet, who is Republican, said as an appellate judge he wants to find the best ways to integrate technology into the courts — such as court hearings via web cams, as well as work to find ways of representation people in civil cases who cannot afford attorneys.
State Senator David Luechtefeld of Okawville is chairing Overstreet’s campaign.
“While we understand how important the U.S. Supreme Court is, the cases that matter to us are heard right here in local state courts. I know David Overstreet will be a conscientious member of the Appellate Court, because he is the type of individual who will be fair and that we can be proud of,” Luechtefeld said in a statement.
The vacancy was created last month when Judge Richard P. Goldenhersh announced his retirement. Goldenhersh served as a circuit judge in St. Clair County until he joined the appellate court in 1988.
Appellate judges are elected to 10-year terms. They hear between nine and 18 cases every five weeks.
Overstreet, 51, is a graduate of David Lipscomb University and the University of Tennessee College of Law, and was a partner at the Mount Vernon law firm of Neubauer & Overstreet prior to becoming a judge. He was named to the bench in 2007 and was elected by voters in 2008 and 2014.
He currently serves on the Supreme Court Judicial Mentoring Committee, the Supreme Court Strategic Planning Committee, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education and the Illinois Judges Association executive committee. He also serves as chair of the Second Judicial Circuit’s professionalism committee and program administrator for its lawyer-to- lawyer mentoring program.
Overstreet also serves as a member of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club, president of Mentors for Kids, Inc., adviser with the Mount Vernon Township High School YMCA Youth and Government program, tutor at the Mount Vernon Primary Center and as a youth sports coach for 15 years.