SPRINGFIELD — A circuit judge from Macon County will become an appellate court justice serving 30 central Illinois counties this morning.
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman is scheduled to administer the judicial oath of office to Judge Lisa Holder White during her swearing-in ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the Supreme Court Building.
White — who is filling the vacancy created by the Oct. 30 death of Judge John McCullough of Lincoln — will become the first African-American to sit on the Fourth District Appellate Court.
"Becoming an attorney was a lifelong dream of mine that I was able to accomplish," she said. "Serving as an associate and circuit judge in the Sixth Circuit was more than a dream realized and has been an amazing experience.
"I will miss the people I see on a daily basis over here at the courthouse. At the appellate court level, it is more about reading the record.
"I have always enjoyed research and writing, and as an appellate court justice I will have more of an opportunity to engage in this kind of work. I thank Justice Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court for this opportunity."
White has been on the bench in Decatur since 2001. She was appointed an associate judge that year, appointed as a circuit judge in September 2008, and elected as a resident circuit judge — meaning she had to run only in Macon County — in November 2010.
If White wants to remain on the appellate court, she'll have to run for the office in November 2014 in all 30 counties of the Fourth District.
White is a 1993 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law. She has legal experience as both a prosecutor and public defender for Macon County as well as being in private practice in Decatur.
"Just over four years ago, I had the privilege of swearing in Lisa Holder White as a circuit judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit," Garman said in a written release. "Since that time, she has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues on the bench and of the attorneys who appear before her. More importantly, she has earned the respect of the community she serves.
"I am pleased that she will be joining the Fourth District Appellate Court, where I am sure that she will continue to serve as an outstanding jurist and a dedicated public servant."
The Fourth District comprises Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Greene, Jersey, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, McLean, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Vermilion and Woodford counties.