Associate Judge Ericka Sanders of Marion County announced that she will run for the Circuit Judge position to be vacated by retiring Judge Sherri L. E. Tungate.
Sanders was appointed Associate Judge in January of 2010 by the twelve elected Circuit Judges of the Fourth Judicial Circuit. She has served four years as an Associate Judge, presiding over criminal, civil and juvenile cases in the nine-county circuit at all stages of the legal proceedings -- from first appearances in court to jury trials. She is also in charge of the Problem-Solving Courts in Effingham, Illinois, which include the drug court and the newly created veterans court and mental health court. In conjunction with staff from the Effingham and Christian County Probation Departments, Sanders initiated the first mental health and veterans courts in the Fourth Circuit. These courts greatly reduce financial burdens on tax-payers by addressing the issues that cause criminal behavior and increased risk to public safety.
According to Sanders, “Circuit Judges have the authority to impact the policies and practices of our courtroom. As an Associate Judge, I implemented programs that have proven success in deceasing crime and saving millions of dollars. As an elected Circuit Judge, I will have a greater potential to achieve these goals. I will always be humbled by the authority that I have been granted and the great responsibility that I have to the people in our communities and those that appear before me.”
Sanders was recently appointed to the Supreme Court Committee on jury instructions in criminal cases. She is an instructor at the judicial conference and a topic editor for the civil procedure bench book that is used by judges throughout the state. Sanders was also elected to serve on the executive board of the Illinois Association of Problem Solving Courts.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Sanders was a practicing lawyer for over ten years, handling a wide range of cases in criminal, civil and juvenile proceedings. She tried to verdict hundreds of criminal and civil cases before judges and juries at the state level and federal levels. After graduating from Southern Illinois University School of Law, Sanders became a staff attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid and then an Assistant Public Defender in Marion County, Illinois. Sanders was also an Assistant Attorney General with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office in Springfield in the civil defense division before taking the position of Lead Public Defender in Marion County. She is the daughter of Jack and Bonnie Sanders of Centralia. She and her husband, Jamie Holzer, a math teacher at Centralia High School, live in Centralia where they are both active in the rescue and care of abused, neglected and abandoned animals.