Justice David K. Overstreet and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Melissa Presser as a Resident Circuit Judge for Pope County in the First Judicial Circuit.

Presser was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph M. Leberman, which was effective Oct. 31.

The appointment takes effect on Nov. 28, and will conclude on Dec. 2, 2024, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2024 general election.

“I am grateful to Justice Overstreet and the Supreme Court for the appointment and opportunity. I would also like to express my gratitude to the review committee for the time they devoted to the process,” Presser said.

“It is an honor to fulfill this role, and I look forward to serving the citizens of Pope County from the bench.”

Presser has served as Supervisory Regional Counsel for Illinois Department of Children and Family Services since January 2022.

She served as Pope County State’s Attorney from 2012-19, in charge of all criminal prosecution for the county, and served as Hardin County State’s Attorney for several months prior to this. From 2008-12, Presser was a legal advisor for the Department of Administrative Hearings for the Illinois Secretary of State. She has also spent several years working in private practice at Melissa Presser, Attorney at Law, LLC.

Presser earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her juris doctor from the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

The qualifications of each applicant were reviewed by a judicial screening committee. Members of the committee included the Hon. Carolyn Smoot (ret.), the Hon. Mark H. Clarke (ret.), the Hon. Terry J. Foster (ret.), attorney Kathleen Pine and attorney Kelly R. Phelps.

The First Judicial Circuit encompasses Alexander, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union and Williamson counties.

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