James R. Moore was born in 1953 in Herrin, Illinois. He attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and in 1974, received a bachelor's degree in economics. He obtained his juris doctor degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1977. He worked as an assistant city attorney for the City of Carbondale until he founded his own law firm two years later. He was a sole practitioner in Carterville, Illinois from 1979 until his appointment to the Circuit Court in 2007. After being appointed to the bench, Judge Moore successfully ran for election in 2008 and was retained in 2014. He was assigned to the Fifth District Appellate Court in 2015. Justice Moore was elected to a full term as 5th District Appellate Court Judge in 2016. He has been a trustee of the Judicial Retirement System since 2012. He and his wife, Cynthia, have been married since 1975. They have eight children and thirteen grandchildren.