State Appellate Defender, Office of the
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
|Indigent Appellate Defense Statewide
|Rural Defense Program
|Statewide Training to Public Defenders
Totals may not add due to rounding.
The principal function of the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD) is to represent indigent persons on appeal in criminal cases when appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, or the Circuit Court. The administrative office of the agency is located in Springfield, with district offices in each of the five Appellate Court districts - Chicago, Elgin, Ottawa, Springfield, and Mt. Vernon.
Effective January 1, 2004, people with qualifying arrests and convictions may petition the court of their sentencing county for an expungement or a sealing of their record. This agency has the responsibility to disseminate pertinent information regarding this program via brochures, the agency website, and a toll-free telephone number. OSAD’s expungement unit, with one office located in Springfield, receives an average of 200 emails per month, 140 phone calls to the hotline, and 185 phone calls per month requesting information about expungement and sealing of records. An average of 175 information packets per month are sent to Illinois residents requesting forms and additional information. Upon request, OSAD staff attorneys participate in community events to promote public awareness of expungement and sealing availability. This last fiscal year, OSAD participated in 22 community events.
During fiscal year 2018, the agency was the recipient of one grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Rural Defense Services Project. This grant, in the amount of $113,717, enabled public defenders in rural counties to effectively represent their clients by contracting with expert witnesses and investigative services in the appropriate cases. Public defenders in counties of less than 400,000 based on the 2010 census survey were eligible to submit requests for assistance from an investigator or expert witness, payable through the grant. The following counties were not eligible: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will.
On October 27 and 28, 2017, the Illinois Public Defender Association (IPDA) presented its Fall 2017 Seminar in Springfield, Illinois. The seminar was attended by 182 participants, including 121 public defenders from 49 counties, as well as 51 attorneys from the Office of the State Appellate Defender. The IPDA offered 7.75 hours of General MCLE credit, including up to 5.75 hours of Professional Responsibility Credit (which included one hour for mental health and 0.75 hours for diversity). The 2018 Jamie Kunz Trial Advocacy Program for Illinois Public Defenders was held at the IIT- Chicago Kent College of Law from Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 16, 2018. This weeklong, statewide public defender trial advocacy training program featuring current and former Illinois public defenders as faculty/workshop coaches centered on the defense skills necessary to defend a jury case. The program was attended by 27 participants representing 15 Illinois counties.
To continue to make this program affordable for the participating counties, OSAD, using its Public Defender training budget, once again provided the program registration fee for all 27 registrants and the travel and lodging expenses for 14 of those participants from distant counties who otherwise would not have been able to attend.
On May 11 and 12, 2018, the IPDA presented its 2018 Spring Seminar at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre Hotel. The IPDA offered 7.75 hours of General MCLE credit with up to 5 hours of Professionalism credits (including 1.5 hours of Diversity credit). The seminar was attended by 168 participants, including public defenders and private attorneys from 45 counties and 48 attorneys from OSAD.
OSAD and the IPDA presented a one-day regional seminar at the University of Illinois Springfield on Friday, June 8, 2018. This seminar, “Self Defense: Witness Prep and Direct Examination,” focused on teaching public defenders to listen to their clients and structure the direct examination around segments that will allow clients to be comfortable talking to strangers about their darkest moments. Participants also learned how the use of transitions, pacing, and open-ended questions allow clients to tell their story to the trier of fact persuasively. Participants earned 5.75 professionalism credit hours.
The seminar was attended by 28 public defenders from 17 mostly downstate counties who were able to take advantage of this free training opportunity. Additionally, hotel accommodations and mileage reimbursement were offered to those public defenders traveling from distant counties.