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#409 Holistic Public Defense: The Road to Reform


Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli

Amy P. Campanelli was sworn in as the tenth Public Defender of Cook County on April 1, 2015. Ms. Campanelli’s appointment was the culmination of 27 years of representing the indigent accused. Ms. Campanelli started as an Assistant Public Defender in November 1987, assigned to the Juvenile Division. She currently manages a budget of $80 million and a staff of approximately 700.

Over the years, Ms. Campanelli has been a frequent lecturer and trainer on mental health issues, trial advocacy, trial preparation, and therapeutic courts. Ms. Campanelli is committed to reducing incarceration of her clients by supporting smart, fair, and non-discriminatory criminal justice reform at every stage of the process, and through a holistic client-centered approach.

Multiple initiatives have been launched during her administration, including: the Police Station Representation Unit, making attorneys available 24/7 to respond to calls for counsel by anyone in custody throughout Cook County; the Mental Health Unit, staffed with an in-house psychologist and social workers trained to identify clients with mental health issues; and grant outreach, bringing much needed resources to her Office to support clients both in and out of the courtroom. She is currently working to open an Immigration Unit within the Public Defender’s Office to provide legal representation and social help for clients who face deportation.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.