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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Supreme Court appoints James E. Chadd as State Appellate Defender


December 27, 2017

The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday the appointment of James E. Chadd to the Office of State Appellate Defender to a four-year term to begin January 1, 2018. He succeeds Michael Pelletier, who was appointed in 2007 and will be retiring at the end of 2017.

Mr. Chadd has spent over 33 years working for the Office of the State Appellate Defender and has been Deputy State Appellate Defender the past four years, serving as chief assistant to retiring State Appellate Defender Michael J. Pelletier.

“Mr. Chadd came highly recommended and it was apparent to the Court why," Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier said. “A career appellate defender and recognized authority on criminal law, Mr. Chadd is fiercely committed to the agency’s mission and totally dedicated to ensuring that its clients receive the finest possible legal representation. Not only that, he possess the institutional knowledge and management experience necessary to lead a critically important statewide agency efficiently and effectively in an environment where public resources continue to be severely strained."

“On behalf of the entire Court I would like to thank the members of the screening committee – Mary Robinson, Amy Campanelli, and Jon G. Noll – for their invaluable assistance in the selection process. The committee assembled an impressive group of candidates. All were outstanding.”

The screening committee was appointed by the Court in September and was directed to follow the same procedures used in the search that resulted in Pelletier's appointment. The committee was directed to make a public announcement of the vacancy and invite applications. The State Appellate Defender position opening was advertised in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Illinois State Bar Association publications as well as to over 25 bar association groups. The opening was additionally sent to the agency's website for internal posting.

Mr. Chadd started with the Office of the State Appellate Defender in 1984 as an Assistant Defender in the Supreme Court Unit. In 1989 he moved to the First District Office and in 1995 served as Team Leader in addition to his duties as an Assistant Defender.

Mr. Chadd became a Supervisor for the First District Office in 2002 and served as Assistant Deputy Defender as well before becoming Deputy State Appellate Defender in 2014. As Deputy State Appellate Defender, Mr. Chadd was responsible for monitoring the legal work of the agency and reviewing agency briefs filed in the Illinois Supreme Court, among other responsibilities.

“It is truly a great honor to receive this appointment. I have spent my entire legal career with the Office of the State Appellate Defender, and I have been fortunate during that time to be associated with the many talented and dedicated attorneys who work here. The two previous State Appellate Defenders, Ted Gottfried and Mike Pelletier, have done a superb job of running this agency," Chadd said. “I will do everything I can to further that tradition and to make sure we continue to provide excellent representation to all our clients."

Mr. Chadd earned his Bachelor of Arts in History and English Literature from the University of Oregon and his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. In 2011 he was the recipient of the James B. Haddad Award in recognition of a career of extraordinary legal representation and dedication to the welfare of indigent clients.

The Office of the Appellate Defender is a statewide office created by Illinois statute to handle all the criminal appeals of indigent defendants in the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court. Its caseload now consists of about 3,000 a year.