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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. Three years later she moved to the Felony Trial Division. In 1998, Ms. Campanelli temporarily left the Office, but continued to take criminal cases in private practice. Five years later, in 2003, she returned to the Office as an Attorney Supervisor assigned to the Felony Trial Division.

Ms. Campanelli became the Chief Public Defender of Cook County's Bridgeview Courthouse in 2008. She became the Capital Case Coordinator for the Office in 2010. While coordinating all death penalty litigation resources in the Office, she oversaw a budget of over $2.75 million annually, organized jury focus groups, and spearheaded a two-day capital litigation conference with experts from around the globe. After the death penalty was abolished in Illinois, she served as Deputy Chief of the Homicide Task Force and Deputy Chief of the Felony Trial Division. In 2012, Ms. Campanelli became the Deputy Public Defender in charge of all five Suburban districts in Cook County, a position she held until her appointment as the Public Defender.
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.

Ms. Campanelli received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana and her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Ms. Campanelli is a lifelong member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She is married to Patrick Campanelli, and they have three children: Paul, Annabelle, and Emily. Ms. Campanelli is the second female to serve as Public Defender of Cook County.