New Public Defender Appointed for Effingham County

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Published on June 25 2013 7:32 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A new Chief Public Defender has been appointed for Effingham County.

4th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Gene Schwarm has announced that Scott Schmidt has been appointed to the post.  Schmidt's appointment is effective July 1.  A press release from Judge Schwarm's office indicates Schmidt was selected "after an extensive application and interview process in Effingham County, with the approval of a majority of the Circuit Judges of the 4th Judicial Circuit."

Schmidt currently serves as the First Assistant Public Defender in Champaign County.  Schmidt's duties included lead trial counsel in felony cases including murder, criminal sexual assault and drug trafficking, the supervision of 12 assistant public defenders, and training of the public defenders.  Schmidt has served in the position since 2006.  He's worked in the Champaign County Public Defender's office since 1999, including Senior Assistant Public Defender and Assistant Public Defender. 

Schmidt graduated from Chicago Kent College and was ranked in the top 25% of his graduating class.  He will reside in Effingham County.

Effingham Resident Circuit Judge Kimberly Koester said, "I am happy that Mr. Schmidt has accepted the position.  This is an exciting new chapter for Effingham County.  Mr. Schmidt is extremely qualified, experienced, and professional.  He comes highly recommended and has shown an ability to effectively deal with all offices involved in the Court system.  I received 11 applications and interviewed several quality attorneys for the position.  I considered many relevant factors in making this reasoned, but difficult decision in selecting one applicant in this competitive process."

Schmidt will succeed longtime Public Defender Lupita Thompson in the position.