Mary Copeland, of Godfrey, has been appointed as the next Madison County chief public defender, succeeding John Rekowski, who is retiring at the end of the month.
Copeland, 46, was appointed to the position by a vote of the circuit court judges, said William A. Mudge, Chief Judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, which includes both Madison and Bond Counties.
Copeland earned her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law, and served as an Assistant Public Defender in Madison County since her graduation in 2003.
“I am extremely grateful and humbled to have been appointed Chief Public Defender of Madison County. I will work diligently to continue the legacy of Mr. John Rekowski, while also incorporating changes that align with my own vision for the office. I am dedicated to serving the citizens of Madison County efficiently and honorably.”
The public defender’s office provides legal aid to defendants who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. The office employs 14 assistant public defenders in addition to investigative, paralegal, advocacy and secretarial staff.
“The Third Judicial Circuit is pleased to have a person of Mary Copeland’s experience, ability and passion as Chief Public Defender,” stated Chief Judge Mudge, noting that she is the first woman to hold the post in the history of Madison County.
She resides with her husband and two children.