Five attorneys appointed special public defenders

WOODSTOCK – Attorneys have been named to fill five open special public defender positions: Henry H. Sugden III, William Bligh, Robin L. Berry, Justin M. Hansen and Charles McKenney.

Criminal defendants have the right to an attorney regardless of whether they can afford one. When they cannot afford an attorney, one from the McHenry County Public Defender’s Office is appointed.

However, the Public Defender’s Office sometimes has conflicts, such as when a co-defendant already is being represented by the office. When that happens, a special public defender is appointed.

They are private lawyers and can be appointed to adult misdemeanor and felony cases, as well as juvenile delinquency and child protection cases.

Nearly 40 attorneys applied for the jobs, which have a $37,000 annual salary.

Bligh, of the Law Offices of David R. Gervais, and McKenney, who has his own practice in Crystal Lake, already serve as special public defenders, but had to reapply.

Bligh has been in the position since June 2010, McKenney since May 2005.

Berry graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1991. She previously served in the 5th District Court of Appeals in Texas and as senior prosecuting attorney for the Dallas City Attorney’s Office.

Since relocating to McHenry County, she became an adjunct professor at McHenry County College and focuses on juvenile law. She works for Donahue and Walsh, P.C. in McHenry.

Hansen, of Cowlin, Naughton, Curran & Coppedge, received his degree from DePaul University College of Law in May 2009 and has represented private and local government clients in civil, administrative and criminal matters.

Sudgen, of Madsen, Sugden & Gottemoller, graduated from John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1976. He has experience in all divisions of the court, including personal injury, workers compensation and criminal defense.

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