A new chief public defender has been named for the federal court district covering Southern Illinois.
Stephen R. Welby, who has been in private practice focusing on criminal law for the last 13 years, replaces Phillip J. Kavanaugh, who is retiring.
Kavanaugh has been the chief federal public defender for the Southern District of Illinois for 13 years. He has been with the office for 27 years.
“I think it’s a privilege to have worked in the Southern District of Illinois,” Kavanaugh said. “The judges, the lawyers and the court family have been very great to me.”
The chief federal public defender for the district is based in East St. Louis and oversees a staff of attorneys and investigators.
Chief Judge Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit announced the appointment of Welby.
Welby earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and his law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
Welby has been a guest lecturer in ethics classes at Washington University School of Law and at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He serves on the Criminal Justice Act panel of lawyers for the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Missouri.
He also has served as district chairman and member of the board of directors for the Boy Scouts and was involved in starting five new Cub Scout packs in economically-challenged areas of St. Louis.