BLOOMINGTON — Fourteen lawyers have filed applications to replace former McLean County Public Defender Kim Campbell, whose resignation last month may be linked to a criminal investigation into the office.

The list of applicants include current McLean County public defenders Carla Barnes, Matthew Koetters, Ronald Lewis and Brian McEldowney. David Rumley, a Bloomington lawyer who also has a contract with the public defender's office, also applied along with local lawyers Chris Gramm, Scott Kording and John Wright.

McLean County assistant state's attorneys Mark Messman and Jennifer Patton are candidates along with Illinois State University attorney Edward McKibben.

From outside McLean County, the position drew interest from Steve Dalton and Michael Mara, both with the DuPage County Public Defender's Office and Sam Snyder, a Peoria lawyer.

Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Administrator Will Scanlon said no timeline has been set for the selection of a public defender by the 14 circuit judges from McLean, Woodford, Logan, Ford and Livingston counties. Judges will conduct interviews of finalists before making an appointment.

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Campbell said her Aug. 8 resignation was tendered to allow her to explore other professional opportunities. Campbell earned about $150,000 a year when she was hired in 2010 to replace retiring Public Defender Amy Davis.

Three days after Campbell left office, county officials accepted the resignation of Jane Foster, hired as a contract public defender by Campbell in December. Foster signed an agreement Aug. 11 drafted by the county to end her work with the public defender's office. 

On Aug. 14, State's Attorney Jason Chambers asked that a special prosecutor be named to investigate "any alleged criminal misconduct" in the public defender's office.

A 6th Judicial Circuit judge approved the request for a special prosecutor from the office of State's Attorney Appellate Prosecutors, the state agency that assists counties when a conflict exists with the handling of a case. The potential for conflict extended all the way to the level of asking for the special prosecutor, making it necessary for the judge outside the 11th Judicial Circuit to be involved.

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