Woman sentenced for posing as attorney in public defender's office

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – She graduated from law school but apparently couldn’t pass the bar. Authorities said she faked being an attorney in the Madison County public defender’s office. On Friday, she pleaded guilty to a felony in an Edwardsville courtroom.

Kelcie Miller, 26, got probation and she was ordered to pay back more than $40,000 to the county for pay and benefits she received. She had worked on scores of cases with defendants.

“My feeling when I found out she wasn’t a lawyer was almost ill,” said public defender John Rekowski, Miller’s former boss.

Miller walked out of the courthouse trying to hide her face after pleading guilty to false personation of an attorney. She had no comment.

Miller apparently forged a state document saying she was a licensed lawyer. Authorities said she pulled off the crime while working in the public defender’s office on about 80 different cases.

Rekowski said his 11 attorneys—three of which work part-time—already had a huge caseload: approximately 3,500 cases a year. This crime resulted in even more work for his office.

Rekowski said most of the 80 defendants were happy with the outcome of cases involving Miller. The other three or four cases were reconciled. Miller’s chances of ever becoming a licensed attorney in Illinois seem unlikely.

“With this felony conviction, she should not be able to get a law license and hold herself out as an attorney or be a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois,” said Madison County First Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe. “The citizens of Madison County will be made whole by the restoration that was assessed in the courtroom today.”

The public defender said he’s being more thorough in making sure his lawyers have licenses. The prosecutor said Miller failed the bar exam three times.

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