CHARLESTON — Longtime Coles County Public Defender Lonnie Lutz plans to retire later this year, leaving a position he’s had for three decades.

Lutz submitted his resignation to the county’s judges earlier this month and indicated he plans leave the office June 30.

Lutz said Friday the resignation is part of his plan to retire from practicing law. Lutz has worked exclusively on court-appointed cases since 2006 and before that split time between a private practice and public defender duties since December 1980.

The 12 circuit judges in the five-county judicial circuit that includes Coles County will appoint the new public defender.

Coles County Presiding Judge James Glenn said applications are due May 1 to try to make sure someone is in the position as soon as Lutz leaves.

Lutz was an assistant public defender when then-Public Defender Nancy Owen was elected as Coles County’s state’s attorney in 1980. He then took over the public defender’s office.

He also maintained a private law practice along with his public defender’s duties until 2006. That’s when the Coles County Board approved a salary arrangement that met state reimbursement requirements that allowed and required him to work exclusively on his court-appointed cases.

Lutz said he expects the new public defender to be in that position full time as well.| (217) 238-6858

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