John J. Rekowski, chief public defender for Madison County, received the prestigious 2005 Clarence Darrow Award from Saint Louis University School of Law in a ceremony at the university recently.

In the April 18 edition of The Record, it was incorrectly reported that Rekowski was "assistant" public defender. The Record regrets the error.

Rekowski, a 1979 law graduate of Saint Louis University, has headed the Madison County Public Defender's office for 20 years.

He founded Rekowski & Associates in Collinsville, and was co-founder of the first drug treatment court in Illinois, which served as a benchmark for the creation of a dozen other similar courts in Illinois. Among his clientele, Rekowski has represented abortion provider, Hope Clinic of Granite City.

He was the first to receive a federal law enforcement grant awarded to a public defender's office in Illinois.

During the awards ceremony, former Illinois Supreme Court Justices Moses Harrison III and Philip Rarick, and Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge were scheduled to pay tribute to Rekowksi.

Named after attorney and civil rights champion Clarence Darrow, the award honors an attorney who has devoted his time, energy and professional reputation to advancing the principle of social equality.

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