WHEATON, Ill. (STMW) – DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett has been appointed to the Second District Appellate Court effective Dec. 13.

Birkett’s term will run through Dec. 3, 2012, according to a release issued Wednesday by the Illinois Supreme Court. He is replacing Judge John M. O’Malley, who is retiring Dec. 5.

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Birkett met with his entire staff Wednesday afternoon to advise them of the recent appointment. Following are the remarks Birkett gave to his staff:

“Today I was informed that I was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Second District Appellate Court created by Justice O’Malley’s retirement. My last day of work will be Dec. 10, 2010, and I will be sworn in as a justice of the Second District on Dec. 13.

“I’m confident that this office will continue to lead, and I’m counting on you to ensure that my successor is just as effective, if not more effective, than I have been as state’s attorney. Our new County Board Chairman Dan Cronin has assured me that the person he appoints will be an experienced prosecutor who is honorable and respected by the legal and law enforcement communities.”

Birkett was sworn in as DuPage County state’s attorney in October 1996. He filled the unexpired term of Jim Ryan, who ran for Illinois attorney general. He was later elected to a four-year term in November 1996, and re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Before that, he served as an assistant state’s attorney in the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office beginning in October 1981.

In 2002, Birkett ran for Illinois attorney general as the Republican nominee, but lost to Democrat Lisa Madigan.

Birkett initially mentioned an interest in the appellate court in February following the sentencing of Brian Dugan for the murder of Jeanine Nicarico. He said at that time that when his term is over in November 2012, he likely would not seek re-election. Instead, he said he would strive for new positions, possibly with the appellate court and eventually the Illinois Supreme Court.

Birkett thanked his staff for all the accomplishments.

“We have done so much together. We’ve protected the taxpayers and ensured honest government. We’ve held offenders accountable and improved the quality of life for crime victims and their families. We’ve changed the law in many areas to better address the needs of our citizens throughout Illinois.

“You gave me a great resume to submit with my application. Each one of you has played a role in helping me achieve a lifelong goal. Thank you for everything.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)