Service to one’s country and one’s community were at the heart of Brendan Kelly’s upbringing, and formed his values as a husband, father, prosecutor and veteran.
With the help of a Navy ROTC scholarship, Brendan attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a degree in Government and International Relations and earning a commission as an officer in the United States Navy.
After receiving a law degree from St. Louis University, Brendan served as an Assistant State’s Attorney, prosecuting crime and standing up for victims. In 2010, Brendan became the State’s Attorney for St. Clair County.
As the youngest member of the board, he served as the representative for the National District Attorneys Association as an observer of the prosecution of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
Brendan strengthened the law enforcement functions of the State’s Attorney’s office, creating a new violent crime unit and revolutionizing the prosecution of domestic assault cases, more than doubling the rate of charges in those cases.
He created a children’s justice division to prosecute crimes against children and fought to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual assault. He served as an executive committee member of Fight Crime, Invest in Kids and as Chairman of the St. Clair County Child Advocacy Center.
He also was the first State’s Attorney in Illinois to file suit against big pharmaceutical manufacturers for maximizing profits by deceiving patients about the dangers of certain prescribed opioids that have led to addiction, overdose, death and fueled the heroin epidemic. The lawsuit is now a model for similar suits around the state.
The Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission named Brendan “Southern Illinois Prosecutor of the Year” for his tough, effective work to prosecute crime and his passion for justice.