David Brown


Carroll County's new public defender David Brown said he is happy to be working in a small community and is looking forward to helping those who find themselves in trouble.

"Everyone makes mistakes and my job is to help those people work through these mistakes and get their life back," Brown said during a recent interview with the Carroll County Mirror-Democrat/Savanna Times-Journal.

Brown, 61, who resides in the Loran area, has been an attorney for more than 30 years, graduating from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1983. He has had a law practice in Rockford since 1990 and opened a second office last May at 203 W. Market St. in Mount Carroll. This past January, he accepted the position of public defender for Carroll County.

Brown said he was raised on a farm in DeKalb County with four siblings, immersed in agriculture. His father worked as a farm broadcaster at a DeKalb radio station.

"I always had an ag interest," Brown said.

However, as the youngest in his family, he looked for a different path. One of Brown's brothers is also an attorney and Brown first attended college in Chicago-Kent College of Law. However, he did not enjoy life in a metropolitan area and instead completed his education at the NIU College of Law, becoming part of the law school's first graduating class (1983).

However, he maintained his agriculture roots with his wife of 34 years, Renee, and their two (adult) daughters. The family resides on a 250-acre farm in Stephenson County. There his family raises Percheron horses, including a racehorse that won the most races at Arlington Park last year.

Throughout the years, Brown has been commuting each day to Rockford and working quite a lot, he said. However, things changed in August 2018, when he went into his doctor for a stress test only to learn he needed triple-bypass open-heart surgery. He decided then that he wanted to be home more often.

"And (Carroll County) had this public defender opening," Brown said, adding that he is excited about serving a smaller area, much like the one he grew up in.

"I've never had the opportunity to work in the community I lived in," Brown said. "Mount Carroll is a neat town."

Brown has served as public defender for Ogle and Winnebago counties, as well as 25 years on the Federal Defender Panel. However, after years of working a private practice, Brown said he is still getting used to being public defender.

"I had forgotten what it's like," Brown said. "I'm getting back, kind of, to the basics of where I started."

Brown said he is enjoying getting to know Carroll County's judges, attorneys and jailers. He also enjoys working with the defendants and helping them.

"I really try to find the best in everybody," said Brown, adding, "People generally want to be good and want to work hard and do the best thing they can."

One of Brown's daughters is a teacher in Mount Horeb, Wis., and the other is a veterinarian in Cassopolis, Mich.,, with a specialty of horses. He and his wife are awaiting the birth of their first grandchild.