March/April 2013
New Judge for Eighth Circuit: Jane L. Kelly

On April 24, 2013, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Jane Kelly as a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She fills the vacancy left by Circuit Judge Michael J. Melloy, who took senior status in February. She is the second woman and the first public defender to be appointed to the Eighth Circuit.

Jane Louise Kelly was born in Greencastle, Indiana. She received her undergraduate degree in 1987 from Duke University and her law degree in 1991 from Harvard Law School. She began her legal career as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Donald J. Porter of South Dakota. From 1992 to 1993 she served as a law clerk for Circuit Judge David R. Hansen of the Eighth Circuit. During this time she was also a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois College of Law.

In 1994 she began work as an assistant public defender for the Northern District of Iowa, where she has served until this appointment to the federal bench. She served as the supervising attorney of that office since 1999. In 2004, she received the John Adams Award from the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, which honors attorneys who have dedicated their careers to upholding constitutional rights in criminal cases.