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Article updated: 1/23/2012 5:43 AM

Married public defenders have 'the toughest job you'll ever love'

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Before his retirement last month, former Cook County Assistant Public Defender Jim Mullenix worked with his wife, fellow assistant public defender Julie Koehler, as members of the Cook County Public Defender's elite homicide task force.

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Until his recent retirement, married defense attorneys Julie Koehler and Jim Mullenix successfully balanced their professional lives defending indigent clients charged with the most serious crimes and their personal lives as parents of two children, with a third on the way.

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

In the courtroom, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler deferred to her husband and sometime co-counsel Jim Mullenix, who she says "has been around the block more." Now Mullenix has taken a step back, having retired.

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Jim Mullenix

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Julie Koehler

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Julie Koehler and Jim Mullenix say one way to cope with the stress of serving as Cook County assistant public defenders is to develop a wicked sense of humor.

Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

About this Article

Defense attorneys Jim Mullenix and Julie Koehler make a pretty good team -- in and out of the courtroom. Professionally, they're 11-2. Of the 13 cases they've tried together for the Cook County public defender's office, seven were acquittals, three ended with guilty verdicts on lesser charges and one was a hung jury. Personally, they've been married for almost six years and are the parents of two young girls.
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    • Before his retirement last month, former Cook County Assistant Public Defender Jim Mullenix worked with his wife, fellow assistant public defender Julie Koehler, as members of the Cook County Public Defender's elite homicide task force.
    •  Until his recent retirement, married defense attorneys Julie Koehler and Jim Mullenix successfully balanced their professional lives defending indigent clients charged with the most serious crimes and their personal lives as parents of two children, with a third on the way.
    •  In the courtroom, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler deferred to her husband and sometime co-counsel Jim Mullenix, who she says “has been around the block more.” Now Mullenix has taken a step back, having retired.
    •  Jim Mullenix
    •  Julie Koehler
    •  Julie Koehler and Jim Mullenix say one way to cope with the stress of serving as Cook County assistant public defenders is to develop a wicked sense of humor.
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