Van Hoek named SADO director

Dawn Van Hoek has been named director of the State Appellate Defender Office by the Appellate Defender Commission.

Van Hoek succeeds James R. Neuhard, who retired in January.

Donald Martin, chair of the commission that approved the appointment March 16, praised Van Hoek as “a highly respected leader who has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to innovate and manage.

“Her passion for the office and indigent defense system in Michigan is unsurpassed, and the commission is confident that she is the right person for the job.”

The State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) is Michigan’s only state-funded public defense agency, handling about 25 of the state’s indigent appellate assigned caseload.

SADO takes criminal appeals from all Michigan counties.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Van Hoek received her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in 1976. She has practiced law at the State Appellate Defender Office since
that time, serving in numerous capacities including, most recent as chief deputy director.

Her accomplishments at SADO include creation of online resources for the criminal defense bar, management of statewide training projects and publications, and management of SADO’s Lansing office and government relations.

Van Hoek has held numerous prior leadership positions, including chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s Representative Assembly, chair of the State Bar’s Criminal Jury Instructions Committee and co-chair of the State Bar’s Task Force on Racial, Ethnic and Gender Issues in the Courts and Legal Profession. She currently serves as the chairperson of a hearing panel of the Attorney
Discipline Board.

A former president of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Van Hoek now serves as president of the WLAM Foundation.

Her current board memberships include the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, Michigan Campaign for Justice, and Criminal Advocacy Program of Wayne Circuit Court.

Van Hoek was recognized as one of 10 “Lawyers of the Year” in 2005 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. That same year, she received the 2005 “Right to Counsel Award” from the Criminal Defense
Attorneys of Michigan.


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