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Public Defender

January 13, 1988 | JENIFER WARREN, Times Staff Writer
Sticking doggedly to a position they have held since mid-1986, San Diego County's top administrators Tuesday urged the Board of Supervisors to create an in-house public defender office to represent low-income defendants in criminal cases.
September 19, 1988 | CLAUDIA PUIG, Times Staff Writer
As one of more than 500 public defenders in Los Angeles County, John Michael Lee represents people who are charged with crimes and do not have the money to pay for a private attorney. But these days, Lee, 42, is himself accused of a crime and has secured the services of a private attorney. Like many others, he is struggling to meet the high costs of legal counsel.
October 3, 1988 | DAN MORAIN, Times Staff Writer
Harvey Zall had been demoted and was looking to leave the State Public Defender's office where he had worked since 1977. But then in March, Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to head the agency. "I was down for the nine count, and I came back," Zall said. His fight, however, is far from over. His nomination has splintered the office. The morale of many senior deputies, particularly those who handle death penalty cases, has spiraled downward.
February 15, 1996 | JERRY HICKS
Ronald Y. Butler soon marks his 15th anniversary as this county's public defender. He almost got the boot his first year. Butler's staff got a murder defendant to clam up before his office was appointed to represent the man. The supervisors clearly sided with Sheriff Brad Gates' angry complaint about it. So they set up a blue-ribbon commission of judges and lawyers to determine if Butler was simply too aggressive in defending the local indigent.
August 4, 1989 | NANCY RAY, Times Staff Writer
A North County Municipal Court judge has delayed for 30 days his order cutting back the number of cases assigned to the county public defender's office and has withdrawn a contempt citation against one of the office's supervising attorneys. Judge Victor Ramirez, supervising Municipal Court judge at the Vista Courthouse, agreed in a meeting late Wednesday afternoon with public defenders to give the group a chance to prove it has enough staff members to handle its heavy caseload.
THINK BLUE: A red ribbon signifies support for the fight against AIDS. A yellow ribbon signifies support for the release of hostages. Councilwoman Laura Chick is now modeling the latest symbol of support: the blue ribbon. The tiny ribbon-shaped pin that has adorned her lapel recently represents her support for the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department in the face of harsh criticism from the O.J. Simpson defense team.
November 18, 1993
The Board of Supervisors has chosen Bruce Hoffman, chief deputy of the county public defender's office in Long Beach, to head a new agency that will represent indigent criminal defendants. In August, the board approved the formation of a second public defender's office to handle criminal cases in which the primary public defender declares a conflict of interest--usually because there is more than one defendant needing an appointed lawyer.
October 27, 1985 | United Press International
Edward T. Mancuso, San Francisco's public defender for two decades, died Friday at the age of 84, apparently of a heart attack. Mancuso was stricken while he was waiting to testify in a case in Superior Court. He was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital. Mancuso was appointed as the city's public defender by Mayor Elmer Robinson in 1954. He had spent the previous decade as a San Francisco supervisor.
August 28, 2003 | Stuart Pfeifer, Times Staff Writer
The Orange County Board of Supervisors ended an eight-month search for the county's next public defender Wednesday by promoting a veteran from department ranks. Debbie Kwast, who joined the public defender's office out of law school 25 years ago, has served as interim public defender since January, at a salary of $168,000 a year, which will now be renegotiated. She will oversee nearly 200 attorneys and a budget of $44 million.
May 16, 1987
A Los Angeles County deputy public defender was found dead in a hot tub with a vial of cocaine near his body late Thursday, authorities said. The death of Kelly James Mullins, 35, at the Splash club in West Los Angeles is "being handled as an accidental drowning while pending further investigation of toxicological reports," said Los Angeles police spokesman Bill Frio. Mullins was found floating face down by an attendant who entered after the two-hour period he paid for ended.
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