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Public Defender

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.
September 28, 1989 | DOUG SMITH, Times Staff Writer
A judge has dismissed two of three misdemeanor charges against a public defender who was arrested at a 1987 demonstration against a speech by an avowed racist outside the Glendale Holiday Inn. On the third day of testimony in the trial of Deputy Public Defender John Michael Lee, 49, Glendale Municipal Judge Charles E. Horan dismissed charges of obstructing police work and unlawful assembly for lack of evidence. Horan denied a motion by Lee's attorney, Hugh R.
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delayed for 30 days his order cutting back the number of cases assigned to the county public defender's office and has withdrawn a contempt citation against one of the office's supervising attorneys.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.
February 9, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The county's public defender remained on paid leave Tuesday for hiring a lawyer with a criminal background. The Board of Supervisors is weighing whether to fire John E. Roth for hiring an attorney who was convicted last year of paying inmates to solicit business for him inside county jails. County leaders say they hope their decision to place Roth on leave will help assure the public that corrupt practices of the past are over.
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