Public Defenders

Public defender in California resigns after suit challenged his qualifications

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The public defender in Humboldt County, California, has resigned after a lawsuit challenged his qualifications for office.

David Marcus resigned Nov. 22 after nine months on the job, report the Times Standard and the North Coast News Journal. The lawyer who filed the suit, Patrik Griego, will drop the case, the North Coast Journal News Blog reports.

Griego’s suit had contended Marcus didn’t meet the statutory requirement that public defenders must have been “a practicing attorney in all the courts of the state for at least the year preceding the date of his election or appointment.”

Marcus was the chief public defender in another California county from 2005 to 2011, but he lived in Florida and worked as the CEO of a dental company for five years before his appointment in Humboldt County.

The county claimed Marcus met the qualifications requirement because he maintained an active law license in California and was doing some contract legal work for a California law firm.

According to the North Coast Journal, there was “a mass exodus of experienced attorneys” from the public defender’s office in recent months.

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