The saga of the flawed hiring of the flawed county chief public defender continues. In the latest episode, all nine of the county public defenders signed a letter stating that David Marcus is unqualified to be their chief public defender (NCJ Daily, March 30). Mr. Marcus was hired by the Board of Supervisors, and has served as Humboldt's chief public defender since February. If one or two public defenders had objected to Mr. Marcus, it could be construed as an arbitrary complaint by a disgruntled employee. For all nine to express their deep concerns and dissatisfaction took a great deal of courage, and leaves little room for doubt that there are serious problems with their boss.
The supervisors were elected to serve all the citizens of Humboldt County, including those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The public defender's clients are particularly vulnerable right now because of Mr. Marcus, and may be getting poor legal representation. It is time for the Board of Supervisors once again to reconsider the hiring of David Marcus as Humboldt County's chief public defender.
Marilyn Andrews, Arcata
Kudos to all nine of the Humboldt County deputy public defenders for rightfully standing up and speaking out against their completely unqualified boss, David Marcus. It is very concerning that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors did not heed any of these concerns prior to hiring this unqualified individual. As a tax paying resident of Humboldt County, I ask: Where do the special interests lie and why did the Board of Supervisors once again ignore the community's concerns? It is also apparent that Marcus' lack of experience will actually benefit certain groups of people, while inhibiting the ones he's meant to serve. His hiring by the Board of Supervisors serves a function and this function is not to defend the public. He is not qualified for his role.
This seems "par for the course" for this group of individuals whom we look to lead our county with integrity and transparency. Both are lacking. The supervisors seem to think they are above the rules and regulations set in place to protect our most vulnerable citizens, the poor. Those who need public defenders.
"Not only does it jeopardize the rights of our clients to the effective assistance of counsel, but puts staff at risk of unhealthy and unethical work conditions," the deputy public defenders wrote.
Clearly this Marcus individual has ties to the Board of Supervisors that has blinded them to his absolute lack of experience. And now all nine of our deputy public defenders find themselves in the position of asking the Board of Supervisors to do the right thing and reconsider their hire. A complete waste of time and tax dollars.
Our elected officials obviously need to take their responsibilities more seriously. They were elected to serve all residents of Humboldt County, not just those they have connections to and business deals with.
Aunna Bollmann, Samoa