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Tough to Defend

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Editor:

Thank you for your efforts to keep us taxpayers informed regarding the hiring of the public defender for Humboldt County (NCJ Daily, April 13). Your coverage underscores the crucial necessity of a free press and I appreciate your persistence.

Also, I commend the deputy public defenders and non-legal staff who have demonstrated their commitment to us taxpayers by communicating what they are seeing and experiencing as they attempt to do their jobs. I am sure it is very stressful to work for someone who is not up to the requirements. It cannot be easy for an employee to sign onto a letter stating the incompetence of their leader. I don't know what I would do in a similar situation because the risks of losing income and health insurance hits hard. I am inspired by their courage, and I thank them.

Finally, I must say I am very disappointed in Supervisor Rex Bohn. His remarks, as provided in the transcript of his visit to the KINS radio show ("Supes Evaluate Public Defender as His Office Sends Another Blistering Letter," posted online April 11), indicate he is not practicing due diligence in his job. Supervisor Bohn stated that he does not understand the law that provides the criteria for hiring a public defender, "... I don't know if that means he has to start in San Diego courts and work his way up to get this."

If Supervisor Bohn did not understand, why didn't he ask for clarification? It is his obligation to find out what the law means and to abide by it. It is not acceptable for a public servant to decide that he doesn't have to follow a law he does not understand. I suggest Supervisor Bohn use the resources available (Internet, legal staff) to investigate what laws mean and if that is not something he can do, perhaps he should resign.

Sheila Evans, Eureka

Editor:

From the beginning the process of hiring David Marcus has bothered me. Now it is an outrage. Supervisors Rex Bohn and Estelle Fennell need to set aside their foolish pride and make right the horrible selection they are so stubbornly clinging to with David Marcus as the county public defender.

They made a choice they can't even back up with anything credible. It's embarrassing and a huge slap in the face to all those working in that office. How dare they pretend to know better than the attorneys and the non-attorney staff!!

Holy Crap! Does it really take a lawsuit for reason to be reached?

Kathryn Travers, Eureka

Editor:

The Board of Supervisors has hired a scoundrel to lead the public defenders and he has not garnered rave reviews. Mr. David Marcus has been accused of incompetence in a statement signed by the nine deputy public defenders who work under him, and in an additional letter signed by eight of his staff members. They think that he is doing such a terrible job that they are willing to put their jobs on the line. These actions are a blistering vote of no-confidence in the leader that was chosen for them by the supervisors.

On April 11, the Supervisors held a second special meeting to reconsider the hiring of Mr. Marcus. They decided to keep him. Shortly afterward, Mr. Marcus allegedly verbally abused one of his employees to the extent that she felt threatened, and filed a police report. No crime was committed, but the employee wanted to be on record, in case it happened again.

It is only a short hop from uncontrolled anger to aggression. His verbal abuse of a member of his staff crosses a black and blue line, and he should be terminated immediately as the chief public defender. His incompetence and his anger issues are severely demoralizing the deputy public defenders, and jeopardizing the legal advocacy of its clients. Failure to replace him indicates that the supervisors don't support the public defender's office, and that they are satisfied with his far from stellar performance.

Marilyn Andrews, Arcata

Editor:

What is at stake with the hiring of David Marcus is no less than the very lives and liberty of our fellow Humboldt County citizens.

The local press, including the North Coast Journal, have been responsible in covering this travesty of justice, and most of us can well determine that Mr. Marcus' competence is in question. What is not in question is the clear incompetence of the Board of Supervisors, who would misspend our limited taxpayer dollars while putting our freedom and constitutional rights in jeopardy.

I can only hope the voters of Humboldt County will not have forgotten this fiasco on Election Day, June 5, 2018. 

Richard Salzman, Arcata

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