Janssen Malloy LLP Asks Court to Fast-Track Discovery to Protect Indigent Public Defender Clients

Janssen Malloy LLP filed a petition for a writ of mandate directing the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to comply with Government Code 27701.  The link to the North Coast Journal article and the pleadings can be found here(link is external)

Government Code Section 27701 states:  “A person is not eligible to the office of public defender unless he has been a practicing attorney in all the courts of the State for at least the year preceding the date of his election or appointment.” 

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors appointed David Marcus as the Chief Public Defender upon the retirement of Kevin Robinson.  Mr. Marcus had not been practicing in the courts of California for the year preceding the date of his appointment, as required by Government Code Section 27701.  In fact, Mr. Marcus had not practiced criminal law for at least five years before appointment.  He was living in Florida when he applied for the job. Prior to leaving California for the East Coast, Mr. Marcus had worked at the Lassen County Public Defender’s office and was the subject of a scathing Grand Jury report for having an overly cozy relationship with the District Attorney’s Office and only showing up to work 30-40% of the time. 

The Board of Supervisors hired Mr. Marcus after taking the highly unusual step of forming an advisory committee consisting of the Humboldt County District Attorney, the Humboldt County Undersheriff, and the Chief Probation Officer. 

Janssen Malloy LLP encourages concerned citizens who are being represented by the Public Defender’s office, or have family members being represented by the Public Defender’s Office to contact us with information regarding this case.

We further encourage concerned citizens to contact the Board of Supervisors and express why it is important to have an excellent Chief Public Defender who has been continuously practicing criminal law.   The Board of Supervisors and their families may not need or qualify for a Public Defender, but the majority of our community relies upon the Public Defender’s office when accused of a crime.  Phone numbers for each of the members of the Board of Supervisors follows:

  •  1st District Rex Bohn:  707 476-2391
  • 2nd District Estelle Fennell: 707 476-2392
  • 3rd District Mike Wilson: 707 476-2393
  • 4th District Virginia Bass: 707 476-2394
  • 5th District Ryan Sundberg: 707 476-2395