David Elgin Approved for Merced County Public Defender Position

The Merced County Board of Supervisors has approved longtime prosecutor David Elgin to lead the county’s public defender’s office. Tuesday’s vote was unanimous, following his selection by Merced County Executive Officer Jim Brown.

Elgin, who currently works as a Merced County supervising deputy district attorney, has spent 14 years in the district attorney’s office. He also previously worked as a private criminal defense attorney and as an officer for the California Highway Patrol. 

“I’m feeling good, and I’m excited about going forward and getting to work,” Elgin said Tuesday. “I want to assess what we’re doing well in the public defender’s office and what we can do better.” 

Elgin begins his job with a full plate. The public defender’s office is still reeling from the resignation of former public defender Eric Dumars, who resigned in January after an internal county investigation into alleged favoritism and retaliation. Last month, another employee was arrested for allegedly helping an inmate escape from custody. In addition, former deputy public defender and daughter of Supervisor Deidre Kelsey, Eloise Kelsey Souders, recently filed a claim against the county after officials released an internal investigation of the public defender’s office which she says harmed her reputation.

Chief Deputy Public Defender Vincent Andrade has been serving as interim public defender since October. Though he was passed up for the job, he says there are no hard feelings and congratulated Elgin on his appointment.

Read more about David Elgin here.