Elizabeth Diaz Appointed Fresno County Public Defender
Fresno County’s former interim public defender, Elizabeth Diaz, has assumed the permanent public defender position. Although the Board of Supervisors still has to confirm the appointment, County Administrator Officer John Navarrette said Diaz began her new job on Monday. She replaces Kenneth Taniguchi who retired in December after six years with the county.
As public defender, Diaz will oversee what experts have said are some of the largest caseloads they have ever seen. In September, eighty percent of the county’s public defenders sent a letter to officials objecting to their working conditions and, in particular, the immense number of caseloads they were expected to deal with. The Board of Supervisors has since attempted to lighten the load with the addition of 17 new staffers scheduled to begin in October.
Diaz has been with the public defender’s office for 24 years. In 2005, she was promoted to chief defense attorney and, in 2007, she became assistant public defender.
The maximum salary for the public defender position in Fresno County is $155,168.
Read more about Elizabeth Diaz’s appointment here.