L.A.’s Public Defenders Rally Against New Boss

Plenty of people don’t like their boss. But L.A. County’s public defenders have taken it to a whole new level.

On Monday, 150 employees with the Public Defender’s Office showed up with signs, t-shirts, and chants to protest the appointment of interim public defender Nicole Davis Tinkham.

As County News reported last month, the majority of attorneys in the public defender's office were opposed to Tinkham's hiring from the get-go. Not only do they believe she’s unqualified, but they take issue with her prior representation of members of the sheriff’s department as part of her previous work for a private law firm. In one of those cases, a deputy was on trial for shooting a 15-year-old in the back while the boy was holding a toy gun.

Alisa Blair, the deputy in charge of the public defender's unit at Los Padrinos Juvenile Courthouse, wondered how Tinkham’s appointment would impact client trust.

"They're going to say, 'You're representing the body that mistreats us in the jails, that polices our neighborhoods unnecessarily.' "

Another public defender called Tinkham’s appointment “a slap in the face.”

Amid the controversy, Tinkham issued a statement asking department personnel to give her a chance.

"In the days and weeks ahead," Tinkham wrote, "I hope that these passionate public servants will come to see that I, too, am singularly committed to enhancing the office's effectiveness so its clients can be even better served."

Read more at the L.A. Times