L.A. County Hires New Public Defender

L.A. County has finally found the person it wants to head the nation’s oldest and largest public defender’s office.

Criminal defense attorney Ricardo Garcia was named to the post by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors last week. His contract is expected be finalized Sept. 4.

Garcia currently works as a supervising attorney in the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office. He previously served in the Department of Alternate Public Defender and as Criminal Justice Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California where he monitored LAPD compliance with a federal consent decree.

Garcia’s hiring has been a long time coming. L.A. County has been without a permanent public defender since Ronald Brown’s retirement two years ago. The appointment of Interim Public Defender Nicole Davis Tinkham then caused a major backlash amongst department lawyers and staff who complained she was unfit for the job and hampered by conflicts of interest.

Not so this time.

“We are impressed with the caliber of attorney the board has selected to run our office and optimistic about the era of criminal justice reform we are poised to lead,” said attorney Tiffiny Blacknell, who once helped lead protests against Tinkham. “All we ever wanted was quality leadership to further our great cause and we believe Ricardo Garcia to be such a leader."