A word about the El Paso County Public Defender …
I have worked in three public defender offices, including with the El Paso County Public Defender. I have handled co-defendant cases alongside deputy public defenders serving the City and County of San Francisco, Alameda County, Marin County, Santa Clara County, and very occasionally Los Angeles County. I also worked a year with the New Mexico State Public Defender in Las Cruces. These attorneys were some of the most dedicated, well-trained, aggressive and effective attorneys in their respective courthouses. Whenever I needed a sample motion or advice about a specific judge or strategy or you-name-it, the public defender was always one of the first I would go to.
Therefore, it pains me to say that El Paso County’s public defender has problems.
Untrained, unlicensed investigators
For as long as I have practiced the conventional wisdom has been that a good investigator is more important than a good attorney. Whether this is true or not, it is essential to have an investigator who is at least as good as one that has undergone the training and gotten the work experience to be licensed by the state in which they work.
El Paso’s public defender does not require their investigators to be trained or licensed. They learn on the job. What’s worse is they learn not from a lead investigator who is trained and licensed, but entirely on their own. This is not the level of