<< Five people affiliated with white nationalist hate group Patriot Front are suing a Seattle-area man who they say infiltrated the group and disclosed their identities online, leading them to lose their jobs and face harassment.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for Western Washington, The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday. The suit accuses David Capito, 37, also known as Vyacheslav Arkhangelskiy, of using a false name in 2021 when Patriot Front accepted him as a member.
Then, Capito allegedly took photos at the group’s Pacific Northwest gatherings, recorded members’ license plates, and used hidden microphones to record conversations, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges that around November 2021, Capito got in touch with “anarchist hackers” known for targeting far-right groups, who helped him access Patriot Front’s online chats.
Resulting leaks published online exposed the names, occupations, home addresses, and other identifying information about the group’s members, who had sought to hide their involvement.>>
<<As a result of the members’ identities surfacing on the internet — the five plaintiffs say they were fired from their jobs, threatened at their homes, and have had their tires slashed, among other consequences, the lawsuit says.
Three of the plaintiffs have Washington state ties: Colton Brown, who lived near Maple Valley and led the state’s Patriot Front chapter; James Julius Johnson from Concrete and his wife Amelia Johnson.
Brown and James Julius Johnson were among 31 Patriot Front members arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, last year and charged with planning to riot at a Pride event. Johnson and four other men were convicted of misdemeanor conspiracy to riot and sentenced last month to several days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The two other plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit are Paul Gancarz of Virginia and Daniel Turetchi of Pennsylvania.>>
<<The federal complaint on behalf of the Patriot Front plaintiffs was filed by Christopher Hogue, a Spokane attorney, and Glen Allen, an attorney from Baltimore, Maryland. >>
<<Nearly three years after Portlanders overwhelmingly voted to establish a new system to address police officer misconduct, the details of the new oversight body are coming into focus.
Portland City Council will decide next month whether to adopt new code language that delineates the power and structure of the voter-approved system. The proposal comes from a commission of 20 city-appointed volunteers tasked with drafting this text and creating a transition plan from the current oversight system to the new body by 2025.
While members of the public who advocated for the new oversight body are eager to see the long-awaited plan fall into place, the proposal has garnered hesitation from city politicians who question whether voters still support a police oversight system divorced from the police bureau.
Yet there’s little room — or time — for adjustment: The system must be presented to the U.S. Department of Justice by November for approval, and it must match the requirements of the voter-approved measure.
Members of the Police Accountability Commission who have spent two years laying the groundwork are hoping for success.
“We are trying to build something that’s not going to be just sort of another flash-in-the-pan system that’s going to need to be replaced again in a couple years,” said KC Lewis, a commission member and attorney with Disability Rights Oregon. “Something that is going to serve everybody justly and build confidence in the city of Portland, and hopefully build confidence and trust with the Portland Police Bureau.”
The city’s current police oversight system has run low on public trust for years.
Since 2001, the Independent Police Review has been responsible for reviewing complaints from members of the public who believe an officer violated police bureau policies — allegations that include everything from officer profanity to unjustified use of force.
If an investigator with the Independent Police Review determines that an officer has violated policy, they kick their findings to the police chief or police commissioner to determine if discipline is warranted.
That discipline can be overturned by an arbitrator if the police union appeals. If an investigator finds no evidence of misconduct, they dismiss the complaint — unless the person who filed the initial complaint appeals to a volunteer review board, called the Citizen Review Committee.
The Independent Police Review is barred from investigating some of the most egregious misconduct allegations, like cases where an officer uses deadly force or where a person dies while in police custody. Those complaints are reviewed by a panel of five people, three of whom are police bureau staff.
This system has long drawn criticism from police accountability advocates for giving the police bureau outsized influence in investigations into the most serious allegations against their coworkers. The Independent Police Review’s investigations are confidential and the oversight body plays no role in choosing consequences for officers who violate city policy.
For those with a front-row seat to this system, the lack of transparency undermines any sense of accountability. Candace Avalos, executive director of the environmental justice nonprofit Verde, has sat on the Citizen Review Committee since 2017. Because the appeals board can’t compel officers accused of misconduct to testify or attend their appeals hearings, the commission is forced to draw conclusions based on scant information
“A lot of times in these complaints, it’s just miscommunication that could be cleared up with a simple conversion between the complainant and the officer,” Avalos said. “Instead they drag on for months.”
Avalos and others on the Citizen Review Committee lobbied the City Council to update its police oversight system for years. But it took the momentum of 2020′s social uprising over systemic racism and police violence to get an overhaul on the ballot.
Measure 26-217, the proposal championed in City Hall by former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, passed with 82% voter support in November 2020.
The measure set the stage for the city to replace the Independent Police Review with a new city department to oversee police misconduct. That office will be led and informed by a city-appointed oversight board, which will have significantly more power than its predecessor.
The measure guarantees a budget for that new department that is no less than 5% of the police bureau’s budget, which this fiscal year would have been $13 million. The Independent Police Review currently has a budget of $3 million, 23% of the future department’s budget.
Per the measure, that board has the power to investigate all deaths in custody, uses of deadly force, complaints of force causing injury, discrimination and violations of constitutional rights. The board also has the authority to subpoena documents and compel statements from police officers during investigations, and discipline and fire officers.
The measure, which has now been codified in the city’s charter, explicitly prohibits people who have worked for a law enforcement agency and their immediate family members from serving on the oversight board.
Measure 26-217 instructed the City Council to appoint a Police Accountability Commission to hammer out the system’s finer details.
Those details are included in the code language headed to Council this month.
The commission shared a draft version of the proposed code earlier this month.
It instructs the oversight board to be made up of 33 members appointed by City Council for three-year terms. The board will receive a to-be-determined financial stipend, be responsible for investigating all citizen complaints against police officers, and must resolve investigations within six months.
The commission suggests that most board complaint hearings be public, which is not the case with the Independent Police Review. It also instructs the board to follow the police bureau’s discipline guidelines when considering officer discipline. Under the proposed rules, police bureau leadership is not allowed to lessen the severity of discipline ordered by the board.
After the board is appointed by council by 2025, board members will hire a director to lead the next oversight office. That director will be responsible for hiring office staff to assist in policy research, data analysis, communications, public engagement and any other tasks to support the board’s work. The commission estimates a staff of up to 56 people. In comparison, the Independent Police Review has a staff of 12.
After more than a year of work, the Police Accountability Commission is confident their proposal will set the new oversight group up for success.
“City Council gave us a clear charge of what they wanted from us,” Lewis said, “and we feel that we have delivered exactly what they asked us for.”
Yet council members have been lukewarm about the future oversight system.
Earlier this year, members of the commission spoke before Council about their progress on the transition plan and code language. During these meetings, city commissioners expressed concern with the basic tenets of Measure 26-217.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as police commissioner, said he was worried that the public wouldn’t take the board seriously if it didn’t include police officers. Commissioner Mingus Mapps balked at the size of the board’s budget. Told that these voter-approved factors weren’t up to the commission to tweak, Commissioner Rene Gonzalez suggested maybe voters’ minds have changed.
“What was adopted in 2020 by voters… it’s frankly a very different voting base that exists in 2023,” Gonzalez said.
That’s not the impression Police Accountability Commission members have taken away from their more than 150 public meetings. Members say they largely heard concerns that the group isn’t working fast enough to stand up the needed oversight body, or fears that the new board might not really be as powerful as promised.
“We’re trying to create something on behalf of the community,” said commission member and retired substance abuse counselor Charlie Michelle-Westley. “It’s important for the city council to know who we’re doing this for…and to listen to them.”
Dan Handelman, founder of police accountability group Portland Copwatch and a commission member, said that City Council’s worries may be rooted in a different political shift.
“Even though the population hasn’t changed [since 2020], the City Council’s changed,” Handelman, who’s documented police use of force cases since the early 1990s, said. “And I think that’s an important thing for everybody to remember.”
Wheeler is the only current member of City Council who was in office when council referred Measure 26-217 to the ballot in 2020. From the measure’s inception, Wheeler has aired concerns about the police not playing a role in their own oversight system.
“My concern is if this isn’t seen as a balanced or fair approach to oversight and accountability it will quickly be seen as an illegitimate process,” Wheeler said at a May council meeting.>>
<<This isn’t the first time newer City Council members have questioned the intent of measures approved by voters before they moved into City Hall’s second floor offices. In July, Commissioners Dan Ryan and Gonzalez proposed altering key parts of the voter-approved amendments to the city’s charter, citing concern that voters might not have understood what they approved. Much of that plan collapsed following public outcry.
Avalos, with the Citizen Review Committee, also sat on a committee that shaped the charter amendment measure — and testified against Ryan and Gonzalez’s proposed changes. With council members again questioning the will of voters, this time those who approved the police oversight board, Avalos said she’s losing faith in local government.
“It feels anti-democratic to tell voters that they know better,” said Avalos, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2020. “It means we have to keep our eyes on elected officials, so they know they can’t disregard us. It’s a shame, but that’s where we’re at. I think they underestimate that people are paying attention.”>>
<<The union representing 802 rank and file police officers has stayed relatively quiet about the coming overhaul. The Portland Police Association initially filed a grievance against the Portland Police Bureau after Measure 26-217 passed, arguing that by referring the matter to voters, the city wrongly bypassed union negotiations to adopt a new discipline policy. But this argument faded after state lawmakers passed a law carving out an exception to labor laws allowing for voter-approved police accountability boards to be effective without labor talks.
Following this challenge, Portland Police Association President Sgt. Aaron Schmautz expressed his cautious support of the new oversight system in a meeting with the Police Accountability Commission. Schmautz said officers are also interested in an oversight system that moves swiftly.
“When things take too long it deprives the officer of clear direction to ensure they’re meeting the community’s expectations,” Schmautz said in a July 2022 meeting. “It deprives them of closure.”
Yet Schmautz panned the idea of public hearings, fearing they could unfairly villainize officers who are later cleared of misconduct accusations. Schmautz declined to comment on the oversight board’s code language now headed to City Council.>>
<<The 2021 case of two Portland patrol officers who fired 15 times at the fleeing driver of a stolen truck once again highlights the Police Bureau’s lack of accountability for officers and supervisors who violate policy, U.S. Justice Department lawyers say in their latest report.
The officers fired at a moving vehicle and one officer fired over the head of the other.
Both are contrary to police directives and training, the Justice Department lawyers said. Supervisors also failed to have the officers justify each bullet fired as required, they noted.>>
<<The Police Bureau stands by its own assessment of the 2021 non-fatal shooting that wounded the thief of the stolen AAA roadside assistance pickup. Police found the shooting was within bureau policy and didn’t discipline either officer.
The shooting was “thoroughly reviewed by the city attorney’s office, investigated by internal affairs and reviewed by both the training division and the Police Review Board,” said police spokesperson Lt. Nathan Sheppard.>>
<<The City Attorney’s Office has given WW a series of emails containing complaints of unequal pay in the office and unprofessional behavior by City Attorney Robert Taylor.
The emails, produced in response to WW’s public records request, are heavily redacted and do not include the names of what appear to be at least two separate complainants. One is identified as a BIPOC woman and, based on the circumstances outlined in the emails, was working with Taylor on ongoing litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding police use of force toward people with mental illness.
According to the woman, a federal attorney conveyed concerns that Taylor was “condescending and patronizing.” The woman says Taylor then interrupted court-ordered mediation among a judge, the city and the Department of Justice attorneys to discuss “interpersonal issues” and “gossip.”
“The only purpose of Robert’s ill-timed monologue appeared to be to humiliate and intimidate me and AUSA [redacted]. And he was successful.
Not only was Robert’s behavior extremely unprofessional and detrimental to the case and the ultimate resolution of the Settlement Agreement, but also bullying,” the woman said in an email reviewed by WW.
On Jan. 24, she filed a complaint with the city’s Bureau of Human Resources, according to an email. “I have never felt so embarrassed and bullied in my life, let alone career,” she said. Her career spans nearly two decades, according to the emails.>>
<<The allegations are significant for several reasons. The City Attorney’s Office oversees some of the most delicate policy matters in Portland government—including the settlement with the feds over police brutality toward people with mental illness, a decadelong negotiation.
It is also worth noting that similar allegations by a deputy city attorney scuttled the tenure of former mayoral aide Sam Adams, who was working with that office to find legal avenues to reduce street camping.
In a separate incident, the same woman accused Taylor of “shushing” her in a meeting with Portland Police Bureau brass. “It was so awful that several command level PPB staff present at the meeting checked in with me after the meeting to make sure I was okay, as did a paralegal and attorney from CAO,” she writes. Taylor later apologized.
One woman has already left the office due to “this disparate treatment,” the woman said.
In another email included in the batch of complaints sent to WW, chief deputy city attorney Heidi Brown said she was obliged to report to the head of Human Resources that an attorney in the office had received a text “accusing Robert of being sexist.”
In another complaint, a person who appears to be a woman (again, the name is redacted, but she says in one of the emails that she’d given a speech for Oregon Women Lawyers) says she was stripped of work after asking for higher pay, and was told by Taylor that she was at least several years away from a promotion because she was perceived as “unstable.” Taylor later apologized and recommended the complaint be referred to an outside facilitator.
The woman ultimately declined to move forward with an official complaint, according to an email on March 23. “Please understand that this is not due to the fact that I no longer believe that Mr. Taylor behaved inappropriately. It is only because I cannot deal with an investigation that will potentially lead to retaliation/termination/demotion/lack of promotion, and inevitably be detrimental to my legal career in Portland. City Attorney Taylor is much more powerful than I am,” she wrote.>>
<<On the afternoon of Aug. 1, Multnomah County Corrections Deputy Kirk Evanoff was making his rounds on the seventh floor of Portland’s maximum-security downtown jail.
He’d been working more than 14 hours, the tail end of a double shift.
Thanks to short-staffing, he was responsible for checking on 64 cells, double the typical number.
Some time that afternoon, he peered through the window of Cell 26.
Clemente Pineda was lying facedown on the floor near the door.
This wasn’t remarkable to Evanoff, even though the 36-year-old Pineda had been that way since lunch. As Evanoff later told WW, inmates often appear incapacitated due to the powerful drugs smuggled in to the jail.
Evanoff asked Pineda if he wanted meds. Pineda didn’t respond, Evanoff says, so he and the accompanying health care aide moved on. At no time while Pineda was facedown on the floor during Evanoff’s shift that afternoon did the inmate receive medical care, the deputy tells WW.
Shortly before Evanoff’s shift ended, he wrote a note describing Pineda’s state. “[He] was unresponsive during medpass but is most definitely breathing,” it said.
Around an hour after Evanoff’s shift ended, Pineda stopped breathing.
Jail employees rushed to resuscitate him, but it was too late. Pineda’s was the sixth death of an inmate in Multnomah County jails since May.
On Aug. 11, Evanoff was fired. The county offered no explanation, Evanoff says, but he believes he was made a scapegoat. “I followed policy,” he tells WW. “He showed no signs of distress and was breathing.”
In the days following Pineda’s death, Evanoff’s log message was circulated by jail staff shocked by the circumstances of the death. His documentation undermined the official story.
The county had said in a press release that Pineda was “found unresponsive in their cell” at around 4:15 and “corrections deputies immediately began lifesaving measures.” But Evanoff’s note implied that jail staff were aware of his condition far earlier.>>
<<The quick firing of Evanoff prior to completion of an investigation is likely an attempt to shield the county from liability. Whether or not staff is ultimately found negligent, imposing discipline helps protect the county from claims it violated inmates’ civil rights.
“That’s the jail covering their ass,” explains Matthew Kaplan, a litigator with experience filing wrongful death lawsuits against county jails.>>
<<Internal documents and WW interviews with current and former staff reveal the jails’ struggles to adapt to a series of interconnected crises: the influx of the deadly new drug fentanyl, the increasing severity of inmates’ mental illnesses, and a staffing crisis that some say has made the jail more dangerous.
<<In recent weeks, the sheriff has gone on a publicity tour touting recent changes, including an aggressive new strip search policy.
But not all of her appearances have been publicized. Earlier this month, WW has learned, Sheriff O’Donnell showed up at staff meetings with a stern warning: Falsify jail logbooks and you will get fired. It’s believed to be a response to suspicions that deputies failed to follow protocol prior to one of the deaths, then forged their logs to suggest they had.>>
<<The county has acknowledged, under questioning from WW, that two of the deaths this year were suicides. In both cases, the men had shown signs of mental illness.
This isn’t uncommon: 32% to 80% of inmates in Multnomah County jails are believed to have a mental illness, according to a 2018 report by Disability Rights Oregon.
But it raises the question of whether the men received appropriate care.>>
<<But the county auditor pointed to a systemic issue with the county’s specialty housing for inmates with mental illness in a report released early last year: While the county added housing, it didn’t budget for more specialized staff. (A spokesman says there’s a “mental health team” of one sergeant and one deputy that spend time at both jails, including Dorm 15.)>>
<<In fiscal year 2020, the sheriff’s office had 11 job vacancies. Two years later, in 2022, there were 44. The county is “aggressively hiring corrections deputies,” a spokeswoman says, but as of earlier this month there were still 30 empty positions.
Meanwhile, mandatory overtime has skyrocketed and morale has plummeted.>>
<<Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has announced a return to jailing anyone arrested for a felony or misdemeanor offense in the county.
The “open booking” policy was narrowed during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid outbreaks in jails, according to MCSO.>>
<<A federal court order issued Tuesday requires the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to release defendants facing criminal charges from jail within 10 days if they can’t secure legal representation.
Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton acknowledged the ruling in a news release Tuesday evening. He issued a statement calling on Oregon leaders to take “immediate and meaningful action” to address the state’s chronic public defender shortage, and said his office would continue to advocate for solutions in court.>>
<<Fidel Cassino-DuCloux, the Federal Public Defender for Oregon, filed the case against Sheriff Pat Garrett in July on behalf of multiple defendants in Washington County, arguing that holding them in jail or placing them under restrictive conditions without public defenders available deprives them of their Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.
The petitioners filed a motion last week asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order compelling the sheriff to release all of the defendants from jail after seven days unless attorneys were appointed to them, and court records show the motion was partially granted at a hearing on Tuesday.
Oregon’s public defender system is the only one in the nation that relies entirely on contractors. A report by the American Bar Association released in January 2022 found that the state has only 31% of the public defenders it needs.
Washington County had 311 unrepresented defendants (only 37 of whom were being held in jail) as of Wednesday, according to data from the Oregon Judicial Department, the third-largest number in the state behind 530 in Jackson County and 505 in Multnomah County.
Multnomah County dismissed a total of 285 criminal court cases between February and October of 2022 due to the lack of public defense attorneys, prompting District Attorney Mike Schmidt issue his own public call for state action, arguing that the high rate of case dismissals sends a message that there’s no accountability for people who commit crimes.
Earlier this year, Barton’s office announced the results of a program called “Wingspan III” that was intended to address the representation shortage by streamlining the efforts of prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges. In a news release, the DA’s office said it got through more than 100 criminal cases in a 6-week timespan. At the time, Barton told KGW that the public defender crisis has gotten worse in Washington County in the past couple of years.>>
<<Rebecca Newman is a forensic accountant, and a good one: she runs Portland-based Forensic Accounting Services, the state’s oldest forensic accounting CPA firm.
For years, Newman has worked on cases for the lawyers at Oregon’s Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS)—the state office charged with providing “constitutionally competent and effective legal representation” to people in the criminal justice system who need public defenders.
But in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the office informed Newman that it was changing its payment processes and would no longer be paying her roughly $300 per hour rate. They were only willing to approve hourly rates of up to $200.
“I just decided I wasn’t going to do the work anymore,” Newman said. “And then I got a call from an attorney who had gotten my name from a list serve that I was on, and that, as far as he knew, I was the only forensic accountant who did this work at all—and I had to tell him I wasn’t doing it anymore.”
The attorney, Newman said, appealed to OPDS to allow him to hire her for his case. OPDS said he couldn’t, at which point he appealed to a judge to get a special approval to hire Newman for his case.
But that level of attention and effort is not typical. OPDS does not accept flat rate budgets and does not accept standard hourly rates. The result, Newman said, is that public defenders in Oregon are struggling to find forensic accountants willing to do work on their clients’ behalf—work that can, in some cases, make or break their defenses.
“The hourly rate they’re offering is something no one accepts, and I find it really frustrating that no one in this bureaucracy is willing to face the reality that people need this work done but they cannot get it done at the rate that the state is willing to pay,” Newman said.
Newman’s experience is not unique. Shawn Blehm, a private investigator based in Polk County, said he was paid so little through his jobs with ODPS during his first several years working with the department that he had to take another part-time job.
“It took me probably five years to basically get to a point where I could do it full-time,” Blehm said. “I had to do it part-time at first because I couldn’t afford to do it. For approximately the first 10 years I worked at OPDS, they paid us $29. No cost-of-living raises, no cost of anything raises.”
Blehm said his hourly rate has since increased to around $40, but he said it’s still nowhere near the $150 per hour he charges for work on non-OPDS cases.
Despite the relatively low pay, Blehm has continued to partner with OPDS. He says he enjoys the work and the opportunities it provides to help right wrongs in the criminal justice system, and he knows he’s meeting a need—for many years, Blehm said, he was the only private investigator working in the entire county.
But not everyone continues to work with OPDS in spite of the low pay.
Newman has largely stopped working on public defense cases. So has Joshua Hunking, a defense lawyer, who started his legal career as a public defender doing cases in the public defense system.
Hunking left to run a private firm—in part, he said, because of OPDS funding limits that meant he couldn’t often secure the experts he felt he needed to best defend his clients.
“That is the rule,” Hunking said. “Not the exception. That is the rule: you will not get the best expert doing their best work for this person unless you just get lucky and somebody wants to give charity to your particular client for some reason.”
Even when Hunking found outside experts to contribute to his cases, he said they were often overworked because OPDS’ low pay rates forced them to take on more casework than they otherwise would have. By and large, that held true across many different professions.
“It’s everybody,” Hunking said. “It’s the lab tech guys, it’s the psychologists, it’s the medical doctors, it’s the forensic nurses—there are all sorts of different people you need in providing a proper defense to someone to be able to actually get the facts you need to determine whether or not a crime has been committed or if there’s mitigation. It’s all of them.”
The people OPDS’s funding problems hurt most, of course, are the people OPDS defends—criminal defendants who are disproportionately likely to be poor and non-white. Newman is clear-eyed about the consequences.
“The whole point of the public defense department, in my opinion, is that it’s supposed to provide an opportunity for people who don’t have money to defend against these criminal cases,” Newman said. “Somebody’s freedom can get taken away… and having that happen to somebody who doesn’t have the money or doesn’t have the connections to know who to hire strikes me as incredibly unfair.”
The lack of public defenders in Oregon has been laid bare by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, who now publishes a weekly list of cases his office dismisses due to a lack of state-provided defense attorneys.
Schmidt has called the public defense crisis a “threat to public safety,” noting felony cases are routinely thrown out because defendants don’t have access to a state-provided attorney. Often, cases reach the statute of limitations for prosecution after being delayed due to lack of counsel.
According to the D.A.’s office, the court dismissed 285 felony and misdemeanor cases during an eight-month period in 2022. Of those cases, 180 were dismissed after being set over one or more times.
A source at OPDS said the office is well aware of the problem—as is the state legislature. SB 337, signed by Gov. Tina Kotek earlier this summer, provides for pay raises for attorneys, investigators, and interpreters working on public defense cases.
That bill, passed with Democratic support, is a start. But Hunking’s short time as a public defender, he said, gave him a clear picture of just how many people being prosecuted for crimes in Oregon are innocent and how much help they need from the system.
“I started doing these cases, and after six months, I found three innocent people that were my court-appointed clients,” Hunking said.
“And there were varying circumstances, but they were innocent… and in six months, finding three of these, I was like, ‘Whoa, this is concerning to me.’”
It’s not just that experts believe OPDS should be paying more for their services—in some cases, like the one Newman was hired for, courts have ordered OPDS to up their pay.
Investigators and contractors deal with other aggravations in their work with OPDS as well.
“The process of being paid and the scrutiny of OPDS is tough to deal with in itself,” Blehm said. “I’ve gotten to where I basically have all my hard costs covered for 60 days out, because you never know when you’re going to get paid.”
The challenge will be winning the political support necessary year after year to fully fund a functional public defense system that gives defendants without significant financial means the same quality of representation richer defendants have. That, ultimately, is what Newman most wants to see.
“The impact to me is not significant,” Newman said. “I can choose to do this work or not. I have plenty of other work to do. It’s really insignificant, from that perspective. I’m just so offended by the idea that people are having to go to prison because their attorneys couldn’t hire someone who could do the work.”>>