Islander to head county's Office of Public Defense

Islander Dave Chapman has been tapped to head King County's Office of Public Defense, an agency that provides legal services to those who can't afford it, according to news release issued Friday.

Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, worked for nearly a decade as the managing director of the Associated Counsel for the Accused, a nonprofit firm in Seattle that contracts to provide defense services to indigent clients. He stepped down from that position in 2008.

He's also worked as a pro-tem judge for both Pierce and King counties, where he presided over both criminal and civil cases in district and municipal courts. Early on in his career, he was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Pierce County. Most recently, he's been in private practice, assisting persons charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses.

Chapman, who will oversee a $46.6 million budget and contracts with four nonprofit legal defense organizations, was named to the spot by County Executive Dow Constantine after a national search, according to the news release. His appointment to the $143,000-a-year post must be confirmed by the King County Council. He replaces V. David Hocraffer, who is staying on as a legal adviser.

The Office of Public Defense is a division within the Department of Community and Human Services. It provides lawyers to county residents facing the possibility of jail time or of losing their children in King County Superior or District Court and who qualify for services based upon their financial status.


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