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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Muller Names Kim Makoul His Lehigh County Public Defender

Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller has nominated Kim Makoul, one of the County's Conflict Attorneys, for the new full-time Public Defender position.

Muller explains his decision in a memo to Commissioners:

"This selection follows a two-month search and screening effort, which I felt was in order since this is a new position. We ran ads and got the word out across the legal community and ended up with a number of candidates. Judy Johnston and I screened out any who were clearly unqualified and I had asked President Judge McGinley if she and the Judges handling criminal cases would determine which of the remaining candidates were fully qualified in their collective opinion to perform effectively in the position. That lead to my interviews with three finalists and I was most comfortable with Kim, who, as you may hear when you meet her, truly has criminal justice “in her blood”.

"Besides serving as one of our Conflict Attorneys, for the past 20 years Kim has been a managing partner with her husband in a law firm where she handles criminal defense and juvenile cases. Kim has also served as a Court-appointed counsel for juvenile cases in 1996 and 1997 and from 2006 to 2010 and spent seven years as an Assistant Public Defender for the County.

"In addition to a solid background, I believe Kim brings a strong level of enthusiasm to the position and a commitment to make our Public Defender’s office a standout in the Commonwealth. I am certain you will share my support for her."

Makoul graduated from Widener University School of Law in 1990, and practices law with her husband, Glenn Goodge.

This is a no-brainer.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing against Makoul, but why are judges even involved in a decision about who will be trying cases before them? Doesn't that create the impression of a bias?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's what I might ordinarily think. But think about it. Judges have an obligation to ensure that a Defendant's constitutional rights are preserved. That includes the right to counsel. Since they know the lawyers far better than laymen Execs, their input is invaluable in making decisions of this kind.

On a federal level, a Public Defender is appointed by a Judicial Conference, and there is no question of bias.

I believe the HRC in both counties needs to be changed to improve on how the Public Defender is selected.

I also think appointments like these should be for a set term, set on even years to remove so me of the politics.