Defense Attorneys In The Dotte Doubt DA Mark Dupree's Plan

A legal debate over representation deserve consideration beyond talking points about equity and other buzzwords.

The most important part of the conversation is from local lawyers who claim they were excluded from the discussion . . . 

Charles Lamb, a private defense attorney, expressed frustration, saying the meeting was a surprise to area attorneys who often fulfill a public defender’s role.

“I’ve invested my entire career into defending the indigent people in this community,” said Lamb. “To say you’re going to replace us with public defenders is not true. We’re all public defenders. You said this is public comment. We’re stakeholders. This board did not come to us, when I heard this was happening it was only recently.”

Mike Nichols, who also opposes a public defenders’ office, said he is a court-appointed attorney in Wyandotte County and has represented clients appointed to him for 11 years. Like Lamb, he said he also received short notice.

He criticized BIDS for not bringing court-appointed attorneys together to discuss problems regularly. He said if he and other attorneys had been included, they could have avoided a lot of problems for clients.

“I cannot believe that we got to this point without at least talking to those of us who have been filling this role for all of these years, doing this work for the community,” said Nichols. “I think that we should have had a voice at the table just as much as everyone in this room.”

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Wyandotte County residents turn out in support of proposal to establish a public defender's office

The Kansas State Board of Public Indigents' Services held a public hearing Saturday at Kansas City, Kansas Community College on a proposal to establish a public defender's office in Wyandotte County which currently does not have one. The hearing was attended by close to 200 community members.