Tuesday, October 10, 2017

UPDATED: No Report Out of Closed Door Evaluation of Public Defender

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 5:08 PM

click to enlarge Humboldt County Public Defender David Marcus in his sparsely decorated Eureka office. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Humboldt County Public Defender David Marcus in his sparsely decorated Eureka office.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors announced no final actions when reconvening out of closed session today.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will meet in closed session Tuesday to review the job performance of embattled Public Defender David Marcus.

The closed-session review comes eight months into Marcus’ tenure and about two weeks after a visiting Humboldt County Superior Court judge denied a county request to dismiss a lawsuit alleging Marcus doesn’t meet minimum state qualifications for his job. It also comes as staffing issues in the office have bubbled into public view, with the departure of four experienced attorneys in an eight-week period, which prompted a four-month continuance in a high-profile murder case. (One of the exiting attorneys, Heidi Holmquist, was highly critical of Marcus on her way out the door.)

It’s unclear exactly why Marcus is up for review this week. He underwent a closed session performance evaluation back in April, when the board emerged with a statement of support for him. At the time, county spokesman Sean Quincey said department head reviews typically occur annually in the fall but that sometimes the board will opt to do them early in a new employee’s tenure to “outline goals and objectives” soon after the hiring process. (This is apparently the case with the county’s new human resources director, Lisa DeMatteo, who’s also being evaluated Tuesday after a couple months on the job.)

We’ll update this post with any reports out of closed session on Tuesday. In the meantime, find more on Marcus’ background here and more on the lawsuit and conditions in the office here.

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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