It’s a Political Witch Hunt, Says the County, About Lawsuit Challenging Recent Hiring of Marcus as Public Defender But Employees Continue to File Grievances

HUmboldt County Courthouse

The Humboldt County Courthouse

The recent hiring of Public Defender David Marcus kicked off a ruckus in Humboldt County. One local attorney challenged the hire with a lawsuit, all the deputy public defenders sent a letter to the Humboldt County Supervisors asking them to rethink offering Marcus the job, and one of the employees of Public Defenders Office called the Eureka Police on him though no charges were filed–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Supervisors though are sticking by Marcus. Thad Greenson of the North Coast Journal did an excellent article on the latest round of this controversy. We asked to share part of it with you and the Journal graciously gave us permission.

Here it is or you can read the entire article at their site:

County blasts public defender lawsuit as political witch hunt as employees file grievances

The county of Humboldt is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging newly hired public defender David Marcus doesn’t meet minimum state qualifications for the job, calling the suit “both frivolous and baseless.”

“(The suit) asks this court to intervene in a purely political dispute over the appointment of the Humboldt County public defender,” the county’s filing states, adding that the lawsuit is just “an artificial legal controversy” promulgated by those “fuming about the merits of the political appointment.”

Controversy has surrounded Marcus’ appointment since the day it was announced, first with members of the local defense bar criticizing the county’s hiring process, then with a pair of no-confidence letters from public defender’s office employees and the filing of a lawsuit challenging the hire by local attorney Patrik Griego. In his suit, Griego alleges Marcus doesn’t meet the minimum standards required under the state government code, which specifies that a person is “not eligible for the office of public defender unless he has been a practicing attorney in all the courts of the state for at least the year preceding the date of his election or appointment.”

Meanwhile, Marcus’ hire seems to have plunged the public defender’s office into a state of chaos. In addition to the no-confidence letters — which were signed by nearly every employee of the office — the Journal has learned that at least 10 grievances have been filed against Marcus by his employees this month and employees report office morale is dismal.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in closed session Feb. 7 to hire Marcus, who hasn’t practiced criminal law since his controversial six-year tenure as Lassen County’s chief public defender came to an end in 2011. (Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass was absent for the vote but agreed to defer to the will of the board, according to county spokesperson Sean Quincey.) On his resume submitted to the county, Marcus represented that he worked for the Walnut Creek law firm of Cella, Lange and Cella from 2012 until earlier this year doing transactional real estate and property loss consulting, but indicated he only worked 10 hours a week for the firm and reported that he was receiving no monthly salary.

Reached Monday, Griego said that as a part of the discovery process for his case, he subpoenaed records from both the law firm and Marcus. Griego said both responded that they have no records of Marcus being paid by the firm, being under contract with the firm or appearing in a California courtroom in the year preceding his appointment in Humboldt County, nor any records indicating he was listed as an attorney with the firm in any letters, marketing materials or legal pleadings. Further, Griego said Marcus maintained that he does not have any records of hours worked for the firm over that year-long span and the firm could provide no documents indicating that Marcus was listed on its malpractice insurance. To read the rest of this fascinating story, go here and scroll down to the seventh paragraph.




  • Our district attorney is just as bad if not worse then the public defenders sometimes I don’t even answer the phone during business hours but you can leave a message and a brief description of your case and they will get back to you well I’m still waiting for them to get back to me .still waiting for a investigator to call me .that’s been since March 28 our sheriff office is very very lame ,and now our pubic dumptruck .is now even worse .that has been my experience sorry to say .way not to go Maggie.

    • Sadly it sounds “Par for the course” for our “illustrious” Board of Stupidvisors!!! Not to mention our temporary new sheriff, who can’t seem to find Meth labs or Heroin manufacturing or even some higher up dealers in that crap, just Cannabis Grows out of compliance to bust!!! The Sheriff has yet, as far as I know, to catch the A$$hole who shot up my neighborhood as well as putting a bullet through my window at 3 AM!!!

    • MOGTX sir or madam,
      you would be a more effective writer if you would use punctuation. i have to read and re-read your posts to understand them.

      the squeaky wheel sometimes gets the grease. when i feel i’m being blown off i’ve been known to call the party of concern daily at a specific time, leaving the same boilerplate message in a polite and nonthreatening manner.
      i document the calls/messages i make.

      • Instead of correcting people’s grammer why don’t you do something productive towards the problems addressed in the article. Pretty sure if we did not pick up proper grammer in school we aren’t going to learn from [edit] you.

        • i’m glad you got that off your chest stupid&petty, i do hope you feel better. i hope that happy feeling lasts you a life time.

          i’d like you to show me where i corrected his/her grammAr. i had not even mentioned grammAr.

          can you show me where i in any way tried to teach grammAr?
          no one can is “…going to learn from [edit] ” me as is i don’t grammAr myself. (i’m dieing to know what was edited out.)

          do you have an idea as to what i can do that would be”…something productive towards the problems addressed in the article.”?

          tell me what you’ve tried so far and what results it produced? were they productive?
          if you tell me what i can do to to help the public defenders office to allow them see eye-to-eye and feel good about going to work everyday. i’d be wiling to take a jab at being productive as it suits you.

          my suggestion’s you’ll not appreciate…
          i’d like the board to say why they conducted a closed door meetings the day they decided to hire mr. marcus on feb. 7.

          i’d like the board of supervisor’s to hear and show some respect to the people working under mr. marcus.

          i’d like the board to assign an outside party to investigate “…at least 10 grievances have been filed against Marcus by his employees this month” to see if they have merit.
          i’d also like to know if the “no-confidence letters — which were signed by nearly every employee of the office” have merit.

          i’d especially like the board to give mr. marcus his 2 week (or whatever amount of time may be mandated by rules and procedure) notice along with a severance package – then send him packing.

          i’d like the board seek candidates with the proper credentials, the proper & documented past work history record that are able to meet the “minimum standards required under the state government code” & to then conduct interview’s on the up & up.
          i’d also hope that the persons in the final selection process have an attitude conducive to supervising and working WITH the PD lawyers & office staff.

          stupid and petty, i used the word “punctuation” in my comment to mogtx.

          so are we both stupid & petty? i think so.

        • do something productive on this blog. lol . never only put others down.

  • I gotta get outta this place, if it’s the last thing I ever do.

    • seamus, two thumbs up, sir…who about

      “…Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
      And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
      Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction…”

  • it takes a hazmat team to clean up meth labs and get rid of the chemicals, and it’s expensive as hell.

    i’d read in the local, almost-daily- see-no-evil ‘times stranded’ that humboldt co (and everyone else) lost it’s meth clean up federal funding and would no longer be looking for meth labs, again, because the county could not cover the cost of clean up neither.

    there wasn’t ever much news about our protect & serve agencies busting meth labs anyway. i don’t think the meth is coming from local sources, however.

    i have come to believe that meth was dropped into the neighborhoods that the POWERS THAT BE considered non-productive in as far as generating tax revenue, turning out future tax producers or those not motivated to advance.

    ‘they’ knew meth turns brother against brother, their theory was to turn entire communities into what you see today – crazed, mean, soulless, dangerous drug riddled death camps. they knew the zombies would branch out and also help eliminate others like them.

    police keep busy keeping the drunks off of public property, ie, sidewalks and out of the eyesight of tourists.
    let me ask you women, when was the last time you heard about a stranger sexual assault? there are 2 colleges here, you know there are rapes occurring – yet we aren’t told of them, which would then allow us to be aware and mindful for our own safety.

    • That’s horrible! Do you have any kind of a link about the funding being lost? Makes me want to start a fundraiser. It’s so irritating how we have money to bust grows out of compliance, but not meth labs, or dealers. 🙁

      • Here is an article from 5 years ago. All of you locals that think METH is not manufactured here are dead wrong. The local police have swept the eradication of labs under the rug! They don’t have the knowledge, money, personnel, or equipment to deal with them. That’s a fact! You better hope and pray a METH lab doesn’t start up near your residence, or you can watch your property investment and health go down the drain. This is an extremely dire situation we are all in!

      • thats not ture. judi is a troll spreading fear.

  • I agree totally with you Dan Fuller.

  • Well if its a witch hunt, who’s got a house to drop on this guy???
    Plus as a good witch i am offended to be put under the same title as this jackass. Cornering women and intimidating them is not to be taken lightly.

    If employees are filing grievances at the place responsible for the judicial system of our county, you supes need to listen!!!!! We pay your salaries, perhaps its time for a recall election for each supe. Keep it up and we will go back to our outlaw justice system, it seems impossible for any justice to happen otherwise.

    Im calling the state attorney general to ask for an investigation, and encourage others to do so. Theres no one here to legally keep them in line it seems, and the AGen office is already familiar with our area after finding 2 of our judges guilty of committing crimes while hearing cases. Theyre still hearing cases here, so how the fkn hell are we supposed to get justice????

    Lets all stop pointing the finger at each other, grower, tweeker, redneck, hippie-, whatever the title used in the blame game. We are all being done a diservice by the people we pay to keep the county govt going.

  • Screw this jerk! Another power move to deprive good citizens of justice. You win! Jerk!
    See you in court!

  • Triniboldticino

    “Political witch hunt” is kinda like the kettle and the pot thing. Some political connection, corruption or nepotism got a completely unqualified or under qualified individual appointed to the job. Then, when someone points this out, it becomes a “witch hunt.” Whomever’s mouth that came out of does not have the public’s best interest at heart. Seems to me the witches started this thing.

  • I just hand delivered a letter to Maggie, and it stated what happened to me in great detail .hopefully it will help speed things up in my case ,but i doubt it very much ,and i call them at least 3 times a week .it has been on a investigatordesk ,for a month ,and he or she as of yet has not contacted me.cant get any help from victim witness .They won’t do a thing for me until Maggie puts out a warrent for the perp ,so I get nothing until Maggie says so.od like some counseling restitution. I’m just trying to let people know how lame i think the DA s office is running these days no Bueno sometimes they don’t even answer the phone they have called I’D, and they know it’s me calling them ,and they have nothing to tell me so they just let it ring and ring i dont think i will be voting for her reelection .

    • It is not just the DA office that is screwed up, it is the Juvenile Probation Dept. as well. They hire people there that don’t even meet the minimum requirements. Whoever is in charge here, needs to do more than just get a paycheck. Doesn’t the Grand Jury look into these maters periodically.

  • wtg MOGTX,

    you put your issue right under ms. flemming’s nose, and here you are documenting it to many other people and it’s logged on this cite.

    i take my hat off to you in your effort to be heard and to try to make someone, anyone, pick up the reins dropped by the hcso and da office.

    many people i know have lost all faith in those 2 departments know as our law enforcement. the courts, too, are handing down sentences that show crime % dishonesty sure does pay.

    you go MOGTX!

  • The real question is why is Bohn and Fennell are pushing for this hire? Maggie said she wanted someone where cases would not be appealed. That means that his is either a great attorney or he is just wanting to plea bargain everything. Does Rex owe Maggie something. I’m sure he does after his son’s case got dropped. Fennell is just a follower while Bass just wants to distance herself. You fill in the dots. Some people just aren’t made to be supervisors. I have watched Marcus in action, he does not know current law or how cases are being handled. Since we want our top people handling our top cases, and Marcus can’t handle any murder cases, why would you even consider him. Something is not right. If the county cannot get out of his hiring, and Maggie thinks his just a great attorney, then just transfer him to the prosecutors office. And transfer someone back to public defenders office. We need to settle this before it turns ugly like the Caltrans job did. And so far as top people needing to do the toughest job, why is Maggie doing parole violations and other less important cases?

  • Thank you so much Judy for the positive comment . I just want to state facts about our justice system .It needs to get better because ,it can’t get any worse.Much appreciated Judy I needed that.

  • Work experience needed, doing transactional real estate and property loss consulting,
    There it is folks.

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