Category Archives: Nebraska

Friday Roundup

Public defenders around the country are busy bees. In West Virginia, the former chief public defender of a two-county region, Denney William Bostic, just entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of using a state credit card to embezzle funds. The court appointed a private attorney to represent Mr. Bostic because of the potential for a conflict of interest if one of Mr. Bostic’s former employees were to represent him. Good call, judge!

Meanwhile, in Champaign, Illinois, former Senior Assistant Public
Defender Scott Schmidt is leaving
his office
to become the public defender for another Illinois county. One of Schmidt’s colleages, Anthony Ortega, also just left the Champaign office to become the public defender in another Illinois county. The Champaign office is now hiring if you’re looking for a job!

In Madison County, Nebraska, public defender Melissa Wentling announced she won’t be running for reelection. The important thing there is that Nebraska apparently elects its public defenders. Who knew?

Nationwide, public defenders are buzzing about the July 1 premiere of
the HBO documentary, Gideon’s Army, which the Village Voice hails as “the most illuminating crime drama since The Wire went dead.” I was lucky enough to see an early screening and, while it’s great to see public defenders and indigent defense getting so much exposure, I’d say this film is more for unbelievers than true believers. Whichever you are, you should see it so you’ll know what all the fuss is about.

Federal judge considers ways to cut public defender caseloads in response to budget cuts


U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf said he is “seriously contemplating” whether to drop a number of criminal immigration cases where the crime is being in the U.S. illegally. This, he said, will free up the 10 federal public defenders in Omaha and Lincoln who have a constitutional obligation to defend an accused person who cannot afford to hire counsel.

The judge wrote about this on his blog, which is itself quite fascinating. Here’s to judges speaking truth to power!