LAFAYETTE — Two of the 19 fellows from this year’s class of the Public Defender Corps, a national program that trains, mentors and supports attorneys entering the criminal justice system, are joining the 15th Judicial District Public Defenders Office.
The 19 fellows were selected from among more than 450 applicants from law schools across the country, according to a news release from the Public Defender Corps.
David Rubin, of the University of San Francisco School of Law will work in the 15th Judicial District Public Defenders Office in Acadia Parish. Kevin Valdez, of the Washington University School of Law, will be assigned to the Lafayette office.
G. Paul Marx, district defender for the 15th Judicial District Public Defenders Office, said the two new recruits are an exciting prospect for his office.
Both recruits will receive two weeks of intense training, including “very intense” courtroom practice and client communication practice, Marx said.
He said he has already sent some of the office’s public defenders through the program and plans to send more this summer.
“I’m real excited about sort of the new view these folks will bring in,” Marx said.
Marx said one of the fellows has worked in death penalty defense in both Texas and Mississippi, while the other has felony experience in clinical programs in law school.
Applicants to the Public Defender Corps must meet a set of rigorous academic and professional requirements, including the ability to demonstrate a commitment to improving the indigent defense system and provide exceptional client-centered representation through personal experiences, according to the news release.
The Public Defender Corps, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, began in 2011 in 10 host sites and grew by an additional five sites this year.
The new sites included Lafayette and New Orleans, according to the release.
The program is coordinated by Equal Justice Works and the Southern Public Defender Training Center.
The fellows will undergo training after they take the bar exam in July. Afterward, they will start as interns and will be hired on full-time if they are admitted to the bar in October, Marx said.