Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Pender County opens first public defender’s office

Assistant public defender Bud Woodrum welcomes residents to an open house of the newly opened Pender County Public Defender’s Office. (Courtesy Pender County)

PENDER COUNTY — A new office in Pender County will enhance legal representation for individuals who cannot afford private counsel.

The Pender County Public Defender’s Office opened June 28 with a public open house. The former medical office was remodeled with funds approved by the county.

“We are incredibly grateful to Pender County Commissioners, the County Manager, and his staff for their vision and dedication in making this new Public Defender Office a reality,” Chief Public Defender Jennifer Harjo said in a press release. “This office will play a crucial role in ensuring that every individual, regardless of their financial circumstances, can receive competent and compassionate legal representation.”

The office, located on McNeil Street, will provide legal expertise, advocacy and support to county residents needing representation. It’s the first public defender’s office in the county.

“The establishment of the Public Defender Office enables our Pender County residents who qualify for public defense services to access legal aid promptly,” Pender County Chair Jacqueline Newton said in the release.

She said the initiative reinforces the principles of “fairness and equality” in the criminal justice system.

“The opening of the new office — the first in Pender County — is an important service and the Pender County Board of County Commissioners were pleased to assist in the development of the new location,” Newton said.

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