June 10, 2004
Weighing in on Carl Starr's Comments
Given the fact that you asked to intern with the our office, and worked with us for an academic year, both performing client interviews and researching for our attorneys, I know that you are aware of the dedication of the attorneys in our office, and our commitment to quality client representation. It appeared from your article that a number of the inmates you surveyed were not satisfied with the quality of representation we provided, and, if that is the case, I would like to meet with you to discuss the responses you received. If there are issues with either our office's representation as a whole, with the work of a specific attorney (as your article alludes), or even with a specific client, it is certainly a matter which needs to be addressed. We have always worked to provide our clients not just minimally effective representation, but also quality legal representation.
If this article is about the alleged complaint to the State Bar, I can assure you that neither I nor Clara, the Public Defender, was aware of any complaint to the Bar regarding you prior to reading your article. Due to the nature of the State Bar's complaint process, those complaints are confidential. If you felt that someone in our staff had unfairly complained about you, you certainly could have raised that issue with us.
Given this backdrop, the allegations you raised in your article in the El Paso Tribune on June 3, 2004 seem disingenuous. You state in the article that nearly a hundred clients told one of our attorneys that "Carl Starr says your [sic] shafting me." The article also refers to Public Defenders as "Public Pretenders"; it's unclear whether that's your opinion, or a response from one of your surveys? Your article's stated goal is to help individuals in the indigent defense system, however, you have not raised any of these issues with us-- either in 1999 when you conducted your study, or since. In fact, despite the fact that you and I have Emailed back and forth a number of times this Spring as part of our collaboration with the ACLU challenging the "gang injunction cases", you have never raised these issues with me or anyone else in the office.
I look forward to hearing from you.
First Assistant Public Defender
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