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$110,000 Federal Public Defender Added as 2 Hired for Oklahoma
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$110,000 Federal Public Defender Added as 2 Hired for Oklahoma

  • Updated

A former Tulsa federal public defender, Susan M. Otto, and

a Chicago public defender, Stephen J. Knorr, have been appointed

federal public defenders for Oklahoma.

The selection process for the $110,000 positions began last

summer.

Otto and Knorr were chosen from more than 150 applicants

across the nation.

Otto, Oklahoma City's acting federal public defender since

1991, will serve the Western District court, based in Oklahoma

City.

Knorr, a staff attorney in the federal defender office in

Chicago since 1980, will serve the Northern District, based

in Tulsa, and the Eastern District, based in Muskogee.

Oklahoma has had one public defender, David Booth, now with

a Tulsa law firm, for all three U.S. court districts since

1985 when the office was established. The 10th Circuit appellate

judges decided in 1991 to add a second defender.

The case load justified a second defender, said Eugene J.

Murret, circuit executive for the appellate court. A second

defender will decrease the amount of travel required and

increase efficiency, he said.

Otto, an Oklahoma City native, is a 1980 graduate of Oklahoma

City University Law School. Before joining the public defender

office in 1986, she was a staff attorney for the Oklahoma

Department of Health from 1980-82, a legal assistance to

chief judge Charles Wilson of the Oklahoma Court of Appeals

from 1982-84, and a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Ralph

G. Thompson of Oklahoma City from 1984-86.

Knorr, 40, is a 1979 graduate of Northwestern University

Law School in Chicago.

Otto and Knorr were among several candidates recommended

to 10th Circuit judges by a five-person panel that included

Booth, the chairman; Sondra Fogley Houston, Tulsa; Creekmore

Wallace, Sapulpa, and Merle Gile and Mack Martin of Oklahoma

City.

By law the federal defenders can represent up to 75 percent

of the state's indigent federal defendants. The office average

is about 63 percent. The other defendants have been represented

by court-appointed counsel.

The public defender in the Eastern and Northern districts

will have three staff attorneys.

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