CLARK COUNTY — A local attorney with longtime Jeffersonville roots has been named the new Clark County chief public defender, following the vacancy left by Abe Navarro when he was appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to serve as a Clark County judge.
Mickey Weber, who has done private criminal defense work since 2007 and also done public defender work in Clark County, was appointed Friday by the Clark County public defender board.
He will start Oct. 1, which will give him time to close his Jeffersonville law practice. Until then, Chief Deputy Jennifer Harmeyer will continue to lead the office, as she has done since Navarro took the bench in Clark County Superior Court No. 5 at the start of the month.
"I feel very excited, very honored," Weber said when reached by phone Friday. "Judge Navarro did tremendous work in this job until his appointment to the bench and I hope to be able to live up to the example that he set."
It's a role that comes with a great deal of responsibility and is crucial in protecting people's personal liberties and rights because the public defenders are appointed in cases in which a defendant is unable to afford private counsel.
"Nationwide, 80% of cases are represented by the public defender's office at some point in their case," Weber said. "They're just the most vulnerable people and the public defender is sometimes the last friend they have."
Defense attorney Jennifer Culotta, one of the three-member board to make the appointment, said Weber was chosen from a "large pool of qualified candidates," which included both local people and those from out of town.
"It was really difficult because the quality of candidates was so good," she said, adding that Weber stood out due to "his passion for the job, his plans and keeping the vision that we as a board had going forward.
"He's very big into training...we want the best team of attorneys and in order to be the best team of attorneys, you have to constantly educate yourself [with] continued education and training. You want to make sure that the [Clark County defendants] have the best representation."