The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors appointed Conflict Counsel Marek Reavis as interim public defender, making him the third person to hold the public defender position in the past 13 months.
Reached this afternoon, Reavis said he’s never been prouder of anything in his life than being a public defender.
“To assist the excellent and dedicated attorneys that work in the two offices, the main Public Defender Office as well as the Conflict Counsel Office, is a tremendous honor for me and I’m enthused to take on the responsibilities of the position,” Reavis wrote in an email to the Times-Standard. “I thank the Board of Supervisors for offering me this interim position and look forward to working will all the fine attorneys and staff at the Public Defender Office.”
Reavis will replace the current interim Public Defender Kaleb Cockrum who was appointed to a Humboldt County Superior Court judgeship by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of February.
Today was Cockrum’s last day as interim public defender. He said he has “every confidence” in Reavis. “I have worked with Marek for more than ten years, during that time I was often impressed by his ability to read people and seek unconventional solutions to difficult problems,” Cockrum wrote in an email to the Times-Standard. “He cares deeply about Humboldt County’s indigent defendants. Marek has the smarts and the empathy to be a great Public Defender, interim or otherwise.”
Reavis’ also spoke highly of his colleague and predecessor.
“I have tremendous appreciation for all the work Kaleb Cockrum has done, not only for the last several months as the interim Public Defender, but his entire career at Conflict Counsel where we had the opportunity to work together for over a decade,” Reavis said. “The county will be well served as he takes on his new duties as judge.”
Cockrum was appointed as interim Public Defender in December after his predecessor David Marcus resigned in November following nine months of controversy regarding Marcus’ qualifications for the position.
Public defenders to judges
Brown has repeatedly tapped the Public Defender’s Office for judgeships in the past year after several local judges retired.
He is set to be sworn in at the superior courthouse at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and will replace Judge Marilyn Miles who retired last year.
“It is an honor and I am humbled by the appointment,” Cockrum said in a statement today. “I look forward to serving the people of Humboldt County. I have great respect for the judicial office. Decisions from the bench have real consequences in peoples’ lives, therefore I will perform my duties with fairness, compassion, and integrity.”
Prior to appointing Cockrum, Brown appointed Deputy Public Defender Kelly Neel to replace Judge Timothy Cissna who retired in January.
County Conflict Counsel Greg Elvine-Kreis was appointed to a long vacant judgeship in May 2017, replacing Judge W. Bruce Watson who retired in January 2016.
Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.