Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The New Public Defender

Local news stations are reporting that Alexander Bunin has been selected by Harris County to be the new head of the Public Defenders Office.

I am not familiar with Mr. Bunin, but those folks that I've heard from who do know him are giving very glowing reports about him as a defense attorney and administrator.

He's got a big task ahead of him. The PD's office is going to have to find a place to house itself, and then find the staffing necessary to manage the caseload it is tasked with. It will be interesting to see where Mr. Bunin will recruit those new Assistant Public Defenders from. As an anonymous, large, Irish defense attorney friend of mine suggested, perhaps the pool will come from departing Assistant District Attorneys, but I kind of doubt it. Most prosecutors that leave the D.A.'s Office generally leave for the freedom of being their own bosses and the opportunity to make more money. A transfer over to another government entity would seem to negate those goals.

Either way, the months and years ahead are going to be interesting for Mr. Bunin and the Public Defenders Office. I wish him the best of luck.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bunin left Houston before I was practicing so, like Murray, I only know of him by reputation which is generally very good. I did have occasion to see him address my current bosses in New York City last year and he comported himself very well. If you are interested, especially if you are a federal sentencing nerd, here is the transcript (his testimony starts on page 211):

http://www.ussc.gov/AGENDAS/20090709/Public_Hearing_Transcript.pdf

... and his written statement:

http://www.ussc.gov/AGENDAS/20090709/Bunin_testimony.pdf

In both he also runs down his personal and professional history for those that are interested.

This seems like a good hire. He's started two FPD offices up from scratch, so he has experience putting new programs together, and he has a Houston connection with some recent distance.

Also, he's a fellow STCL grad -- so bully for ther old alma mater.

Any oldsters out there remember him from back in the day?

-Eric M-

jigmeister said...

I vaguely remember him from maybe 20 years ago around the courthouse. I gather he was fairly new then and doing appointments in those days, though I never had a case with him. Seemed nice enough and he probably remembers Lykos, ha.

Anonymous said...

Not related to this subject, but I had the need to call an 800 federal number the other day with regard to a student loan situation, and as I was having a pleasant conversation with the man on the other end, I was discussing a case here in HC, and I stated "we have such a crooked DA", and he jumped in quickly with "are you located in Harris County?"....turned out he was in Austin and apparently even his office, although not an office that deals with attorneys or legal matters much, has heard the news about our fine DA....ha ha.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:14:
I would not describe Pat Lykos as "crooked".

Incompetent, disengenuous, narcissistic, starved for affection, prone to hiring sychophants, vengeful, and a flat-out liar, - ok, I'm with you on those points of her character and ability.

Anonymous said...

The new PD might find it hard to recruit employees. The grant is only for two years. If the county doesn't pick up the funding for the new agency after that time period the PD's office goes away. Hidalgo County recently shut down their PD's office after their grant ran out because it was too expensive. That's a big risk for someone in private practice or employed by the DA's Office to take.

Anonymous said...

Is he related to Ben Stein?

Thomas Hobbes said...

Although he may have to look for temporary digs, I believe the intent is to house the PD in the CJC. Of course, this seemingly appropriate location is vehemently opposed by the DA's Office. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Is anybody using the old DA's office? Nothing wrong with that building (that a wrecking ball won't fix).

I truly hope that Alex is able to recruit some local defense lawyers and maybe a few former ADA's. Particularly I think he'll need a senior person with a good rep and a relationship with HCDAO and the judges to really be effective. I he staffs up only with true believers from out of town it'll be ugly. The local defenders here in DC have a continual war with the US Atty's office (in DC the US Atty handles local crime too) that has resulted in an ugly environment where all files are closed and people barely speak to each other. I looked into hanging out a shingle here for all of a millisecond - a dysfunctional relationship between the PD's and the DA poisons the water folks... So defense lawyers need to be invested in it working as well as possible. If you need an object lesson I can show you around the joyless halls of Judiciary Square.

-Eric M.-

Anonymous said...

Something on the agenda about setting them up on the 13 & 14th floor. Ask for funds to build out.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO reason for the PD's office not to be housed in as convenient location as the DA's office is housed. I don't believe the story anon 1:14 tells either. Lykos hasn't done anything so negative as to earn her a bad rep outside of the sour grapes created in Harris County.