Friday, November 5, 2010
Sean Kennedy Reappointed Federal Public Defender
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles attorney Sean K. Kennedy has been reappointed to a second four-year term as federal public defender for the Central District of California effective Jan. 16, Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said yesterday.
Kennedy, 46, has worked in the Central District’s Office of the Federal Public Defender since 1992. He leads a staff of 77 assistant federal public defenders working in offices in Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Ana who opened a combined 3,546 new cases in fiscal year 2009, the Office of the Circuit Executive said in a release.
In addition to criminal defense and appeals, federal public defenders are assigned to court-directed prisoner and witness representations, bail/pre-sentencing matters, and probation and parole revocation hearings.
Kennedy served his first eight years in the office’s Trial Unit handling narcotics, violent crime and fraud cases, and tried a limited number of non-capital cases. In 2001, he joined the Appeals and Non-capital Writs Unit, where he litigated direct appeals arising from federal trials and post-conviction state court cases.
Three years later, he became the supervising deputy for the Capital Habeas Unit, overseeing all capital habeas cases from pre-petition representation through the duration of the proceedings. He handled all administrative responsibilities for the unit while he continued to carry a full capital caseload.
Kennedy became the federal public defender for the Central District of California in 2006, succeeding Maria Stratton, who had held the post since 1993 but resigned to accept appointment as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
A native of Omaha, Neb., he attended Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School before joining the State Bar of California in 1990. Following law school, Kennedy worked for a Los Angeles criminal defense law firm for almost three years, assisting partners in state and federal criminal cases.
The Office of the Federal Public Defender was created by Congress to fulfill the constitutional requirement that indigents charged with crimes in the federal justice system be provided with professional legal representation at no cost. Congress funds the Offices of the Federal Public Defender in each district through the Defender Services Division of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
By statute, judges of the courts of appeals select and appoint the federal public defender of each district for a renewable term of four years. The court makes its initial appointment after a nationwide recruitment and the use of a local screening committee pursuant to Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines.
A federal public defender may be reappointed if the court concludes that he or she is performing in a highly satisfactory manner based upon a broad survey and performance evaluation process, the Office of the Circuit Executive explained.
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