Lawyers, ACLU decry public defender’s dismissal

A lawyers’ organization and a civil-rights group are criticizing Kootenai County commissioners’ decision to dismiss the county’s chief public defender.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reports John Adams was fired recently after 17 years in the position.

Kootenai County Commissioner Jai Nelson said last week that Adams’ dismissal is the first step of a comprehensive study of its public-defender system.

Adams says he was fired just weeks after he made a formal complaint against Nelson, alleging that she had harassed him.

The Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers says the decision to fire Adams appears to be predetermined, having been made before the county’s study was completed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho says the commission should swiftly and unequivocally correct its decision.