SLO County public defender’s office accused of malpractice

July 3, 2019

The attorney who represented the family of Andrew Holland, an inmate who died after being strapped in a chair for 46 hours, filed a malpractice lawsuit against the law firm that provides public defender services to San Luis Obispo County. [KSBY]

Attorney Paula Canny filed the lawsuit on behalf of John Wyman, who claims his court-appointed public defender failed to fully investigate his case before urging him to plead guilty. Wyman, a 52-year-old veteran, was initially charged with three felonies after he allegedly resisted three San Luis Obispo police officers last year.

Wyman spent 10 months in custody and then pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting a peace officer.

Canny filed the malpractice suit against San Luis Obispo Defenders, a private law firm led by attorney Patricia Ashbaugh that is under contract with the county to provide legal services to the poor. The suit names Ashbaugh, as well as Ronald Crawford, the court-appointed attorney who defended Wyman.

The aim of the lawsuit is to help assure defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney get adequate representation, Canny said. In addition to the Holland family, Canny also represents several former inmates and their families.

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CalCostNews and LAWMAN1 – do a little research before writing stories and making uninformed comments. A quick review of the public court docket shows that the Judge found Wyman incompetent to stand trial in July (good job public defender Crawford for recognizing this and bringing it to the Judge’s attention), Wyman was then ordered to the State Hospital for restoration to competency, 8 MONTHS later Wyman was restored to competency at the State Hospital, he was then sent back to SLO County Jail, Paula Canny substitutes into Wyman’s case as his attorney, Canny asks for a bail reduction – the Judge instead ends up INCREASING his bail, then Wyman sits in jail for 2 more months before Canny pleads Wyman to a misdemeanor resisting arrest. Shame on you CalCoastNews and LAWMAN1 – do some research!

The system is broken

Start at the top, The Sheriff is broken.

Duhhh….. A public defender gets to spend maybe 15 minutes total with it’s defendant, Judge appoints a public defender they walk out into the hall, they thumb through the report and you don’t hear from them till next court date and then they lead you to believe that they have spent time with the District Attorney and judge and then your laid away with some god awful plea deal.. I worked in the court for many years in slo county… public defenders and the district attorneys are all paid county employees and its all an inside shenanigans…… there are few honest public defenders out there…

the SLO county court system is like a stock yard for cattle ….they want to herd you in and out as quickly as possible….and keeping someone in jail for 10 months and it was reduced to a misdemeanor… this is how Ian Parkinson keeps his jail population high so he can bleed the county of $$$$$$$$.. jail & incarceration is for felons NOT misdemeanors…