Oregon’s Public Defense Services Commission Fires Leader

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Even as hundreds of people charged with crimes in Oregon remain deprived of legal representation, a commission tasked with fixing the problem fired the leader of the effort.

The action Thursday by the Public Defense Services Commission capped an extraordinary week in which Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters took the unprecedented step of firing all the members of the commission.

She then reinstated five of them while appointing four new members.

The commission fired Stephen Singer, executive director of the Office of Public Defense Services.

He said his ouster would make low-income people charged with a crime, who disproportionately are people of color, suffer the consequences.

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