To Whom It May Concern:
I interned at the San Francisco Public Defenders Office, and quickly fell in love with the vigor and dedication of several of the public defenders in that office. Their zeal for clients was contagious and I was hooked. After getting my California Bar Card, I moved to Texas, hungry to represent the indigent. I’d grown proud of representing the poor, mentally ill, abused, those affected by addiction, marginalized, suicidal, and those generally discarded by mainstream society.
Once back in Texas, I craved the community I experienced in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and was quickly disheartened to discover the Harris County Public Defender’s Office was in its first year of operation and the doors were not yet open to young lawyers eager to serve the indigent. However, due to the dedication and vision of the lawyers in that office, a grant was secured from the Department of Justice and ten lawyers were selected to train with the faculty of Gideon’s Promise. I was one of those lucky ten and thank my stars for it. I found the community I was looking for, and more. I started training with Gideon’s Promise and was fortunate to meet some of the dedicated public defenders toiling in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Throughout my time at Gideon’s Promise, I visited with the public defenders working in your state to help your citizens. On every occasion I was amazed at their work ethic, devotedness, and legal skillfulness. They have inspired me as a lawyer, a person dedicated to representing the indigent, and as members of my own community. I have seen them pour their blood, sweat and tears in fighting against injustice and representing their clients. I know they keep the government accountable, and safeguard our Constitution. The cost in terms of justice, the human toll and irreparable harm to defense of the poor, would far outweigh the benefit, if any, of shutting down this office.
Please do not dismantle justice in your community. Consider doing all you can, and then more, to help save the lawyers saving the face of indigent defense in Lafayette, LA. I dream of someday being fortunate enough to work in a public defender’s office with people as committed as those in Lafayette. I work in a place where lawyers are appointed from the bench to represent the indigent, and I am one of those lawyers. Please believe me when I tell you having an office like that in Lafayette is an invaluable asset and one worth fighting to preserve.
Very Truly Yours,
/s/ Victoria Erfesoglou