Oregon top judge said firing of commission was due to public defense system issues, not conflict with staff

Chief Justice Martha Walters fired the entire commission overseeing Oregon’s public defense services, then reinstated five members alongside four new appointees.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon’s chief justice denied Wednesday that a personality conflict led her to fire all members of a commission that governs the Office of Public Defense Services and appoints its executive director.

Critics for years have said Oregon’s public defense system is in crisis with far too few attorneys to represent people accused of crimes.

Chief Justice Martha Walters said last week the executive director, Stephen Singer, had verbally attacked her during one encounter and blamed him for failing to lead

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