Kootenai Defender To Resign Public Defender’s Office Has High Turnover Rate

After six months in office, the Kootenai County chief public defender announced Friday he is resigning.

Ron Coulter said Friday the Idaho attorney general’s office offered him a job. Coulter said he will be a deputy attorney general for the Idaho Department of Law Enforcement.

“I just felt it was a career move,” Coulter said after accepting the job. “I really have struggled hard with the decision.”

In recent years, the public defender’s office has grappled with a high turnover rate for attorneys.

Coulter is one of three attorneys scheduled to leave the office this summer, said Cathy Malzahn, Kootenai County human resources director.

Joel Ryan, the chief deputy public defender, is scheduled to leave in August. John Adams, a former Ada County public defender, will take his place, Malzahn said.

Another attorney will leave later this month, she said.

Coulter took over as public defender in November. He had just retired after 20 years in the Marine Corps.

One of his primary goals was to bring technology to the office - something it was sorely lacking. After less than two weeks on the job, he had convinced county commissioners to give his attorneys nine new computers.

The office is now hooked up to the Internet and other computer resources for legal research.

“He came in and basically computerized that office,” said Tom Taggart, county administrator. “He’s leaving us in much better shape than he found us.”

Coulter said he was not actively seeking another job, but instead, the attorney general’s office recruited him after seeing him on a public television talk show.

Coulter will leave the office June 28, giving the county almost two months to fill his position.

, DataTimes

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