I’m Kendra Allen-Grant’s mother offering some insight and background into how and why she went from brilliant, genius IQ attorney, to using drugs to cope with the stress of the unrealistic and, at times, illegal demands of the Public Defenders Office (“An open secret,” Jan. 21).
Kendra had an opportunity to clerk for an Obama-appointed judge, but choose to be a public defender because when she was 10 she saw the statistics of how many minorities were incarcerated versus whites. She loved her job at the PDO and by all accounts her clients loved her as she was known for willing unwinnable cases. To do that she had to work at least 60-80 hours a week.
Kendra told me that a couple of years ago they were being required to have nearly double the clients than was legally allowed and that she and a number of other female attorneys were told that if they did not sign documents perjuring themselves to comply that they would be fired. The stress was so high in the PDO that one women committed suicide, one got critically ill and many quit or found ways to numb themselves out to cope.
The PDO must change their unrealistic expectations and stick to the legal limits their clients.