I agree that people deserve decent and capable representation when they are involved in the criminal justice system, regardless of their circumstances, but I was extremely disheartened by the fact that the article (“An open secret,” Jan. 21) simply made Kendra Allen-Grant out to be a meth-head.
The article failed to mention any of her many accomplishments prior to her drug use and forced resignation from the public defender’s office. Kendra graduated in the top of her law class from Gonzaga University; Kendra ran and completed marathons; Kendra was an amazing defense attorney.
I knew Kendra when she was new to the public defender’s office. She was young, bright-eyed and ambitious. She was optimistic about the system and put everything into her job, believing that she could make a difference. I believe that Kendra’s need for perfection in an office that piles on the work, without regard for the worker, and accepts mediocre representation for their clients contributed to Kendra’s downward spiral to that dark place of addiction.
I can only hope that Kendra’s story will start a much deeper conversation about mental health, job-stress, addiction and caseload. Kendra is not a bad person, she was simply broken by a broken system.