LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The county government offered the newly-created position of Conflict Defender to local attorney Hayden Dadd, and he accepted.
Dadd currently serves the County as a Livingston County Assistant District Attorney and has worked as both a prosecutor and defense attorney within his past eight years as an attorney. A panel including County Administrator Ian Coyle and Public Defender Marcea Clark Tetamore selected Dadd from a pool of four other interviewees.
“I’m excited at the new opportunity,” said Dadd. “I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Livingston County as Conflict Defender.”
As Conflict Defender, Dadd and Assistant Conflict Defenders within his department will represent clients in family court, surrogate’s court or those who are accused of crimes in Livingston County who demonstrate that they cannot afford to hire a private attorney on their own and cannot be represented by the Public Defender’s Office due to a conflict of interest. Historically, Livingston County has contracted with local law firms to deliver this service, but is now creating its own department.
“This new department is being created mostly for efficiency,” said County Administrator Ian Coyle. “Mr. Dadd will be able to hire his own staff and the County can manage the department a little more appropriately than if it was a private firm. For our county, it’s a newfangled approach to delivering a core service, and there’s some apprehension and trepidation with something new. But in-house conflict defenders’ offices are not new to counties. Monroe County had that arrangement for a long time. The Board [of Supervisors] supports it and trust that Mr. Dadd and I will be savvy enough to create this department.”
The details of how many staff members Dadd will hire and what their roles will be are still to be ironed out by Dadd and Coyle over the next few months. What is known is that Dadd, as a department head, will oversee a $350,000 budget for the department’s first year.
“That’s a blanket number, meaning that we don’t know yet how that budget will be divided,” said Coyle. “In January Hayden and I piece together how specifically this money will be used. At least partially it will go towards compensating assisting attorneys and providing benefits for them.”
Until then, Coyle echoed Dadd’s enthusiasm for getting to work.
“This is a new approach to indigent defense services for us,” said Coyle. “It’s a startup situation where we have to come up with a budget and structure for a new county department. It’s challenging but fun to come in on the ground floor like this.”