Cooper Stepping Down As NM Top Public Defender

Dec 21, 2012

New Mexico chief public defender says she's stepping down after more than a year and a half on the job.

Jacqueline Cooper made the announcement Friday. She says she's proud of the work the department has been able to accomplish, but she must focus on her family and her mother's fragile health.

Cooper says she will work with the governor's office to ensure a smooth transition as she moves to an assistant manager position within the department.

Deputy Chief Bennett Baur will serve as acting chief public defender.

Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Cooper as chief public defender in April 2011. Prior to that, she was a practicing lawyer for more than two decades and led the department's mental health division.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.