County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard appointed Henry C. Coker to the position of Public Defender, officials announced today.
Since 1996, Coker has been the Chief Deputy of Branch Offices for the County Public Defender’s Office. In this position, he supervised all branches of the Public Defender’s Office, which includes approximately 100 attorneys. Prior to that, Coker worked for the Public Defender’s Office as a trial attorney, Felony Team leader, and the head of the Child Advocacy Division.
Former Public Defender Steve Carroll is retiring after 22 years of service to the County.
"Henry's got a strong background as a trial attorney, community leader, and administrator - just the experience this office needs. As a Chief Deputy with the Public Defender's Office for over a decade, Henry's managed all of the branch offices, including the dependency program,” Ekard said.
"He's got unique skills and a collaborative spirit and I know he's going to serve the County well."
Before joining the County, Coker worked as a Senior Personnel Analyst in the Human Resources Department at the UCSD Medical Center where he managed 1500 employees. Coker began his career teaching English and literature at a high school in North Carolina.
Coker earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature and has a master’s degree in educational administration. His law degree is from the Thomas Jefferson College of Law in San Diego.