Lopez left his mark on courtroom
In our minds, defense attorney Derrick Lopez was a big argument against a class action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union charging that Douglas and 10 other rural Nevada counties weren’t providing adequate legal representation to criminal defendants.
We’ve found Lopez to be one of the finest attorneys to set foot in a Douglas County courthouse, no matter which side he was arguing.
So it’s with no small amount of consternation that we report he’ll be hanging up his briefs (pun intended) to take the position as assistant director of China Spring Youth Camp.
We know there will be some whose kneejerk reaction will be to say Lopez was too much attorney for the folks he has been appointed to represent.
Our answer is that a good public defender costs the county way less than a bad one.
Ignore for a moment the real possibility taxpayers might have to pay out a settlement should someone be wrongfully convicted.
The courts’ time is valuable and the attorneys who practice before our judges can make a real contribution to how swift and just they are.
Add to that the actual cost of potential appeals, jury trials and a variety of other things, and we contend that it’s better to pay for a good attorney on the front end, than pay the bill for damages down the road.
We have nothing but admiration for Lopez, and wish him well with this future endeavor.
But we know that with his departure, the pool of Douglas County’s public defenders will be that much shallower.