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Bar News - October 19, 2012

NH Public Defender’s Keating Heads Judicial Council

Gov. Lynch presents a proclamation honoring the service to the state of Nina Gardner, retiring executive director of the NH Judicial Council, and a state employee for 40 years.
Christopher Keating has left his position as executive director of the NH Public Defender to succeed Nina Gardner, who retired earlier this month as executive director of the NH Judicial Council.

The Judicial Council, a small executive branch agency headed by an independent board, oversees the indigent defense delivery system, including the contract and assigned-counsel programs. It also advocates for legislation and matters relating broadly to the administration of justice. Keating assumed his Council position on Oct. 15.

The Judicial Council administers the contract for the Public Defender program, which provides most of the indigent criminal defense representation in the state. NHPD is New Hampshire’s largest law firm with more than 120 attorneys working in 10 offices, plus an appellate bureau handling criminal appeals in the NH Supreme Court.

Abigail Albee, an attorney who had been director of legal services for NHPD, will take over as interim executive director while the NHPD’s board, headed by attorney Cathy Green, commences a national search for Keating’s replacement.

Keating has headed the NH Public Defender since 2001. A member of the American Council of Chief Defenders, he serves as vice-chair of the Bar Association’s Committee on Cooperation with the Courts. In 2009 he was honored with the NH Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Champion of Justice Award; in 2010 the NH Bar Association awarded him the E. Donald Dufresne Award for Outstanding Professionalism.

Asked about his new role, Keating observed, "I’m keenly aware that I am succeeding, not replacing, Nina Gardner. She built traditions of integrity and accountability at the Judicial Council that have made the agency a trusted resource in supporting New Hampshire’s efforts to ensure equal justice to all citizens."

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