A former Kern County Public Defender’s office investigator is suing the county and several top public defenders alleging he was wrongly fired after he demanded overtime pay and blew the whistle on a deputy public defender who — he said — told a witness to lie.
A complaint filed on behalf of David Brown in Kern County Superior Court this week listed the county, Public Defender Arthur Titus, Chief Deputy Public Defender Dominic Eyherabide and Chief Assistant Public Defender Konrad Moore as defendants.
Titus said Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t had a chance to look at the lawsuit or speak with county counsel about it. However, he said Brown was fired only for the reasons outlined in his letter of termination and that the Public Defender’s Office does not instruct witnesses to lie.
“Nobody in this office has encouraged any witnesses to lie,” Titus said.
Brown’s suit alleges that he was not paid for overtime or per diem wages unless he repeatedly demanded payment. The suit said Brown was denied training opportunities and a promotion in retaliation.
The suit said that on April 28 last year, Brown sat in while deputy public defender Paul Cadman interviewed a witness who was the sister of a defendant in a criminal case.
After the interview, the witness contacted Brown and told him that Cadman asked her to lie about “the facts and circumstances” of the case and to say she had a sexual relationship with a female Kern County Sheriff’s Department deputy who arrested the witness’ brother when she did not, the suit said.
Brown’s attorney, Gabriel Godinez, said his understanding is the witness was told that discrediting the deputy could help her brother’s case.
Calls to Cadman for comment were not returned.