Judge Cook slams former Public Defender

In Yates County Criminal Court Tuesday, March 6, Judge Jason Lee Cook made clear his displeasure with the county’s former Public Defender, Edward Brockman, and the handling of recent cases by his office.

Brockman, 70, was not reappointed to the Public Defender position after being accused of groping a teenage female client in February 2016, and is still facing a charge of forcible touching (class A misdemeanor) in Penn Yan Village Court. (See story on page 1)

Brockman’s Assistant Public Defender, Keith Lord, was twice passed over for the position by the County Legislature; first in favor of an outside candidate, then, following her withdrawal, in favor of fellow Assistant Public Defender Katie Martens-Henderson. After her appointment, Martens-Henderson appealed to the legislature for a salary increase for Lord, which was granted. According to sources in the courthouse, Lord then took two weeks vacation, and upon his return, placed a box of client files on Martens-Henderson’s desk and handed her a letter of resignation, effective immediately.

Finding herself without any assistants, Martens-Henderson then appointed David Mashewske, most recently a former Assistant District Attorney but previously an Assistant Public Defender, both for Yates County.

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