January 10, 2024

Susan Mandiberg Appointed to New Oregon Public Defense Commission

Distinguished Professor of Law Emerita Susan Mandiberg was appointed by Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Megan Flynn to serve on the new Oregon Public Defense Commission, tasked with overseeing Oregon’s state-funded public defense system.

Professor Emerita Susan Mandiberg has been appointed to serve as one of Oregon’s 12 distinguished members of the new Oregon Public Defense Commission (OPDC), tasked with administering Oregon’s state-funded public defense system. Her tenure began Jan. 1, 2024.

Mandiberg was appointed to this role by the Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Megan Flynn. She is one of two members to be appointed directly by the Chief Justice. Joining Mandiberg on the OPDC committee are seven other voting members: Peter Buckley, Rob Harris, Alton Harvey, Jr., Tom Lininger, Jennifer Nash, Adrian Tobin Smith, and Jennifer Parrish Taylor. Four non-voting members will also join the committee, including Rep. Paul Evans, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Brook Reinhard, and Justin Wright.

Mandiberg brings a wealth of experience to the commission. She was a professor at Lewis & Clark for over 40 years, where she taught many criminal law and litigation classes. She was also a trial and appellate attorney for a number of years, focusing on criminal law and procedure issues. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mandiberg worked as a cultural anthropologist, where she did fieldwork in rural Ecuador. In addition to her extensive career experience, she has also authored numerous published legal scholarly works on criminal law and environmental law, including a treatise on environmental crimes. Her diverse and vibrant experience and scholarship bring a unique set of skills to this role.

“The Sixth Amendment Center and the American Bar Association have determined that Oregon’s indigent defense system fails to meet constitutional standards. One aspect is that, as of January 5, 2024, thousands of accused persons are unrepresented by counsel,” said Mandiberg. “The Oregon Legislature has begun to address these problems, and the new Commission is meant to be part of the effort. I am looking forward to working with other volunteers and staff to ensure that no one charged with a crime in Oregon courts should have to face the power of the state without the prompt assistance of a competent, well-trained, well-resourced advocate.”

“I am grateful to these Oregonians who are stepping up to serve their communities at a time of great need,” said Justice Flynn in the press release. “The effort and expertise of these commissioners will help bring stability to Oregon’s public defense system and ensure that it serves all the Oregonians who depend on dedicated and experienced public defense attorneys to protect their rights.”