Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Timothy Young '02

Ohio Public Defender
Columbus, Ohio

When Timothy Young graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1992, his classmates voted him the most likely to become a criminal defense lawyer. "I think they knew me better than I knew myself," said Young, who was appointed public defender for the state of Ohio in September 2007.

After graduation from UDSL, Young, who also earned his bachelor's from UD, worked for two years in a private practice, but said, "It wasn't where I was meant to be." Since 1994 he has been an employee of the Montgomery County Public Defender's Office, and served as its deputy director since 2000, managing the day-to-day operations of the office and supervising 41 lawyers and 24 support staff.

During that time, Young said there were many moments that assured him the public defender's office was the place he was meant to be. One that stands out is the day when a former client, whose innocence Young was able to prove after he was falsely accused of robbery, came back into the office after nine years. He told Young, "You saved my life."

"Moments like that make all of the tough times worth it," Young said.

As state public defender, Young faces many challenges. Foremost on his mind, he said, is the recent report issued by the American Bar Association that says Ohio meets only 4 out of 93 standards for capital death penalty cases. Young also said he wants to "bring local offices up to standards" and create more standards for comparison between offices.

"I've devoted my legal career to indigent defense, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to lead the state system," Young said. "Indigent criminal defense isn't an easy or popular issue, but it's essential to our system of justice."

Ohio's public defender system was created in 1976 by Chapter 120 of the Ohio Revised Code. The Ohio Public Defender is overseen by the nine-member Ohio Public Defender Commission. The primary focus of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender is the appeals and post-trial activities of criminal and juvenile delinquency cases. The Ohio Public Defender also offers representation at trial when requested by the courts, as well as at parole and probation revocation hearings for the approximately 45,000 adult and 2,000 juvenile inmates currently incarcerated in Ohio. Other services include technical assistance, educational programs and assistance to court-appointed attorneys throughout the state. The office is divided into Death Penalty, Legal and Administration Divisions, as well as the Trumbull County Branch Office and the Multi-County Program.