Los Angeles County public defender dies from COVID-19

A Los Angeles County deputy public defender died earlier this week, just a few days after testing positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed late Thursday.

It marked the first coronavirus death in the ranks of the L.A. County public defender’s office, and it comes as courts across California chart a path to reopen services and ease restrictions.

Ricardo Garcia, the county’s top public defender, did not identify the deceased attorney, but said the person worked in the West Covina branch office and died Wednesday.

“The loss of this deputy public defender is a tragedy, and our hearts reach out to family, friends, and the entire public defender’s office who lost a cherished colleague and friend,” Garcia said in a statement.

The deputy public defender had been self-isolating at home since May 16 and tested positive for COVID-19 three days later, officials said.


“Two co-workers who worked with the individual were immediately notified and quarantined upon receipt of the positive test,” said Garcia, adding that the office where the person worked was closed and cleaned.

Eight other employees of the L.A. County public defender’s office have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an office spokeswoman.