Hilary Potashner appointed federal public defender for L.A. region

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has appointed a career public defender to the post of federal public defender for the Central District of California, which is based in Los Angeles.

Hilary Lee Potashner, 47, began serving as acting federal public defender Sept. 15 after her predecessors’ retirement, according to a 9th Circuit press release. She will assume the post after the Office of Professional Management completes its background review, the release said.

Potashner has been a public defender in state and federal courts for more than two decades, first for the San Diego County public defender’s office and then for the federal office in the central district beginning in 2001. She has been the office’s chief deputy since 2012.

In Los Angeles, Potashner has represented former baseball star Lenny Dykstra on charges of bankruptcy fraud and accused LAX shooter Paul Ciancia.


“She is well known and respected by both the bench and bar in the Central District,” 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said in a statement. In addition to Los Angeles, the Central District also encompasses Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Potashner said in an email she was “honored to serve in this capacity.”

“My office is filled with extremely hard-working, talented individuals who are fully committed to providing the highest quality representation,” she said.

Potashner graduated from Duke University in 1989 with degrees in psychology and philosophy, and received her J.D. in 1993 from the University of California, Hastings. She is a native of Redbank, N.J.


Potashner will be overseeing an office about 240 attorneys, paralegals, investigators and other employees. The office provides legal representation for indigent defendants in federal criminal proceedings. Last fiscal year, the office opened about 3,400 cases.

She is succeeding Sean Kennedy, who is moving to Loyola Law School to head up its Center for Juvenile Law and Policy.

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