Hennepin County's chief public defender placed on leave, faces review

There have reportedly been complaints made about Mary Moriarty.
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Mary Moriarty

Hennepin County's chief public defender is on leave while the county conducts a review reportedly into her workplace conduct.

State Public Defender William Ward confirmed that Mary Moriarty was placed on paid leave effective Monday, Dec. 23.

Her leave is in place "pending a review of issues that have been brought to the attention of members of the Board of Public Defense."

The Hennepin County Public Defender's Office is making no further comment, but Moriarty herself has revealed more details about the review.

She told MPR that during a recent board hearing, she was accused of using inappropriate language, inflexibility, and "fostering a culture of fear."

She also said that nobody had ever raised such concerns with her before.

Moriarty has been a public defender for 30 years, providing legal counsel for those accused of crimes who have limited incomes.

She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota.

On Christmas Day, Moriarty tweeted that she is "very fortunate to have the love and support of so many."

She then spent part of the day helping with the response to the fire at the overflow homeless shelter at the Francis Drake Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

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