LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Dozens of public defenders from across California staged a protest Monday to argue the appointment of the new interim Los Angeles County public defender Nicole Tinkham, saying she’s unqualified.

Many public defenders at the protest told CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold they believe Tinkham lacks experience with the clientele they serve in Los Angeles, specifically referencing poor communities, communities of color, immigrants and those suffering from mental illness.

L.A.’s new public defender has been a lawyer in California since 2003 and has defended Sheriff’s deputies in several lawsuits across the county.

Tinkham, who was a trial attorney and has 15 years of experience with employment law, sent CBS2 a statement saying, “I know that the staff of the Public Defender’s office cares deeply about its crucial mission of protecting the rights of the accused and ensuring a fair and equal justice system.

The statement went on to read, “I hope that these passionate public servants will come to see that I, too, am singularly committed to enhancing the office’s effectiveness so its clients can be even better served.”

Although Tinkham’s appointment is only temporary, protestors are asking the board of supervisors to reconsider their decision.

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