Charlotte’s PD retires

I just got back from a week’s vacation and haven’t made it through all my papers yet. But I did see that Isabel Day, Meck County’s Public Defender, is retiring. A few years ago, I profiled her office for the mag. To this day, I think it remains my favorite story of all the ones I have written. I found Isabel and the work her office does to be fascinating. I hung out with a couple assistant PDs for a few days, and I could have hung out all month. What they have to deal with is unbelievable. Of course, the number one question they face is, how can you consistently defend people who are guilty? Each person had their own approach, but what it came down to is this: They do it because it is the American way. They do it because they believe in the justice system, and they believe everyone deserves a fair shake. And throughout the day, each PD kept a good humor, which I would have found impossible. Isabel, in particular, was as quick with a laugh as anyone I have ever interviewed. Although she did tear up at the mention of one of her more difficult cases.

Anyway, I could go on. Observer story says Isabel and her husband are going to live in a boat off the coast. I wish them well, and her shoes are big ones to fill. —Rick Thurmond

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