Public Defenders Office

Public Defender Staff Photo

By the authority of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, the Public Defender Office was created by Resolution Number C1610291 dated October 13, 2016. The office has been staffed and operational since January 1, 2017. 

The office is staffed by a team of Public Defenders, as well as a roster of independent conflict panel defense attorneys committed to the Standards for Indigent Defense as provided by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission. 

Our interdisciplinary team of professionals adhere to the holistic defense model, providing not only the highest quality representation for our clients as they face criminal charges, but also seeking to obtain the best possible outcomes for clients by providing social support and connecting clients with local social support services. 

Request for Appointment of Counsel

To request appointment of counsel, the form below may be utilized. The Request for Appointment of Counsel form may be downloaded, printed and filled out or electronically filled out, and submitted either in person, by mail, or email (see the notice below).

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If submitting this form via email, please protect your personal information and send this form via a secure and encrypted method and send to our office at

Public Defenders

Paul Jancha Jr, Chief Public Defender

Kaitlin Locke, Chief Assistant Public Defender


Carri Briseno, Assistant Public Defender

Ellen Christie, Assistant Public Defender 

Erika Damstetter, Assistant Public Defender

Jennifer Fields, Assistant Public Defender

Jeffrey Hampel, Assistant Public Defender

Kati Hoekstra, Assistant Public Defender 

Kevin Mackin, Assistant Public Defender

Alexandria Miller, Assistant Public Defender

Christopher Page, Assistant Public Defender

Scott Sanford, Assistant Public Defender

Robert Schlacks, Assistant Public Defender

Peter Schlemmer, Assistant Public Defender

Stephanie Teeple, Assistant Public Defender

Donald Teichman, Assistant Public Defender

Paul Toman, Assistant Public Defender

Shayne Williams, Assistant Public Defender


Supporting Staff 

Don Trail, Chief Investigator

Max Baum, Investigator

Katie Sircher, Investigator


Denise Lane, Lead Social Worker

Andrew Cousins, Social Worker 


Lynne Christiano, Office Administrator

Teresa Stevens, Legal Assistant 

Dana Whitaker, Legal Assistant 

County of Berrien Seal