Dutchess County Executive Sue Serino is pleased to announce her selection of Margaret M. Walker as Dutchess County’s next Public Defender, following the recent retirement of longtime county Public Defender Thomas N.N. Angell. Ms. Walker, who currently serves as a Bureau Chief and the Office’s Director of Training, will be the sixth Public Defender in Dutchess County history.
County Executive Serino has forwarded a resolution confirming her appointment to the Dutchess County Legislature for consideration and approval at its January 16th board meeting.
To learn more about the Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office visitwww.dutchessny.gov/Departments/Public-Defender/Public-Defender.htm
“Margaret’s breadth of education, experience and passion to serve others make her the ideal person to serve as our next Public Defender,” said County Executive Serino. “In addition to her well-deserved reputation as a capable leader and legal mind, she brings her education and prior work experience in community and counseling psychology, which is critically important in helping to meet client needs and assist them in rebuilding productive lives. Our community will be well-served with Margaret Walker as our Public Defender.”
Ms. Walker brings a wide range of experience as she prepares to lead the Public Defender’s Office, having served in various roles in both the public and private sectors, including multiple roles in Dutchess County Government.
Her experience with the County began early in her career, with an internship with the Office of Probation and Community Corrections in 1994, as she studied for her Master’s degree in Community/Counseling Psychology from Marist College. Following her graduation from Marist in 1995, she worked for community organizations such as the Putnam Associated Resource Center in Carmel and the Community Rehabilitation Center in Kingston. She also served as an educator for the former Domestic Abuse Awareness Classes for Men program at Family Services, Inc. She later worked as a Domestic Violence Outreach Aide for the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, where she assisted victims of domestic violence with support and referrals, acting as liaison with the prosecutors handling criminal cases.
Earning her Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law, while working full-time, she graduated in 2003 and became an Assistant District Attorney for Dutchess County for several years. She briefly left Dutchess County Government in 2008, working at Corbally, Gartland and Rappleyea, LLP in Poughkeepsie and the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office. In 2011, she returned to Dutchess County Government, serving as Senior Assistant District Attorney from 2011 to 2017 and then as Senior Assistant County Attorney from 2017 to 2019.
She began her role as Bureau Chief and Director of Training in the Public Defender’s Office in 2019. She developed the office’s first formal attorney training program, and her expertise helped guide and train all attorneys and staff. As Director of Training, she also attended new attorneys’ court appearances, client interviews, and assisted with attorneys’ first experiences with litigation, in addition to handling her own criminal caseload.
Ms. Walker will be the first woman to serve as Dutchess County Public Defender. In her new role, she will lead a team of more than 35 lawyers, social workers, investigators and other pertinent staff, all of whom are dedicated to providing quality legal representation to indigent clients in Criminal and Family courts.
Ms. Walker said, “I am honored to be part of the incredibly talented team at the Dutchess County Public Defender’s Office. I look forward to continuing the Office’s reputation for providing a high standard of quality legal representation and continuing Tom Angell’s legacy of client-centeredness, as we help those in need strive to better their lives. I appreciate the confidence County Executive Serino has placed upon me, and I am excited to begin a new chapter of working toward greater fairness and equity in the criminal justice system in Dutchess County.”
Ms. Walker serves as a member of the National and New York State Associations for Criminal Defense Lawyers, the New York State Defenders Association, the Historical Society of the New York State Courts, as well as State, County and Women’s Bar Associations.
Born and raised in the Village of Wappingers Falls, she continues to live there with her husband. She enjoys walking their dogs, spending time with family, hiking and exploring nature in the Hudson Valley, and participating in local community events.
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