The Mohave County Public Defender’s Office will be getting a new chief thanks to a vote by the county board of supervisors on Monday.

Christopher Stavris will assume his role as Mohave County Public Defender on Aug. 12, with a starting salary of $120,000. Stavris is a criminal defense attorney of 12 years’ experience, with experience in legal services contracts with Arizona counties and cities. As of this month, he practiced criminal law through his Scottsdale firm, The Stavris Law Firm.

The position of Public Defender was left vacant by Alex Bolobonoff, a veteran of almost 20 years’ experience with Mohave County, about two months ago.

Since then, Bolobonoff’s position has been held by former Mohave County Superior Judge Richard Weiss, who will remain to ease Stavris’ transition into the role.

Stavris has worked with public defense offices, judiciaries, court administration and county attorneys’ offices; with routine appearances on felony and complex cases in Maricopa, Pinal and Mohave Counties. He is licensed to practice law in Arizona and New Jersey, and possesses a certificate of recognition and appreciation from the Arizona Innocence Project.

Mohave County’s search for a new Public Defender began this March, with candidates being reviewed by a panel including Mohave County Superior Court Judge Charles Gurtler, County Attorney Matt Smith, Mohave County Legal Defender Ron Gilleo and County Manager Mike Hendrix. Stavris was approved unanimously.

According to Stavris, his experience in defending clients throughout Arizona, as well as his past ability to work with county and state agencies, has made him confident in his ability to serve as the county’s public defender. In his letter to Mohave County legal officials, Stavris explained that a majority of his representation has been lended to clients through county indigent defense contracts.

“I have been awarded contracts from six counties within Arizona for misdemeanor, felony, appellate, post-conviction, family law, juvenile law and mental health case assignments,” Stavris wrote. “During the course of my practice I have worked closely with many public defense and prosecutors’ offices. I have appeared before hundreds of judicial offices and have had excellent working relationships with their divisions. I pride myself on being able to effectively communicate with my clients as well as other attorneys in order to promote efficiency, productivity and justice.”

Working well with other departments will be a must for Stavris as the county’s public defender, this year especially. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors also approved a motion on Monday to allow the basement of the public

defender’s office to accommodate court proceedings and offer court services.

The unoccupied basement of Stavris’ new office will be renovated to accommodate court functions, with a $17,000 county investment to improve electrical and air conditioning services at the facility.

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