Amy M. Karlin Appointed as Interim Federal Public Defender for Central District of California

Posted by on October 1, 2019 in Press & Internal News

Amy M. Karlin, Interim Federal Public Defender, Central District of California

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has appointed Amy M. Karlin as Interim Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California, effective October 1, 2019. She will serve until the court appoints a Defender for the vacancy created by outgoing FPD Hilary Potashner, who is leaving to take a position in private practice.

Ms. Karlin has worked in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the Central District since 1990 and was promoted to Directing Attorney of the Southern Division in Santa Ana in 2009. In addition to carrying a full caseload, she manages a team of attorneys, investigators, paralegals and legal assistants, and oversees all aspects of trial and post-conviction litigation in the division. She previously served as the chief training attorney, coordinating legal education opportunities for the FPD Office and the Central District’s Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys, and has spoken at various local and national conferences. Ms. Karlin also engages in an outreach program as part of the FPD Office’s Diversity Committee, serving as a judge in high school mock trials.

“We are so pleased that Amy has agreed to serve in this critical role while we conduct a search for the new federal public defender,” said Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, who chairs the Ninth Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders. “I know that she will assure a smooth transition and maintain the high standards that have been long set for this office.”

Ms. Karlin received her B.A. in 1987 from the University of California, San Diego, and her J.D. in 1990 from Loyola Law School. While in law school, she clerked at a law firm in Los Angeles that specialized in criminal law and First Amendment cases.

The Office of the Federal Public Defender was created by Congress to fulfill the constitutional requirement that financially eligible individuals charged with crimes in the federal justice system be provided with professional legal representation at no cost. By statute, judges of the courts of appeals select and appoint the federal public defender for a renewable four-year term. In the Ninth Circuit, FPD applicants are evaluated by both a local screening committee and the court’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders, applying Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines.

The Central District of California stretches along the California coast from San Luis Obispo County in the north to Orange County in the south, and across the state to the borders of Arizona and Nevada in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California is one of the largest in the United States, with a staff of more than 200 employees working in Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Ana.

Applications for the Federal Public Defender position in the Central District of California are being accepted until 5:00 p.m. on December 5, 2019. Further information and the application form are available at