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County Names New Chief Public Defender

Keir Bradford-Grey is the first African-American and second woman to lead the office.

The first part of the Miranda warning is familiar to anyone who's watched their share of police shows on television: "You have the right to remain silent..."

The next, somewhat less familiar portion describes an important obligation of the government under the U.S. Constitution's 6th Amendment, which guarantees people accused of a crime the assistance of legal counsel:

"You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

In Montgomery County, that responsibility is handled by the Public Defender's office, and on Thursday, that office got a new leader.

Keir Bradford-Grey will the first African-American and second woman to lead the office. She comes to the county from the Federal Public Defender's Office for the District of Delaware, where she has worked since 2007. Prior to that job, she had been an assistant public defender for the City of Philadelphia since graduating from law school in 1999.

"As chief defender, my main objective will be to provide quality representation to indigent defendants,” Bradford-Grey said in a statement released by the county. “In providing quality representation we can insure that all verdicts are fair, correct, swift and final.”

The county said Bradford-Grey had earned "a reputation for high ethical standards, and a keen ability to combine research, analysis, logical reasoning and raw instinct to develop unconventional trial strategies."

She was also credited by the county with "pioneering the use of DNA, linguistics and handwriting expertise in constructing effective criminal defenses."

Bradford-Grey listed reductions in juvenile recidivism and wrongful convictions as among her goals for the office.

“We are extremely pleased and fortunate to have Ms. Bradford-Grey assume the very important responsibility as chief public defender in Montgomery County,” said Josh Shapiro, chairman of the county's Board of Commissioners.

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