McKenna Stepping Down; Couenhoven Retiring

Patrick McKenna is stepping down as SDAP’s Executive Director. As he explained: “Earlier this year, I was approached by a small civil litigation firm with an offer to join them. After lots of thought, I ultimately decided to accept the offer, concluding that this was the best decision for me and my family. While I am looking forward to this next chapter, I will miss SDAP, our panel, and the court appointed counsel program immensely. I have felt so privileged to work at SDAP over the past 12 years, surrounded by such smart and kind attorneys both on our staff and panel. I have valued the significance of the work we do and the dedication and commitment that I have seen by the many people populating this system. . . . [I]t bears emphasis that this was not an easy decision, and I will miss this office and this work very much.”

Further, Staff Attorney Paul Couenhoven will be retiring from SDAP in July.  After working as a panel attorney, Paul joined the SDAP staff in 1997.  He has numerous published victories to his credit, including People v. Nesler (1997) 16 Cal.4th 561, People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185 (overruled by Johnson v. Department of Justice (2015) 60 Cal.4th 871), People v. Brown (2019) 32 Cal.App.5th 726, In re Grunau (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 997, and People v. Brady (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 954.  He is a skilled attorney and has been a wonderful resource for our staff and panel.  Most importantly, Paul is a kind person and has been a wonderful colleague over his decades with SDAP.  We will miss him greatly, though he still will be taking some cases from us as a member of the SDAP panel. 

SDAP Board of Directors has selected Jonathan Grossman as the next Executive Director, effective July 8, 2024.  Jonathan has been a staff attorney at SDAP since 1999.  During that time, he has handled the full range of cases, serving as a valuable mentor for our staff and panel.  Since 2017, he has served on the Judicial Council’s Appellate Advisory Committee and is presently a Board Member for the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center.  He has authored or co-authored four chapters on a variety of post-conviction topics in CEB manuals, while also providing monthly video presentations on Criminal Case Law Updates for CEB.  He will be assisted by Lori Quick, who will remain in her position as SDAP’s Assistant Director.

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