Former OKC Bomber's Attorney Temporarily Taking Over Public Defender's Office

Wednesday, December 3rd 2014, 7:16 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa attorney who once represented the Oklahoma City bomber has agreed to take over the Tulsa County Public Defender's Office until a permanent replacement can be found.

Rob Nigh said he's doing it because he believes everyone deserves the best representation in court, whether they can afford it or not.

No stranger to high-profile cases, Nigh worked in Tulsa County's Public Defender's Office in the past and did public defense work at the federal level.

During that stint, he represented the state's most notorious mass murderer, Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

For the past 14 years, Nigh has been in private practice at the Tulsa law firm, Brewster and DeAnglelis.

He said, far from public defenders being bottom-of-the-barrel attorneys, many are top of the line.

"You prove to them every day, the best representation you get is a public defender who does it every day," Nigh said.

He'll be running an office that has 35 attorneys and handles around 2,000 cases a year.

In addition to representing people charged with crimes, public defenders handle civil cases, and there's also a juvenile division.

Nigh said representing juveniles is the most important because if you can help them while they're young, it could change their future.

"We can make sure clients get the services that keep them from remaining in the system. We can help make those juveniles who are disadvantaged working members of society," he said.

Nigh said the Public Defender's Office is important because many people accused, are not guilty. Others are guilty, but have a legit defense, and still others are guilty, but the issue is finding the best punishment.

He said that type of work is why he agreed to take on the temporary assignment.

"Some people would describe it as a burden. I don't see it that way. I see it as an opportunity to hopefully make a difference," said Rob Nigh, a private attorney who is temporarily taking over the Tulsa County Public Defender's Office.

By law, the chief public defender's job pays the same as the District Attorney's. Starting January 1, that's around $129,000 a year.