Fitzgerald Appoints Elliot Howsie as Public Defender

Contact:Amie M. Downs, County
412-350-3711 office
412-327-3700 cell

PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today that he has appointed Elliot Howsie, Esq. as Allegheny County’s new Public Defender.  Mr. Howsie will begin his new role on Monday, March 19th.

“I am proud to announce the appointment of Elliot Howsie as the Allegheny County Public Defender and look forward to his service to our county,” said Fitzgerald.  “Elliot has a reputation for being a fierce advocate for his clients and brings a fire, drive and dedication to this position that will serve him well. He is committed to providing the clients of the Public Defender’s Office a vigorous defense and representation that is in their best interest.  I look forward to the positive changes that he will make in this office.”

A sole practitioner, Mr. Howsie has provided criminal defense and personal injury representation to his clients.  Prior to opening his own firm, he worked in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office as an attorney in the child abuse unit of the office.  Howsie also clerked for the Pennsylvania Superior Court and served as an intern for the Public Defender’s Office and Neighborhood Legal Services while earning his Juris Doctorate.

A graduate of Central Catholic High School, Howsie earned his undergraduate and graduate degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in criminology.  He attended the Duquesne University Law School at night while working full-time, graduating in 1998.

Fitzgerald indicated that this appointment is only the first step in addressing issues in the Public Defender’s Office:  “Making changes in the office and in the representation that is provided to indigent defendants is not something that is going to happen overnight, with one person.  Having a leader, though, who understands and recognizes that no one person is going to come into the office and solve its problems, is absolutely necessary – and Elliot Howsie is that leader and will make the combined effort to put this office in the right direction.”

In addition to his professional roles, Howsie is a member of the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board and a board member with the Family and Community Enrichment Center at Macedonia Church in the Hill District.  He also teaches law as an adjunct professor at Duquesne.

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