Leadership

Public Defender

Theresa G. Haire

Q

Theresa G. Haire

937-496-7478
hairet@mcohio.org

Theresa graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. and holds a J.D. from The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. Before becoming the Montgomery County Public Defender, Theresa served as Deputy Director of the Ohio Public Defender for five years. Prior to that, Teresa practiced law as an Assistant Public Defender at the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, successfully litigating cases at every judicial level in state and federal court. Theresa is also a member of the National Defender Training Project Trial School faculty. Theresa’s professional affiliations include membership with the National Association for Public Defense, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Dayton Bar Association. She is licensed to practice in the state of Ohio, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

DEPUTY Public Defender

Kelli R. Howard

Q

Kelli R. Howard

937-225-5572
howardk@mcohio.org

Kelli graduated from Wright State University with a B.A. in Political Science and holds a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. She has practiced as an assistant public defender for 19 years and is currently the Deputy Public Defender of Montgomery County, a position she has held for the past 6 years. Before joining the Law office of the Montgomery County Public Defender Office, Kelli was a judicial law clerk for both Judge Barbara Gorman and Judge Richard O’Neill. Kelli taught for 10 years as an adjunct instructor at Sinclair Community College, Central State University and Union Institute and University. She taught courses on Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Business Law, and American Federal Government. Her professional affiliations include membership with the National Association of Public Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Dayton Bar Association. Kelli is licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Kelli proudly serves on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force on Technology, the board for the Montgomery County Juvenile Court Specialty Docket – Family Treatment Court, the National Association of Public Defense’s Racial Justice Sub-Committee, and the Dayton Bar Association Grievance Committee.

ATTORNEY MANAGERS

Kristine E. Comunale

Q

Kristine E. Comunale

937-496-7395
comunalek@mcohio.org

Kristine graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Wittenberg University and holds a J.D. from the Toledo University School of Law. She has practiced as a Public Defender for 26 years. Before coming to our office, Kristine worked for the Legal Aid Society of Toledo. Kristine is a member of the Dayton Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association for Public Defense, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She is licensed to practice in the state of Ohio. In her free time, Kristine enjoys watching her sons perform in theatre.

Julia J. Mauk

Q

Julia J. Mauk

937-224-3724
maukj@mcohio.org

Julia graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.A. in Philosophy and holds a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. Julia has practiced as a Public Defender for nine years, and before coming to our office, she was the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at Legal Aid of Western Ohio. Julia’s professional affiliations include membership with the National Association for Public Defense, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Dayton Bar Association. In her free time, Julia enjoys Irish dancing and being involved in the community, where she sits on the board of directors for both The House of Bread and Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton.

Kay M. Locke

Q

Kay M. Locke

937-225-5434
lockek@mcohio.org

Kay attended Miami University for three years and then received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from the University of Dayton. Kay also holds a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. Kay has practiced criminal defense for 34 years. Kay’s professional affiliations include membership with the National Association for Public Defense, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Dayton Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union. She is licensed to practice in the State of Ohio and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. In her free time, Kay enjoys biking, kayaking, practicing yoga, and spending time with her grandchildren.

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGERS

Amanda Fulk

Q

Amanda Fulk

(937) 224-1715
FulkA@mcohio.org

Amanda completed her undergraduate work at Sinclair Community College and Indiana Wesleyan University. Amanda has been with the Public Defender’s Office for 4 years, and prior to this office, worked for the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Amanda has also completed the National Association for Public Defense’s leadership course. When she is not working, Amanda enjoys spending time with her daughter, going to the beach, listening to music, going to concerts, and drawing.

Cathy Morris

Q

Cathy Morris

(937) 496-7578
MorrisC@mcohio.org

Cathy completed her undergraduate work at Bradford Business School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been with the Public Defender’s Office for 16 years and has worked in the office’s intake and secretarial divisions. Cathy has also completed the National Association for Public Defense’s Leadership course. When she is not working, Cathy enjoys going to the theatre, concerts, and art journaling.

PUBLIC DEFENDER COMMISSIONERS 

The Law Office of the Public Defender is governed by the Montgomery County Public Defender Commission.  The Commission consists of five members of the Dayton Community, who are appointed by various county judges and by the county commissioners. The members are as follows:

Dianne F. Marx
Public Defender Commission Chairperson

dianne_marx@ohsd.uscourts.gov

Term Ending: 12-31-2023

Stacey Benson-Taylor

staycdb1@aol.com

Term Ending: 01-12-2024

Brian D. Weaver

bweaver005@woh.rr.com

Term Ending: 1-12-2025

Bonnie Beaman-Rice

wbrice_jjysp@earthlink.net

Term Ending: 12-31-2021

Gary J. Leppla

LeadCounsel@leplaw.com

Term Ending: 3-31-2022

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