Michael A. Breeze, Public Defender
Juris Doctor (J.D.), Arizona State University Law School. B.S.W. (Social Work). Admitted to practice in 1981. Mr. Breeze was appointed Yuma County Public Defender in April, 2006. His experience includes sixteen years as a felony prosecutor and seven years in private practice. Mr. Breeze served on various State Bar Committees and sections including the Committee on Rules of Professional Conduct, Bench and Bar Committee, Criminal Rules Committee, Minority Bar Convention Committee and was chairman of the Public Lawyer Section. He was elected to the Board of Los Abogados, served on the Garfield Weed and Seed Committee. He was a founding member of the Arizona Constitutional Initiative Project for Justice and Victim’s Rights. Other Languages: Spanish.
Jillian Bachman-Underhill, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Connecticut School of Law, 2004. B.A. Tulane University, 2001. Mrs. Bachman-Underhill joined the Yuma County Public Defender’s Office in 2006. She is admitted to practice law in Arizona and California. Other Languages: Spanish.
John Cicala, Supervising Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Wesleyan University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas. B.S. (Business Management), Letourneau University, Longview, Texas. Admitted to the Arizona State Bar October 2000. Supervising Deputy Public Defender, Juvenile Justice Center since October 2007. Current and past areas of practice, Juvenile Defense, Dependencies, Misdemeanor Defense, Felony Defense, Post-Conviction Relief, Criminal Appeals, and Civil Litigation. Associate faculty member, Arizona Western College since 2004, teaching Crime & Delinquency, Criminal Procedure, Corrections Functions, Criminal Law
William Fox, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Thomas Jefferson School of Law. B.S. (Economics), Emory University. Admitted to practice in California in 2006. Admitted to practice in Arizona in 2008. Admitted to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California in 2006. Mr. Fox joined the Public Defender’s Office in 2007. Mr. Fox represents clients charged with felony offenses in Yuma Superior Court, including serious and complex cases. Mr. Fox is also the Intern Coordinator for the Law School Intern Program, which brings law students to Yuma every summer to get hands-on experience.
Olin Hale, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Southern Methodist University, 1989. B.A. (Government), University of Texas at Austin, 1976. Admitted to practice in 1989, admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 1989. Admitted to the United States District Court, District of Arizona, 1990, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1993 and the United States Supreme Court, 1996. Maricopa Deputy County Attorney from 1989-1990. Private practitioner in the areas of criminal law defense, in both federal and state court, criminal appeals, and personal injury law from 1991-2006. Certified by the Arizona State Bar as a Criminal Law Specialist from 2007-2012. Extensive felony criminal trial experience in both state and federal courts. Mr. Hale joined the Public Defender’s Office in 2008.
Michael Henson, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., University of Oklahoma, 1984. B.S., University of Oklahoma 1981, M.B.A., 2005, Northeastern Oklahoma State University. Extensive experience in both prosecution and criminal defense. Licensed in Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Former member and Editor of American Indian Law Review.
Edward McGee, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., University of Arizona, admitted to the State Bar of Arizona in 1975. Mr. McGee joined the Public Defender’s Office in 2009 after having served nearly 31 years in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Mr. McGee specializes in appeals and post-conviction relief matters.
Kris A. Moe, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans. Admitted to practice in Louisiana and Arizona. Ms. Moe joined the Public Defender’s Office in 2010. She has extensive experience in criminal defense including appellate work in state and federal appeals, state post conviction and federal habeas petitions including petitions for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, as a private practitioner in New Orleans. Ms. Moe represents clients charged with serious felony crimes, including cases designated by the court as complex. Ms. Moe is a member of the Yuma County Bar Association, and on the Board of Governors for Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Ricki Nicewander, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., University of California, Berkeley Law School. B.A., University of Michigan (Psychology and Sociology). M.A., Northern Arizona University (Educational Psychology and Counseling). Prior to attending law school, Ricki was an Adult Probation Officer in Maricopa County. She was assigned to a special unit dedicated to the supervision of Seriously Mentally Ill probationers. After graduation from law school, Ricki worked as a commercial litigation associate at the Lewis and Roca law firm in Phoenix. In July 2010, Ricki moved to Yuma and worked for the Yuma County Attorney's Office as an adult felony prosecutor for three years before transferring to the Juvenile Division, where she prosecuted juvenile delinquency cases. Ricki also served as the assigned prosecutor for Adult Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and Juvenile Drug Court. Ricki joined the Public Defender's Office in June 2014. She currently serves as President of the Yuma County Bar Association.
David R. Pardee, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., University of Arizona College of Law (1980). B.S. (Economics) University of Arizona (1977). Admitted to Arizona Bar 1980. Admitted to practice Arizona Federal District Court 1981. Twenty years general private law practice, including criminal defense, domestic relations, contracts, appeals, personal injury. 9 years felony prosecutor. Joined Yuma County Public Defender’s Office 2010.
Kristi Riggins, Deputy Public Defender
J.D., University of Arizona College of Law, M.A. (Philosophy). Arizona State University, B.A. (Chemistry), University of Arizona. Ms. Riggins joined the Public Defender’s Office in August 2006. She was a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office focusing on white collar crime in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Division. She served as assistant chief counsel and director of the Arizona Medicaid/AHCCCS Fraud Control Unit from 1989-1992. Ms. Riggins left the A.G.O. to practice privately in major felony criminal defense, including Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) defense, mental health law, Medicare/Medicaid (AHCCCS) administrative matters, and Qui Tam litigation. Ms. Riggins has tried over one hundred cases, of which more than eighty involved felony or SVP jury trials.
German Salazar, Supervising Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Arizona State University College of Law (1996). Bachelor of Science, University State of New York (1993). Admitted to practice in Arizona and U.S. District Court of Arizona in 1997. Private practice as criminal defense attorney in Maricopa County, Arizona for eleven years. Joined the Yuma County Public Defender’s Office in 2008 as Senior Attorney.
Raymond Vaca Jr., Deputy Public Defender
J.D., Arizona State University (1981). Admitted to practice in Arizona; U.S. District Court of Arizona; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Community Legal Services from 1981-1985. Maricopa County Deputy Public Defender from 1988-2003. Mr. Vaca was the original director for two public defender departments for two Native American communities for over 10 years. Mr. Vaca previously worked for the Yuma Public Defender from 2010-2012, rejoining the Office in 2014. Mr. Vaca represents clients charged with serious felony crimes, including cases designated by the court as complex.
A.S., Criminal Justice, Arizona Western College. 38 years Law Enforcement, 18 years of Executive Law Enforcement. Former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Agent in Charge, U.S. Customs Service Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Customs Service, Office of Internal Affairs Resident Agent in Charge, Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Special Agent, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant, Deputy, Narcotics Task Force Officer. Joined Yuma County Public Defender’s Office as Investigator 2013. Responsibilities include follow-up investigations on felony cases, witness interviews, review reports of investigations and evidence, and assist defense attorney. Assist with physical Court Security. Arizona POST. Other Languages: Spanish.