Rhea Giannotti, the former Lassen County Public Defender, is recognized during the Tuesday, Aug. 27 supervisors meeting on her retirement. County counsel Bob Burns presents her with the unanimously approved proclamation. Photo by Makenzie Davis

Giannotti recognized on retirement as public defender

After 17 years working as a lawyer for Lassen County, Public Defender Rhea Giannotti retired from her role.

“It was a great job and it was tough,” Giannotti said. “It was wonderful and I’ll miss it.”

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution congratulating Giannotti on her retirement. County counsel Bob Burns read the proclamation aloud during the Tuesday, Aug. 27 board meeting.

“(Giannotti’s) choice of career was to represent people who had been charged with crimes, some very serious, who could not afford to hire a lawyer for themselves. Many of her clients were a challenge in every way imaginable, to even the most skilled advocate,” the proclamation read. “As a natural extension of serving as the Lassen County Public Defender, (she) has been exposed to sick persons, physical or otherwise, threats of physical harm and likely countless invitation to act unethically … despite these challenges and many more, (Giannotti) fought every day to make sure that a system that was so heavily resources in favor of the government did not forget that individual people, no matter who they were, where they came from, how reprehensibly was the behavior they engaged in, were entitled to an advocate and to be fairly judged.”

Giannotti began her practice of law in Lassen County in May 1993 working on family law and criminal defense matters as an associate in David Edlow’s law office. She soon continued her work in the law office of Frank Cady.

Then, in June 2002, she was hired as a senior deputy public defender. Her dedicated and hard work was quickly recognized, according to the proclamation, and she was promoted to assistant public defender in October 2002.

She was appointed to Lassen County Public Defender in October 2011, a position she held until retirement Aug. 9.

“Giannotti, despite these challenges faced by this choice of career, and public service generally, always maintained her pleasant disposition, her unwavering adherence to the code of ethics, and lastly, but most importantly, her diverse and fun collection of socks,” continued the proclamation.

With the board of supervisor’s unanimous approval, the proclamation recognizing Giannotti on her retirement from Lassen County passed.

“I really appreciate the public defender,” noted supervisor Chris Gallagher. “You don’t always hear about the public defenders, and they’re doing things that are just as good to defend those people who need to be defended at times. I really appreciate the time you spent doing that.”