State board to pay $300,000 to Hennepin public defender

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Board of Public Defense on Tuesday agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement to former Chief Hennepin County Defender Mary Moriarty, less than a year after the board voted against renewing her contract after she clashed with the state’s top public defender.

The state board did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed to resolve all disputes between state leadership and Moriarty. In return, Moriarty will retire from the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office and agree not to seek future work for any of the state’s offices.

Moriarty tells the Star Tribune the dollar amount of the settlement “speaks for itself” but she worries whether Minnesota public defenders can speak candidly about the practices of prosecutors and justices after what happened to her.