Learn more about Kristin Rice from our one-on-one podcast interview with her.
Adams County’s Chief Public Defender, Kristin Rice, who retired on December 31, is the winner of Gettysburg Connection’s Outstanding Community Service Award.
Rice is honored for many years of service making a difference in the lives of people in the Adams County Criminal Justice system by representing the legal interests of those without the financial ability to hire private counsel when faced with criminal charges.
Rice worked at Adams County since 2003 and spent the last part of her career as chief defender.
She has also served as President of the Adams County Bar Association and as Adjunct Professor of Law at HACC, and has been on the Board of Directors of Adams County Children and Youth Services, The YWCA of Gettysburg and Adams County, and the Adams County Library System.
“Rice has the perfect temperament, passion and empathy to be an outstanding public defender,” said retired Adams County Judge John Kuhn. “Her dedication, legal scholarship and advocacy for her clients as well as the length of time she served in that office is unparalleled in the history of Adams County.”
She never shied away from representing those charged with the most serious of crimes nor did she ever shortchange clients accused of minor offenses. Kristin has set the standard by which all who follow her will be measured. Her retirement from the position of Chief Public Defender is well earned and deserved but will, by virtue of her experience and leadership, leave a void that will be difficult to fill.
“Kristin really is the prototype for being a great public defender,” said First Assistant Public Defender Jason Pudleiner. “She’s a combination of being both an excellent attorney and someone who truly cares. These aren’t defendants to her, but rather people who are at the lowest points in their lives—that are typically suffering from drug and alcohol and/or mental health issues. Her passion and dedication to being a public defender has impacted not only countless lives in the community, but also had ripple effects on the court system and the many attorneys and interns she has mentored. We are sad for her to leave, but she has left a mark on this office that will shape how it is run far into the future.”
“It is a privilege to talk about this wonderful woman,” said Adams County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christina M. Simpson. Simpson said she once worked across the aisle from Rice as the assistant district attorney and that they often argued against each other in court. “But it was always with grace, dignity, and mutual respect. The community owes her a debt of gratitude, not just for her role in the justice system but for the care in her heart for her clients—which is rare and admirable in her position,” she said.
“Rice has been an advocate, a contemporary, and always on the other side,” said District Attorney Brian Sinnett. “I have the greatest respect for you personally and professionally, especially with regard to how you always do what is best for your client. There is nobody like Kristin Rice when it comes to being a public defender.”