Public Defender to be honored by gamblers counseling group
EATONTOWN - New Jersey's Acting Public Defender Peter A. Garcia will be honored by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey on Friday, June 15, for his efforts in adapting the group's principles to the work of the Office of the Public Defender.
Garcia will receive the Trenton-based group's Government Award during ceremonies honoring people in government, media, treatment and volunteer categories for their outstanding efforts in the area of compulsive gambling awareness.
Among Garcia's contributions has been the move to include more OPD clients with compulsive gambling issues underlying their cases in the state's Intensive Supervision Program, which provides for closely supervised sentences served outside the traditional prison setting.
He also has worked with Fred Hogan - an OPD investigator, CCGNJ board member and former recipient of the same award - to provide a forum within the agency for the council's outreach. In addition, Garcia has helped intensify efforts to counsel members of the legal community facing compulsive gambling issues.
"I'm very happy to see Peter honored with the Government Award," Hogan said. "His leadership on this issue in the Public Defender's Office can make a big difference for both clients and staff whose lives have been impacted by compulsive gambling. Peter didn't have to do the things he did to link the council's ideals with our office. But he did it because he cares enough to take those extra steps."
Besides his current role as acting public defender, Garcia has been the agency's chief counsel and an assistant public defender. He also has served as an assistant counsel to the governor, a deputy attorney general in the Division of Gaming Enforcement and has practiced law in the private sector.
The CCGNJ awards will be bestowed during a luncheon on Friday, June 15, at the Sheraton-Eatontown Hotel and Conference Center. The event is co-sponsored by the CCGNJ and the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies and is part of a larger one-day training session on the subject..
For more information regarding the event, contact Jeff Beach, the OPD's public information officer, at (609) 777-1862, or Shirley Ray at the CCGNJ at (609) 599-3299.