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New chief public defenders named in Bedford, Chesapeake



The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission has named new chief public defenders in Bedford and Chesapeake.

Michael Lonchar, who had been Bedford’s deputy public defender, was named chief in August. He has been with the Bedford office since 2005.

In addition to his trial work, Lonchar serves as the appellate coordinator for the office.

A 1993 graduate of the University of Delaware, he earned his law degree in 1996 from the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law. He has served two terms as the president of the Bedford Bar Association, as well as being a member of the Standards of Practice Enforcement Panel for the commission.



“Mike Lonchar is a skilled, experienced attorney and a proven leader within the public defender system,” said David Johnson, executive director of the VIDC, in a release.

Lakishi Stevenson was named the new Chief Public Defender in Chesapeake last month. Prior to the promotion, she had been the deputy public defender in Portsmouth.

A native of Portsmouth, Stevenson was raised by her maternal grandparents. She was the first in her family to graduate from college when she received a degree from North Carolina Central University. She earned her law degree from the Regent University law school.

Johnson said Stevenson “is a passionate, relentless advocate for her clients and will be an inspirational leader of the Chesapeake Public Defender Office.”