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CALDWELL -- Canyon County has hired its first chief public defender.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Tera A. Harden has been named to the post.

She starts in July at a salary of $97,360.

The county has relied on a local private law firm to defend people who can't afford an attorney.

But the county the last several years has been moving to an in-house model where the county employees defense attorneys.

Harden was born in Idaho and earned her law degree at the University of Idaho.

The last 11 years she's been a criminal defense attorney in California, and before that was a deputy prosecuting attorney for two years.

Harden says she's excited to move back to Idaho.

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