New Public Defender Appointed for Ottawa County


Nichole Jongsma Derks is the newest Public Defender for Ottawa County. The Public Defender post was vacated earlier this year upon the retirement of Robert Hamilton.

“I am humbled to serve as the Public Defender for Ottawa County and build on the firm foundation we established with our first Public Defender, Mr. Robert Hamilton,” said Derks upon her appointment. “The outcome a person receives in the criminal justice system should not depend on their ability to pay their defense attorney. I am proud to lead an elite and diverse team of litigators who believe in this mission as we represent our fellow citizens.”

Derks served as First Assistant Public Defender for Ottawa County since 2018. Prior to joining the County, she practiced criminal defense and litigation at Foster, Swift, Collins, and Smith PC. Derks attended The Ohio State University for her undergraduate studies and earned her juris doctorate at Michigan State University College of Law. Nichole Jongsma Derks is an Ottawa County native who was born in Zeeland and raised in Jenison.