A federal defense attorney who coordinated a national effort to dismantle a FBI-run child-pornography site whose operation was deemed “outrageous misconduct” has been named federal public defender in Western Washington by judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Colin Fieman, 57, replaces Mike Filipovic, who retired in February after a 31-year career as a federal defender in Washington, the past eight as the office’s appointed leader.

Fieman began his four-year term as head of the Federal Public Defender’s Office last week.

“Colin Fieman has more than 23 years of experience serving indigent defendants and has a stellar reputation within the legal community,” said Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, who chairs the San Francisco-based appeals court’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders. “We are confident he will continue the office’s tradition of zealous and compassionate advocacy established by his predecessors.”

Fieman, a New Yorker who graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Columbia Law School, began his legal career in 1990 as an assistant New York district attorney in Manhattan. He also worked on the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption, as a federal defender in the Federated States of Micronesia and as a staff attorney for the University of Georgia Law School’s Legal Aid Clinic.

Fieman joined the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Western Washington in 2002 and has represented clients charged with a range of federal felonies. In 2016, he caught a case involving a trio of clients who had been charged with possessing child pornography as part of an international FBI sting and computer hacking operation called “Operation Pacifier.”

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Fieman led a national group of federal defenders and others who challenged accusations against more than 200 people facing charges as part of “Operation Pacifier,” accusing the FBI of seizing and then operating a dark-web child pornography site that was used to hack into the computers of suspected porn users. The cases raised significant questions about internet privacy and entrapment, and U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan concluded the FBI’s actions constituted “outrageous misconduct.”

Fieman was named the office’s senior litigator in 2017, and he’s a faculty member of the National Criminal Defense College.

“I am honored by this appointment and thoroughly committed to improving the lives of our clients,” Fieman said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other stakeholders to advance our criminal justice system and enhance community safety through alternatives to incarceration.”

The Federal Public Defender’s Office in Western Washington has 55 employees, including attorneys, paralegals, investigators and administrators. It handled more than 1,100 cases last year.