La Paz County has announced the death of Public Defender Arthur Higgs over the weekend of July 27-28. He was 53 years old.
Parker Police Lt. Mike Bailey said Higgs was found deceased in his home the morning of Monday, July 29. He said officers were dispatched to do a welfare check as Higgs had not gone to his office that morning. Bailey said the last time Higgs was seen at work was on Friday, July 26.
Bailey said the cause of death is under investigation.
Higgs was originally hired as a Deputy Public Defender in February 2016. The County Board of Supervisors named Interim Public Defender May 1, 2017 when then-Public Defender Kathy Field was dismissed. Higgs was appointed Public Defender in January 2019.
“Art was a tremendous asset to La Paz County,” La Paz County District 2 Supervisor and Board Chairman Duce Minor said in a press release. “He had a genuine passion for his work, and he was always willing to go the extra mile to help the County. His work and dedication have been appreciated and will be missed greatly.”
La Paz County Attorney Tony Rogers said he and his staff were saddened to hear of Higgs’ death.
“Art was a smart lawyer who fought hard for his clients,” Rogers said in an e-mail to the Pioneer. “He was also honest and fair. Art was the kind of lawyer you could do handshake deals with without regret, which makes the job a lot easier.”
“Recently Art and I collaborated to implement a new case management system which will make both our offices more efficient,” Roger continued. “Art knew how to be a team player when appropriate and an adversary when necessary. Which is the hallmark of a true professional.”
A press release from the county stated that, in his time with La Paz County, Higgs was loved by many and was a huge part of the community. His colleagues in the Public Defender’s Office had this to say about him:
“Arthur Higgs was a brilliant legal mind that dedicated his life to indigent defense and public service. He was a mentor to many and took great pride in building the La Paz County Public Defender’s Office, while sharing his knowledge and legal expertise with the entire community. He enjoyed telling war stories from his career and loved sharing stories about his wife Jessica, daughter Shay and granddaughter. Both in court and out of court, he was a compassionate and caring person that always tried to find a reason to smile and make others laugh. Most importantly, he always had an open door. He will be deeply missed.”