James J. Abbs

Chief Public Defender, Mr. Abbs grew up in Noble County and attended the University of Wisconsin River Falls and the Washburn School of Law in Kansas. Upon his graduation from law school, he practiced law in Minneapolis/St. Paul with one of the best known defense attorneys in Minnesota. During that period of time he tried major felony cases, including murder, throughout the state of Minnesota. In 1992 Mr. Abbs returned to Indiana and began private practice in Noble County and also served as a panel attorney for Federal Public Defender cases. He has tried over 40 major felony cases in 3 states and in the Federal Courts. He has successfully argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court and before the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He has over 30 years of criminal defense experience. In 1994 Mr. Abbs became a part-time Public Defender in Noble County and in the year 2002 became the Chief Public Defender. He now handles murder and A through C Felonies along with juvenile cases besides his administrative duties. He has also served as President of the Indiana Chief Public Defenders' Association and as a board member of the Indiana Public Defender Counsel. In 2009, he received the Gideon Award from the Indiana Public Defender Council which is the highest award a public defender can receive in Indiana.

Howard F. Hanson

Deputy Public Defender, Mr. Hanson grew up in Northwest Indiana and is a graduate of Grace College and Ohio Northern University School of Law. Mr. Hanson began his practice of law in Allen County and eventually moved into Noble County. He has been practicing for over 30 years and has Felony trial experience. Mr. Hanson presently handles all D Felony cases filed in Noble County.

Jon Owen

Deputy Public Defender, Mr. Owen is a lifelong resident of Noble County. He is a graduate from Indiana University in Bloomington and from the Indiana University Law School in Indianapolis. Mr. Owen has been practicing law for over 35 years. He has an extensive criminal practice along with experiences of being a city attorney and handling other civil matters. Mr. Owen is an experienced litigator and presently handles Misdemeanor cases filed in Noble County.

Kathryn Byrom

Deputy Public Defender, Ms. Byrom grew up in Noble County. She graduated from Indiana University magna cum laude in 2001 and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In, 2005, she graduated from Valparaiso University with a juris doctorate degree and a masters in psychology. She began in a private practice and then served two years as an attorney for the Department of Family and Children Services. She now handles mainly CHINS cases for the Agency and also does misdemeanor cases.

Christopher Jansen

Deputy Public Defender, Mr. Jansen grew up in Noble County and is a graduate of East Noble High School. He graduated from IUPUI in 1999 and served as a Probation Officer for the Noble County Probation Department. In May, 2013, he graduated from the Thomas F. Cooley, School of Law, cum laude. Mr. Jansen is presently assigned to handle Misdemeanor and CHINS cases. He also has a solo law practice Located in Kendallville, Indiana.

Patrick Jessup

Patrick L. Jessup was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and spent the majority of his formative years in Waterloo, Indiana, where his family still resides. Before starting his legal career, Patrick worked for local Northeastern Indiana businesses in the construction and mechanical trades. Patrick thus understands well the challenges faced by residents and business-owners in Northeast Indiana.

Before joining Yoder & Kraus, PC, Patrick served as law clerk with the Indiana Supreme Court and worked with a firm in the Indianapolis area. He received his law degree from Regent University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Taylor University.

Patrick also serves as a Judge Advocate in the Indiana Army National Guard, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Volunteer Lawyers Program, is a graduate of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy, and is a certified instructor for the DeKalb County 4-H Shooting Sports program.

Admitted to practice in the state courts of Indiana, and the Federal Courts of the United States District Courts of Northern and Southern Indiana. Member of the Indiana State Bar Association, DeKalb and Noble County Bar Associations, and the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. Patrick is a VA Accredited attorney.


J. Seth Tipton is a Northeast Indiana native and 1995 graduate of East Noble High school.  After graduating from Manchester College, he began a career in marketing and performed improvisation and stand-up comedy for 3 years in Chicago.  After returning to northeast Indiana in 2005, Tipton enrolled at Thomas Cooley Law School where he graduated with Distinction and a litigation concentration.  Practicing almost exclusively criminal defense, both private and appointed, for well over a decade, Tipton has dedicated his career to defending countless Hoosiers in cases ranging from drunk and disorderly charges to murder.  From constitutional violations to jury trials, Tipton has litigated criminal law issues throughout northeast Indiana.  His direct, upfront, and honest communication results in strong and trusted client attorney relationships as well as respect throughout the judiciary.  Tipton and his team are often tapped by the regional Courts to assist in representing folks who have a history of tumultuous attorney client relationships.  


Helen L. Newman was raised in DeKalb County, Indiana. Helen has an associate of science degree in paralegal studies from Ivy Tech, a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, a JD from Western Michigan University and a LLM in Homeland and National Security from Western Michigan University. Helen has been practicing criminal defense since 2014. 

Noble County Public Defender © 2015. All rights reserved.

Noble County Public Defender-110 East Jefferson Street Albion, IN 46701

Hours 8:00am - 4:00pm M-F

Contact The Public Defenders Office (260) 636-6688



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