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Public defender honors program returns to BPC
MOUNT VERNON—For the second year in a row, Brewton-Parker College will be the host site for the initial three-week training session of the inaugural Georgia Public Defender Standards Council Honors Program, which begins Sunday, August 20 and runs through Friday, Sept. 8 on the Mount Vernon campus.
“The decision of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to establish its honors training program at Brewton-Parker College is a tribute to the college, its faculty and our region,” said Dr. Sid Johnson, professor of political science and vice president emeritus, who has coordinated the event for Brewton-Parker.
“Toombs-Montgomery and their neighboring counties have a large stake in the criminal justice system that provides effective assistance of counsel to poor and indigent defendants. Well-tried criminal cases save tax dollars by cutting down on extended appeals and court congestion.”
The GPD Honors Program is a three-year program designed to train lawyers to be the best public defenders nationwide. All participants in the GPD Honors Program will have demonstrated a strong commitment to providing the best possible representation to indigent defendants throughout Georgia.
This program will feature intensive and on-going training by some of the best attorneys in Georgia and the country. At the end of this three-year program, participants will be top candidates for placement in any public defender office in Georgia, and will be highly qualified to work at any public defender office at the state or federal level nationwide.
Following the initial three weeks of intensive training at Brewton-Parker, class members will be placed in public defender offices throughout Georgia. Participants will continue to meet as a class at various locations statewide approximately four weekends a year for continued training.
In addition, all participants will receive additional training through their attendance at an annual public defender conference, an annual week-long trial workshop and semi-annual training seminars. Additional training programs will be offered as the need arises.
Supervision will be provided through one of 49 circuit defenders throughout the state or a supervising attorney in a local public defender office as well as by the council staff.
GPDSC is an independent agency within the judicial branch of state government created under the Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003. The statewide public defender system began operations Jan. 1, 2005.
The office is responsible for assuring that adequate and effective legal representation is provided to Georgia’s citizens, independent of political considerations or private interests. GPDSC sets professional standards and provides administrative support for the 49 defender circuit offices in Georgia.
“We are very excited about hosting this important event,” said Dr. Lee Cheek, chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at Brewton-Parker and a political scientist. “It complements our existing program in political science and our emerging criminal justice program on one hand, as well as affirming our commitment to social justice that is part of our overall educational and religious mission on the other.”