June 20, 2005

"I intend to defend the hell out of this man"

The quote is from Hinds County MS public defender Tom Fortner, who is leaving Mississippi in a better state than he found it:

Public defender Fortner leaving - Legal champion for area's indigent moving to Arizona with family

Fortner is praised in legal circles for ensuring poor defendants receive fair trials throughout his 25-year career... "He knows more about public defense in Mississippi than anyone," said Andre de Gruy, director of the state Office of Capital Defense and former assistant attorney in Fortner's office. "He's the person that we've all been following for so long." Fortner lasted in a legal specialty that sees high turnover. Public defenders usually face the public's ire for representing their clients, who often are sent to prison.

Always looking to the ones who last; maybe they could give CLE's on how they do it.