GPDC News, Weblog & Social Media


A Brief Introduction to GPDC

Join Executive Director Alli and Chief Legal Officer Natalie Glaser for a comprehensive overview of the GPDC in the debut episode of “In The Trenches.”

Learn about the history, the structure, and the profound mission that drives hundreds of professionals to represent and defend Georgia’s citizens.

Follow GPDC on social media for new installments and the latest updates.

Achievements & Growth: 2020 Forward

Since 2020, the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC) has made tremendous strides in serving clients and keeping pace with the needs of attorneys, courts, and communities. Executive Director Omotayo Alli was appointed to lead the agency beginning on March 2, 2020. Immediately confronted with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic and court shutdowns, she was adamant that GPDC would emerge stronger and better aligned with the needs of our clients and agency staff.

Prior to 2020, GPDC routinely furloughed attorneys and support staff to stay within its budget— causing delays, turnover, and disruptions in client services.

Under Director Alli’s leadership, there have been zero furloughs and hiring freezes. State attorney starting compensation has increased year-to-year to a new high, exceeding the national average ($72k at GPDC vs. $59k national). The agency opened over a dozen regional offices to serve clients in multi-defendant cases and created an innovative Gang/RICO unit led by the state’s premier RICO defense expert. A dedicated team of social workers connects clients with pro-social services throughout the state. GPDC launched Ladders, a state-of-the-art reentry program with a 90 percent graduation rate.

Today, there are more public defenders in more offices, serving more clients than ever before. Those defenders are higher paid, have more resources, and more training to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of the adults and children in our care.

  • Annual Budgets & Compensation

    • GPDC’s post-pandemic budgets have been increased each year.

    • FY24 is the largest budget in GPDC’s history, up from $106,552,462 in FY23 to $108,304,857.

    • All state assistant public defenders received a permanent three percent salary increase in 2021 and a six percent increase on July 1, 2022. Alli advocated for and received these funds in its FY23 budget; The average salary for state-paid full-time attorneys is the highest in agency history.

    • All state GPDC employees received a $5,000 cost of living adjustment (COLA) in April 2022 and another $2,000 COLA in July 2023.

    • Maurice Kenner, Fulton County Circuit Public Defender, authorized a significant salary increase for assistant public defenders in Fulton County with the average increase ranging from $43,000 – $53,000. This decision was based on a comprehensive compensation study initiated in March 2022 by Director Alli.
  • Community Engagement

    • Alli created the Georgia Public Defense Foundation (GPDF), the non-profit arm of GPDC. GPDF is specifically dedicated to addressing two critical areas:
      • Socially Responsive Resources for Clients: GPDF is committed to ensuring that clients, often from marginalized or underrepresented communities, have access to resources that are socially responsive. This means that the foundation focuses on providing support that takes into account the broader social, economic, and personal circumstances of the clients. Such resources include the Ladders Program and other forms of support that extend beyond traditional legal defense.
      • Professional Growth of Public Defenders: GPDF places a strong emphasis on the professional development of public defenders across the state of Georgia. This involves offering training programs, workshops, seminars, and other educational resources that are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of public defenders.
    • Alli initiated the Ladders Program in 2022. Ladders is a 12-month leadership initiative of transformational education and resources for individuals with prior justice system involvement, to bring about an increase in reconnected families and a reduction in recidivism throughout the state of Georgia. Ladders participants have a 90 percent graduation rate.
    • Alli launched In The Trenches video series in July 2023. Videos in the series demonstrate GPDC’s unwavering dedication to our clients, explain our organizational framework and composition, showcase notable accomplishments, and describe the challenges we encounter and our strategies for overcoming them.
    • A social media campaign launched on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and Twitter in 2023 tells the stories of GPDC attorneys and provides information of importance to our clients.
  • Independent Contractor Attorneys

    • GPDC implemented standardized contracts that clearly state responsibilities, duties, and expectations for client representation.

    • Year-to-year increases in payments for per-case attorneys who contract with GPDC to represent a single client since 2020; GPDC’s contractor rates have increased 60 percent over previous years.
      • In 2021, payments increased an avg. of 35 percent over 2020, with juvenile case payments doubled. Other case payments substantially increased, and some were doubled, in 2022.

    • Per-case counsel now receives their full payment upon filing an entry of appearance; this is more convenient, manageable, and preferred by attorneys over the old system of partial payments for reaching case milestones.

    • Payments to monthly contract attorneys who represent a set number of GPDC clients for a flat monthly fee increased more than 150 percent, in 2022.

    • Renewed engagement with private attorneys to staff multi-defendant cases: ex. Richmond County Ghostface Gang Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) case.
  • Legislation

    • HB 1391, supported by the Office of the Governor and General Assembly, was passed without opposition in 2022.

    • 1391 establishes funding equity between Circuit Public Defenders and District Attorneys for the first time in Georgia.
  • Office Relocation & Growth

    • Completed Central Office relocation to GBA-owned Trinity-Washington Building; generating ongoing savings to be reinvested in staff and services.

    • Opened a new Public Defender Office in the new Columbia Judicial Circuit in partnership in cooperation with the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.

    • Opened 14 regional offices staffed by state-paid full-time attorneys and staff. GPDC now has the most local and regional offices directly serving clients in its history.
  • Operational Expansion

    • GPDC created new units including the Client Support Services Unit (CSSU) that provides social services to clients as well as a specialized unit of subject-matter-expert attorneys to manage complex cases statewide, including Gang/RICO cases.
    • Launched the Cross-Circuit Representation Program, an opportunity for GPDC attorneys to gain experience serving clients in new jurisdictions and cases while also earning additional compensation.
  • Professional Development

    • Established GPDC University, an online training and onboarding platform for new and current GPDC employees.
    • Revamped in-house training for attorneys and staff. Training has included a Gang/RICO Defense Conference, Youth Defense Conference, TILPP Conference (for first year attorneys) and more.
    • GPDC allocates funds to pay for attorney CLEs (up to 12 hours).
    • GPDC hosted the 2023 Summer Public Defender Conference at the University of Georgia Law School, which was the largest agency conference since the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • GPDC commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright with a conference on a defendant’s right to an attorney when charged with a crime.
    • Created the GPDC Leadership Academy, a new professional development opportunity that offers robust comprehensive training for public defenders aspiring to develop and enhance their leadership skills.
  • Staffing

    • In 2023 GPDC has more attorneys on staff than any previous year and we are still growing and aggressively hiring.
    • Since 2020 no employees have been furloughed.

Latest News & Updates

NOVEMBER 2023

GPDC Offices Closed Friday, November 10 for Veterans Day

This is a friendly reminder that state offices, including GPDC, will be closed on Friday, November 10, in observance of Veterans Day.
The Benefits of Being a State Employee
November 9, 2023

Are you passionate about upholding justice and making a difference in your community? GPDC is looking for individuals like you to join our team of dedicated professionals!

As a valued member of the GPDC, you won’t just enjoy a fulfilling career, but you’ll also gain access to a comprehensive health insurance package that puts your well-being first. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Extensive Health Coverage: Choose from a variety of plans that best suit your lifestyle and needs, ensuring you and your family stay healthy and secure.
  • Wellness Resources: Take advantage of programs designed to support your overall wellness, including mental health services, stress management programs, and fitness incentives.
  • And much more!

Ready to take the next step in your career? Visit https://buff.ly/3AfpYHl to become a part of our team and start enjoying the benefits that come with being a state employee.

#GPDC #GeorgiaJobs #StateEmployeePerks

Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
November 9, 2023

From barriers to breakthroughs—our latest Soft Skills Workshop championed the advantages of having a #GrowthMindset. Participants departed ready to turn challenges into triumphs. Embark with us on a path to empowerment and personal evolution. 

Read more on the Georgia Public Defender Foundation Site: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities with a Growth Mindset

[GPDF]

New ‘In the Trenches’ Coming Soon
November 9, 2023

Our next episode of ‘In The Trenches’ is coming soon! Episode 2, ‘Our Call of Duty,’ brings our diligent staff and attorneys to the forefront, showcasing the important work we’re committed to and the reasons driving us forward. Don’t miss out – Subscribe now to stay up-to-date with everything GPDC. Click here.

[GPDC Twitter]

Pursue Your Dream Career Through LADDERS
November 8, 2023

Electrify your career path with potential earnings of $60,240 or more, as an Electrical Lineman Technology! As a part of the curriculum, Ladders Program participants enroll into a technical college vocational program where they can obtain a rewarding certification in less than a year! Additionally, we provide participants with essential soft skills and unwavering support to help them navigate and achieve their career goals. Illuminate your career and visit https://buff.ly/3stKuDH to learn more. #ElectricianCareers #LaddersProgram #Jobs

LSAT Testing Starts Today
November 8, 2023

#LSAT Testing Starts Today!To all our aspiring law professionals, today’s the day to showcase your legal aptitude. Remember, this is just one step on your journey to making a difference in the legal world. We at the Georgia Public Defender Council believe in you and wish you all the best. Stay focused and give it your all! Thinking about what comes next? Check out our available internships: https://buff.ly/475rP0m #FutureLawyers

[GPDC Facebook]

GPDC Upgrades to Westlaw Precision
November 6, 2023

The GPDC Central Office is pleased to announce that GPDC has upgraded to a new Westlaw platform called “Precision.” Precision is more advanced and user-friendly than past offerings.

GPDC Holds Leadership Academy Session in Columbus

November 3, 2023

Today concludes the third session of the GPDC Leadership Academy with this session taking place in Columbus, GA! The next session will take place in Savannah, GA.

During this session, GPDC staff engaged in an activity in which they had to utilize teamwork to solve a puzzle. In addition, they excelled as they presented 5-minute speeches on topics they’re passionate about, fine-tuning their public speaking skills.

The GPDC Leadership Academy, facilitated by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government, is a new professional development opportunity that offers robust comprehensive training for public defenders aspiring to develop and enhance their leadership skills. It is designed to cultivate and nurture the qualities necessary for effective leadership in Public Defenders’ professional and personal settings.

#Columbus #Leadership #PublicDefender

[GPDC Facebook]


GPDC’s Case Specialists Available to Serve Clients

November 3, 2023

CSSU’s case specialists are passionate about results. We closely monitor client progress, producing reports that illuminate positive changes and outcomes. Our goal is to create a brighter future for individuals and communities. Click here to learn more

 #ClientCare #CommunityResources


GPDC’s Mission

November 2, 2023

GPDC is committed to providing effective indigent defense to low-income Georgians accused of crimes. We operate without constraints or pressures from external parties, focusing solely on our clients and their constitutional rights.

In 1963, the US Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that individuals charged with crimes have a constitutional right to legal counsel in federal and state courts.

This means that no matter the crime you’re accused of, you have access to an attorney who will defend you. You never have to face the system alone.

The Georgia Public Defender Council is an independent agency within the State of Georgia’s executive branch. We provide zealous, effective, and ethical legal representation to qualifying low-income residents who have been accused of a crime.

As an organization, we strive every day to fulfill the US Constitution’s obligation to defend you against any and all criminal charges brought by the state

#LegalDefense #ConstitutionalRights


Ladders Achieves 90% Graduation Rate

November 1, 2023

The Ladders Program achieves an impressive 90% graduation rate. We provide a GED track, vocational training, career readiness, and valuable soft skill workshops, all at no cost to facilitate a seamless return to the workforce.

The Ladders Program is a 12-month, leadership initiative aiming to be the foremost provider of transformational education and resources for individuals with prior justice system involvement, bringing about an increase in reconnected family units and a reduction in recidivism throughout the state of Georgia.


Discover the Ladders Program’s transformative offerings by visiting our website here: https://buff.ly/3YPrlIc

#Leadership #SuccessStory #WorkforceDevlopment

OCTOBER 2023

Ladders Attends Health & Wellness Resource Day

October 31, 2023

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with local organizations and the DeKalb County community at-large, for Health & Wellness Resource Day, where we shared information about our Ladders Program and our approach to holistic defense.

We’re deeply appreciative of being part of this event and are eager to share knowledge and tools with our clients and community. A special thank you to South Candler Neighborhood Advocates, Seed Life Foundation and Hardy & Graham Associates for organizing this impactful community event! #CommunityInvolvement #MentalHealthMatters #Advocate


GPDC’s Youth Advocacy Division Holds Autumn Training

October 24, 2023

GPDC’s Youth Advocacy Division (YAD) program training kicked off today at the Atlanta Evergreen Lakeside Resort. Public Defenders from all over Georgia are learning about youth law from experts in the field.

Our 2-day training covers a variety of topics including GA- specific youth law, adolescent development, and case strategy. We’re proud of our 11 GPDC staff members who recently graduated from the YAD Certificate Program. Thank you for your dedication to youth in Georgia!

Thanks to all staff, attendees, and speakers for making this training a success. A special thank you to

The Gault Center for providing educational services to our attorneys.

#YouthDefense #Training #Advocacy


Meet Rick Waller: Macon Judicial Circuit Public Defender

October 20, 2023

Meet Rick Waller, our dedicated Circuit Public Defender championing justice in the Macon Circuit. Discover more about his unwavering commitment and the impactful work he does every day.

For more information about the Macon Circuit, click here.


Macon’s WMAZ features GPDC Leadership Academy

October 10, 2023

Macon’s WMAZ news featured highlights from the 2nd Session of GPDC’s Leadership Academy in collaboration with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

The GPDC Leadership Academy is a new professional development opportunity that offers robust comprehensive training for public defenders aspiring to develop and enhance their leadership skills. It is designed to cultivate and nurture the qualities necessary for effective leadership in Public Defenders’ professional and personal settings.

Dive deeper into this story at: https://tinyurl.com/MaconNews #Macon #WMAZ #NewsCoverage


Meet Rashawn Clark: Managing Attorney for North Central Georgia

October 10, 2023

Meet Rashawn Clark, our dedicated Managing Attorney championing justice in the North Central Georgia Regional. Discover more about her unwavering commitment and the impactful work she does every day. #PublicDefender


GPDC Central Offices Welcomes Alfonso Kraft

October 10, 2023

Introducing Alfonso Kraft, formerly the Circuit Public Defender for the Clayton Circuit, steps into his new role as the Managing Attorney for our new Youth Advocacy Division (YAD).

Bringing with him stellar work, dedication and expertise, Alfonso will lead our division’s passionate mission to uplift the rights and voices of Georgia’s youth. Join us in celebrating this new chapter! #EmployeeSpotlight #Youth #Welcome


GPDC’s Leadership Academy Holds Session in Macon

October 5, 2023

Today, the 2nd session of GPDC’s Leadership Academy hosted by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government began in Macon, Georgia. Today’s program focused on professionalism and critical thinking.

Participants engaged in group activities, fostering shared learning experiences and insights, thereby strengthening their leadership skills and commitment to client care. The GPDC Leadership Academy is a new professional development opportunity that offers robust comprehensive training for public defenders aspiring to develop and enhance their leadership skills. It is designed to cultivate and nurture the qualities necessary for effective leadership in Public Defenders’ professional and personal settings.

Update – October 6:

Day 2 of GPDC’s Leadership Academy in Macon, Georgia was a success! Facilitated by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government, instructor Michael Hourihan delved deep into the art of Public Speaking with engaging practice activities and exercises for our dedicated public defenders.


Meet Todd Martin: Eastern Judicial Circuit Public Defender

October 4, 2023

Meet Todd Martin, our dedicated Circuit Public Defender championing justice in the Eastern Circuit. Discover more about his unwavering commitment and the impactful work he does every day.

#PublicDefender #Chatham #Spotlight


Ladders Workshop Highlights: The Art of Time Management

October 3, 2023

Ladders Workshop Highlights: Exploring the art of time management. Our Executive Director, Omotayo Alli, offered words of encouragement, while James White, Assistant Solicitor General, and Samuel Sawyer shared their personal stories and lessons. Unlock efficiency and productivity in both personal and professional realms. For more on the Ladders Program, click here.

#GED #Success #Leadership


The Impact of Mental Health on Criminal Justice

October 2, 2023

GPDC was privileged to participate in a transformative conversation on “The Impact of Mental Health on Criminal Justice” alongside incredible leaders like District Attorney @Sherry Boston DeKalb County District Attorney , Executive Director Kim Jones from @NAMI Georgia , Fabio van der Merwe of @DeKalb Community Service Board , and @Mary Margaret Oliver .

Together, we’re breaking down barriers, taking steps, and making decisions to uplift the lives affected by mental health. A heartfelt thank you to @darshunkendrick for orchestrating this remarkable event! Let’s erase the stigma and create change in our communities. #MentalHealthMatters #CommunityImpact #BreakTheStigma

SEPTEMBER 2023

  • Join Us on Social Media

    September 29, 2023

    Stay informed with the Georgia Public Defender Council. For comprehensive updates and official announcements, we invite you to follow our social media platforms.

    Access them here: linktr.ee/gapubdef #FollowUs #PublicDefender #StayInformed

  • The 6th Amendment

    September 26, 2023

    Did you know? The #6thAmendment gives you the right to a lawyer if you are arrested for a crime. It’s crucial to understand and assert this right. Dive into our #KnowYourRights campaign to get informed. Be empowered, be protected! #Share to spread the word! #PublicDefender

  • GPDC Selects Valdosta for First Leadership Academy Session

    September 25, 2023

    GPDC selects #Valdosta as the first location to host the GPDC Leadership Academy! A landmark moment for Georgia’s commitment to fostering leadership in #publicdefense.

    Discover what this means for our state and its defenders here: https://tinyurl.com/3fn4yynt #Leadership


    Meet Kelly Sullivan: Managing Attorney for North Central Georgia

    September 29, 2023

    Meet Kelly Sullivan, our dedicated Managing Attorney championing justice in the North Central Georgia Regional.

    Discover more about her unwavering commitment and the impactful work she does every day. #PublicDefender #Appalachian #Mountain


    GPDC’s 2022 Gang-RICO Conference

    September 21, 2023

    #ThrowbackThursday: Reflecting on our impactful Gang-RICO #Conference. Grateful for the insights shared and the collaborative spirit. Knowledge is power; together, we’re better equipped to defend justice. #GAPublicDefender


    Social Service Specialists Attend DBHDD Conference

    September 18, 2023

    A snapshot from the inaugural Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and The Law Conference of 2023! Our Social Service Specialists dove deep into meaningful discussions around #BehavioralHealth, law enforcement, and the incredible service and passion of #SocialWorkers. Grateful for the rich collaboration and the chance to champion wellness for the communities we serve. #Conference


    Subscribe to THE RECRUITER

    September 15, 2023

    We’ve been at it again, and the September 2023 edition of THE RECRUITER has made its way to this post. The goal of each edition is to share with public defense-motivated law students and undergrads the latest Georgia Public Defender Council recruitment highlights, job openings, intern and extern opportunities, and more.

    Be sure to check out the breaking news about the availability of HOUSING STIPENDS for Summer 2024 Interns!! Also included is the feature article highlighting the Griffin Circuit Public Defender Office, located within driving distance from Atlanta. Please SUBSCRIBE to receive THE RECRUITER every month.

    Please SHARE with your network of law students and undergrads. #publicdefender #publicdefense #lawschool #interns #jobs #students linktr.ee/gapubdef


    First GPDC Leadership Academy

    September 14, 2023

    Today marks the commencement of GPDC’s Leadership Academy hosted by the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Valdosta, Georgia. We’re thrilled to have Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Voyles from the Southern Judicial Circuit and Piedmont Circuit Public Defender Donna Seagraves with us today, sharing invaluable insights with our participants on enhancing their leadership capabilities.


    The GPDC Leadership Academy is a new professional development opportunity that offers robust comprehensive training for public defenders aspiring to develop and enhance their leadership skills. It is designed to cultivate and nurture the qualities necessary for effective leadership in Public Defenders’ professional and personal settings. #Valdosta #Leadership #PublicDefender


    GPDC’s Onward Conference

    September 14, 2023

    #ThrowbackThursday to our Gideon Conference titled “ONWARD!” commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright! A highlight was Stone Mountain Mayor Dr. Beverly Jones’s warm video welcome to the Atlanta Evergreen Resort in Stone Mountain Park.

    Over these enriching days, we had Justice Verda M. Colvin of the Georgia Supreme Court, an illuminating keynote by James King, and a heart-moving closing from Arnold Ragas. Proud to look back on these moments that underlined our #Commitment to #PublicDefense.


    Meet Gina Bernard: Managing Attorney for the East Metro Region

    September 13, 2023

    Meet Gina Bernard, our dedicated Managing Attorney championing justice in the East Metro Regional.

    Discover more about her unwavering commitment and the impactful work she does every day. #PublicDefender #Spotlight #GAAttorney


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