Tatem Installed as New Chief Public Defender for Jackson, Lamar, and Monroe Counties

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  • Tatem Installed as New Chief Public Defender for Jackson, Lamar, and Monroe Counties

Clay Tapley (Left) Circuit Chief Public Defender Administers the Oath of Office to Towaliga Circuit CPD David Tatem (Right)\

FORSYTH, GA – David Tatem was sworn in January 30 as Chief Public Defender (CPD) of the Towaliga Circuit Public Defender’s Office.

Tatem will lead a team of assistant public defenders, investigators and support professionals serving low income clients in Butts, Lamar, and Monroe counties in middle Georgia.

Georgia Public Defender Council Executive Director Omotayo Alli praised Tatem’s work record.

“Mr. Tatem has proven himself at every level of public defense,” Director Alli said when announcing Tatem’s appointment earlier this month. “It is always gratifying to promote from within the Council’s workforce, and in David’s case to recognize someone who has demonstrated sustained excellence.”

Tatum’s work at the GPDC began in the summer of 2014 while still a student at Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. As a Third Year Practice Act intern in the Dublin office.

He also worked as an assistant public defender at the Conasauga Circuit Public Defender’s Office in Dalton, GA.

In 2018, Tatem was promoted to lead counsel in then Conasauga Circuit Chief Judge William T. Boyett’s courtroom and served as lead attorney for all child victim and sex crimes for Murray County.

Tatem next served as an assistant public defender in the Towaliga Circuit, handling a large number of felony cases, including homicide, and tried many cases to a successful conclusion during his three years with the circuit prior to his appointment as interim chief public defender in November 2023.

In addition to his administrative and trial duties Tatem has since 2021 served as a faculty member of the Georgia Public Defender Council’s Transition Into Law Practice Program.

In 2023 Tatem was awarded the Dean Rutledge Award named for the dean of the University of Georgia School of Law. The award recognizes exemplary service to the Georgia Public Defender Council.

Tatem is featured in an episode of the GPDC’s In The Trenches – Our Call of Duty video series. In Tatem’s episode he discusses his favorite aspect of being a public defender, the most important reason for representing low income defendants and what he has learned as a public defender at the GPDC.

The Georgia Public Defender Council provides legal representation to 85 percent of persons charged with crimes by the state of Georgia. Its mission is to ensure, independent of political considerations or private interests, that each person whose cause has been entrusted to a circuit public defender receives zealous, adequate, effective, timely, and ethical legal representation, consistent with the guarantees of the Constitution of the State of Georgia, the Constitution of the United States, and the mandates of the Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003.

Learn more about the GPDC at www.gapubdef.org



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