Poston appointed to panel

From left: Chief Circuit Public Defender David Dunn, McCracken Poston (newly appointed member, LMJC Public Defender Supervisory Panel), and Judge Kristina Cook Graham, chief judge of the Superior Court, Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. (Photo/Cindy Combs)

Chief Judge Kristina Cook Graham has appointed Attorney McCracken Poston of Ringgold to serve as a member of the Public Defender Supervisory Panel of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit.

The panel is comprised of three members, one appointed by the governor, one by the chief judge of the circuit, and one by collective commissioners or chairperson of each county in the judicial circuit. The position Poston is appointed to is created by the resignation of Attorney Chris Townley due to his appointment as Walker County State Court assistant solicitor. Each member serves a five-year term.

The panel is responsible for reviewing the job performance of the circuit-wide public defender and that of his entire office. Each year the panel files a report of its findings in regard to the quality of that office. David Dunn is the current chief public defender of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, serving since the inception of the office here.

If the office of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit public defender becomes vacant, it is the responsibility of this three-person panel to nominate up to five individuals for that office.

The statewide director of the public defender must then select the new chief public defender from that list of nominees submitted by the local panel.

Judge Graham said, "The responsibilities of a panel member are very significant to the successful functioning of our criminal justice system. Mr. Poston brings a wealth of legal experience and sound judgment to our panel. I am delighted he has accepted this appointment."

Poston said, "The creation of the statewide public defender system in Georgia is the most significant improvement for justice in the history of our state."

Poston remembered the days when young attorneys would be appointed, sometimes against their will, and a flat rate was paid to them to represent indigent defendants.

"Two-hundred-fifty dollars for a plea, no matter how long you worked on it, and seven-hundred-fifty dollars for a trial, no matter how long it took," Poston said.

He added that the current staff of lawyers in the Lookout Mountain Circuit's Public Defender's Office are "capable and able professionals who are doing a great service to justice in our communities."