NEW PUBLIC DEFENDER FOR 15TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
The Fifteenth Judicial District, which includes Smith County, has a new public defender. Public Defender Comer Donnell, who held the position, retired effective November 1.
On Tuesday of last week, Governor Bill Haslam announced the appointment of Assistant Public Defender Shelley Thompson Gardner, a Lebanon resident, as his replacement.
In addition to Smith, the Fifteenth Judicial District, includes Jackson, Macon, Trousdale and Wilson counties. The position is elected every eight years.
Donnell has been the only person to hold the public defender’s office in the Fifteenth Judicial District since the office was created in 1989. Former Governor Ned McWherter appointed Donnell to the newly formed office in September of 1989. Donnell ran unopposed for the office in 1990, 1998, 2006 and 2014.
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