I would like to begin this “About Me” section with some resounding story about how I always knew I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, but that could not be further from the truth. I did know from an incredibly young age that I wanted to be a lawyer, although looking back I cannot exactly pinpoint why. Candidly, I am not sure that at age six or seven I even comprehended what a lawyer did. Growing up those closest to me would likely tell you that I have an innate ability to argue, that no matter the subject, I, without question, would begin arguing the opposing viewpoint regardless of my actual opinion on the matter. Frankly, it is a trait I still possess. While not truly understanding my own internal certainty, something within me knew I was going to be a lawyer and as I matured, I never contemplated another path or a different career. I never questioned my career choice. I was determined to fulfill my goal knowing that being a lawyer was my purpose even while not entirely understanding why it was my purpose. I would not find the answer to that question until I was already in law school.
I grew up in the small town of Lyons, Georgia. A ridiculously small town. I, like many, grew up watching Law & Order, Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, and pretty much any law enforcement show that would run on cable television. As the years passed, those shows have remained the same: “good vs. bad”, “suspect vs society”, “bad guys vs good guys”. Now, I need you to keep reading after this next part because remember the story does not end after this next sentence but. . . I thought I was going to be a prosecutor. I grew up in a community where criminal allegations were against “those people”, there was no attempt at understanding the person or someone’s situation. I remember very vividly being an intern in college at the Sumter County District Attorney’s Office and watching my first real criminal trial. I cried. That internship gave me a direction within my goal to be lawyer. I thought that was my purpose: put the “bad” guys away. Simply, I was wrong.
At Mercer Law School, I decided to be a good prosecutor I “needed to see how the other side thinks”. I specifically remember telling exact line of reasoning to an advisor at the law school when looking at internship opportunities. I was blessed with an internship at the Houston County Public Defender’s Office. My whole world changed. I changed. My entire viewpoint on life, my purpose, the legal system was fundamentally altered. For the better. I realized that there is no “good vs. bad”, there are no “suspects vs. society”, there is no clear line of battle. There is simply the law and there are humans. What I discovered is that behind the title of “Defendant” is a person and what I realized is that while I knew of many Defendants in my life, I had never heard their voice, their story, their anything, sometimes not even their name. I remember feeling very ashamed that I never took the time to look beyond a label. I could not comprehend how someone, an entire society, could look at another human being and judge them based on one, or even many, allegations. For me, that judgement, that lack of empathy, that lack of mercy is the bad, and it is what gives me my purpose.
During that internship, I had many firsts: my first jail visit, my first bond hearing, my first preliminary hearing, my first trial, my first motion hearing. But my biggest first was to be the voice of another person- the first to care for him/her as a person, the first to listen to not just their side of the story, but to who they and what they want out of life. The first to let them know that someone is going to fight for them, no matter the cost, no matter the case, no matter their culpability or lack thereof. That honor is why I do this.
I am proud to be a criminal defense attorney. Being a voice for those who society deems unworthy is one of my biggest accomplishments in life and one of the things I am most proud of. I am honored to work alongside Angie Coggins, who is a fantastic and phenomenal lawyer, investigator, mentor, teacher, and simply the most caring human being alive. I am privileged to offer our services, expertise, and our hearts to our clients. We unapologetically, fiercely, and forever Stand in the Gap for every client.
Proud Member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Indigent Defense Committee Member, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Cum Laude Graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University, Bachelor of Science in both Political Science and Psychology
Graduate of Walter F. Georgia School of Law at Mercer University
Recipient of Certificate of Advanced Legal Writing, Research and Drafting- Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University
Member of the Georgia Bar Association
Member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Georgia Bar Association
Member of the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals
Graduate of the William “Bill” Daniel Trial Advocacy Program
Prior Treatment Team Member of the Day Reporting Center-DRC Lite Program in Houston County Superior Court
Prior Treatment Team Member for the Houston County Superior Court Accountability Court