About Us  

The Office of the Circuit Public Defender for the Eastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia handles the appointment of counsel for all indigent citizens accused of crimes in Chatham County. Panel attorneys (attorneys in private practice) are appointed by the Public Defender’s Office to represent individuals charged with misdemeanor crimes. People charged with felony crimes are generally represented by lawyers inside the Public Defender’s Office.

The Circuit Public Defender for the Eastern Circuit is Attorney Michael L. Edwards. Mr. Edwards supervises the office and its 21 lawyers, investigative staff and support personnel.

There are two divisions within the Public Defender’s Office: Adult and Juvenile.


To provide criminal defense that exceeds the constitutional mandate of effective assistance of counsel to each citizen whose cause has been entrusted to the Eastern Judicial Circuit Public Defender through an organization that combines innovation, efficacy, efficiency, aggressive advocacy and compassion with zealous and ethical representation delivered in a cost efficient manner.


A preeminent legal organization of talented and committed lawyers providing indigent defense representation that exceeds the constitutional mandate of effective assistance of counsel through a structured office supported by equally competent and talented administrators, investigators and paralegals working as a team and collaboratively with the private criminal defense bar to promote innovative, efficient and effective indigent defense delivery to and for the local community.