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Governor Perdue Appoints Members to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council

Friday, July 18, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today announced his appointments to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council (Council) - Michele M. Henderson of Richmond Hill, GA to represent the Second Judicial Administrative District and The Honorable Willie E. Lockette of Albany, GA to represent the First Judicial Administrative District.

"It is an honor to appoint two highly qualified legal experts to the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "They understand our state's moral obligation to provide legal defense for those who cannot afford it. I look forward to their efforts to help reform Georgia's indigent defense system."

The Council was created by House Bill 770 and signed by Governor Perdue on May 22, 2003. Under the new law, Georgia will provide constitutionally adequate legal assistance of counsel for indigent defendants. The 11-member Council will oversee public defender offices. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court each have two appointments. The final position will be filled by a public defender.

Brief biographies of the newly appointed Council members are provided below:

Michele Henderson, J.D., 47, Richmond Hill, GA - Henderson practices law for Henderson & Harvey, LLC, a firm she formed with her late husband in 1988. In 1998, Henderson was appointed as Bryan County Attorney and resigned from the post in 2002. In 1989, she was appointed by the Superior Court Judges of Bryan County to serve as the Courts' representative on the Bryan County Tripartite Committee to administer the public defender program and continues to hold this position today. Prior to that, she began practicing law in Savannah, joining the firm of Remler & Henderson in 1983. The firm opened an office in Richmond Hill where she currently lives. Henderson received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia in 1978 and her law degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law. Henderson has three children.

Judge Willie Earl Lockette, 54, Albany, GA - Lockette was elected as Superior Court Judge of Dougherty County in 1996 and is serving his second term after his re-election in 2000. From 1991- 1996, he served as Chief and Associate Judge for the Magistrate Court of Dougherty County, and from 1993- 1996, was an adjunct professor in Political Science and Public Administration at Albany State College (University). From 1974 to 1993, he practiced as a managing and staff attorney at Georgia Legal Services Programs, Inc. in Albany from 1974 - 1993. Lockette received his J.D. degree from the University Of Illinois College Of Law in 1974 and his B.A. in History and Political Science from Fort Valley State College in 1971. Lockette has been a member of the State Bar since 1974 and is a member of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association and C.B. King Bar Association. His other activities include serving as a Baptist Minister for New Oak Grove Baptist Church and member of the Georgia Commission for Family Violence and the Georgia Commission on Equality. Lockette is married and has four adult children and nine grandchildren.