Caryn Lobdell took over the helm as Circuit Defender for the Toombs Judicial Circuit in December and has been quietly making the position her own ever sense.
She was appointed to lead the office of public defender by the Georgia Public Defender Council in Atlanta, and former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal supported the appointment.
“There were a number of applicants for the circuit defender job and they chose me,” Lobdell said. “I was the best fit for it.” Lobell is the former assistant chief public defender for the Toombs Judicial Circuit.
Following maternity leave in February and the birth of a son, Lobdell is back to supervising the circuit office and handling cases. In McDuffie County, the office of the public defender ensures a person charged with a crime has as an advocate in the court system.
Lobdell’s initial thoughts when she acquired the job was on how much she would be responsible and how the late Harold W. “Chip” Wallace made the job look easy.
“I am responsible for the whole office for the Toombs Judicial Circuit,” she said. “I am responsible for how the cases are assigned.
The attorneys in the office on Greenway Street provide legal representation the people of Glascock, Lincoln, McDuffie, Taliaferro, Warren and Wilkes counties who are unable to afford an attorney.
Lobdell is mindful of the bar of excellence set by Wallace, who was circuit public defender and she desires to retain that status and go forward. “Mr. Wallace set the bar pretty high for us. We want to maintain the high level of professionalism that he had and continue the good relationship we have with the district attorney’s office that benefits our clients,” she said. “We are here to protect people’s rights and make sure that everyone’s rights are protected.”
Lobdell desires for the office of public defender to maintain its positive representation in the community. “Overall we do a good job,” she said.
Lobdell seeks to keep improving on the already positive image the office has. “We have good lawyers here. You do not have to go to Atlanta to hire one. I want people to feel that they do not have to have money to get a good defense. The public is entitled to quality representation.”