2 Seek the position of Public Defender of the 3rd Judicial District | Special Sections


Two deputy public defenders will compete for the position of public defender for the 3rd Judicial District in the May 3 Republican primary.

Both Todd Estep and DeAnna Snyder serve the public in the 3rd Judicial District under longtime Judicial District public defender Greg Eichelman, who earlier announced he would not be running for re-election.

The candidates recently answered questions from the Greeneville Sun about their campaigns.

Early voting begins April 13 and ends April 28. The Republican Party primary will take place on May 3. The winner of the primary will run unopposed in the August 4 general election.

Why are you seeking the position of public defender?

Step : I have decided to run for public defender for the district because of the impact I feel I can have on people’s lives and in our district. People from all walks of life look to me for help in the most uncertain time of their lives. I help them navigate their legal issues, as well as try to help them formulate a plan for future success, and I feel I have had an impact in the lives of my clients and my community. I know that as a district public advocate, I can reach more people and have a greater positive impact on the people we serve and on our communities.

Snyder: I am proud to have been an assistant public defender for over 17 years. I’m lucky to have had the best mentor in Greg Eichelman, our current public defender. I have seen him excel in advocating for the indigent and being a leader for our office. When he announced his retirement, I knew I had the experience required to continue his legacy with a smooth transition. I practiced in every county in our district, handling a wide range of cases. I have had the opportunity to know many people in the different communities we serve and have seen the struggles of each community. I will continue to defend every citizen of the 3rd Judicial District, whether our services are needed or not. Having already raised my family, I have the necessary time to dedicate to the position of public defender.

What changes or improvements would you like to see in the way this office serves the public?

Step : As your next public defender, I will ensure that our office provides the best legal advocacy in our region, but will also lead its evolution to a community law approach by helping our clients beyond their legal issues. Community law is essentially our office’s approach to reducing recidivism (people who re-offend). The public defender must coordinate the efforts of pre-existing support programs to better accommodate the individual and their return to society. Every prison has a host of programs designed to prepare those who are about to reenter society, but the issues an individual faces require long-term follow-up care. A person may need housing, help applying for a job, or ongoing support to deal with an addiction or mental health issue. Often these people do not have the means to do it on their own. Our office, with the assistance of our social worker (a vacancy by the way), is best placed to formulate follow-up plans tailored to the needs of the individual with the aim of reducing recidivism. Alternative sources of funding that do not burden the taxpayer must also be leveraged so that our office can manage this transition while protecting our current employees from heavy workloads, but doing so responsibly without inflating a government agency. or use taxpayers’ money. I am, after all, a conservative Republican. I have been preparing for this moment for a long time and have developed relationships with elected officials, community organizations and health care providers throughout our region, focused on implementing these interventions here in Greene County. . I ask you to elect me to this position so that I can finish what I have started and apply these preparations to our entire District.

Snyder: I want the Public Defenders Office to be a valuable community resource. If you need help finding out what steps to take to get your driver’s license reinstated, get information about treatment or housing, I want you to be able to call the Office of Public Defenders to at least be directed in the good direction. Many people think these tasks are too inaccessible and don’t know where to start. I want it to be the Office of Public Defenders. As for improvements, I want to continue to grow our office by working closely with the Conference of Public Defenders in Nashville and our state legislators. When I was hired in 2004, we had six assistant public defenders, two investigators, an office manager and two administrative assistants. Today we have grown to nine deputy public defenders, two investigators, one office manager and four administrative assistants. I believe our greatest need right now is the need for an additional investigator.

What types of cases do you see as an assistant public defender? Does it shape the way you approach work?

Step : My caseload ranges from public intoxication to first degree murder. My approach to each case is the same from the start. My client is someone’s son or daughter. Listening is as important as my knowledge of the law. Some cases are not as complex as others, but I strive to make my clients feel like they are my only client. Voters should know that I am the only candidate to have tried first degree murder before a jury. I’m assigned to Greene County, but I’ve taken on these additional cases. I did it in Hawkins County as a lead attorney, and tried a Hancock County case that went to Morristown where the government was seeking life without the possibility of parole. The magnitude of these cases makes this level of trial experience crucial to our district, public defender’s office, and I am the only office assistant/candidate with this experience. Being a lawyer is not enough for this job – you need a leader. I’ve held several leadership positions that have prepared me. As an infantry squad leader in the Marine Corps, I was responsible for my brothers’ lives and millions of dollars worth of equipment. I was responsible for managing others to ensure contract execution. I managed a Western retail store, planned production for a corrugated box factory, and led a team of .NET technology developers. I have held leadership positions in almost every job. I have extensive experience managing large budgets, evaluating individual performance, managing staff, and creating standard operating procedures to streamline productivity and increase return on investment. My life experience highlights my ability to lead a close-knit team towards a common goal. I will continue to do so as the next public defender.

Snyder: I see all kinds of cases as an assistant public defender, from the most serious crimes to murder. I have extensive trial experience in all types of cases. It shapes the way I approach my work by remembering that even the lowest level of criminal charges is a priority for this particular client and deserves my absolute attention, just like a murder case.

A brief additional statement, if desired

Step : I may have graduated from high school in Elizabethton, but Greene County is home. I have been practicing here since 2013. My wife and I chose to raise our three children here and are heavily involved in our community. We are committed to doing our part for the betterment of Greene County and our District. As your next public defender, I will continue to improve our office’s level of representation and reduce recidivism. As a public defender, I will ensure that we play a more crucial role in identifying the specific needs of the offender and therefore promoting an individualized treatment plan designed to maximize their success. By doing more to prepare our clients for life outside of prison, we join the fight against recidivism with law enforcement, judges and district attorneys to make our communities safer. Despite existing collection court programs doing a great job, these programs cannot handle the number of cases in our court system. Recently, I approached a program in Greene County that had not applied to be on the state-certified rehab list (a criminal court requirement). I explained why it could benefit the community and its program. After advocating for them to apply, this program did, and their inclusion on the state-certified list will benefit our clients, their families, and our communities throughout the District. It will take leveraging of all possible second chance institutions, programs, housing and employers to have a big enough impact to reduce the number of repeat offenders. These are examples that my actions follow my words and that I am the best choice to be your next public defender. I’m the guy in the bow tie, my name is Todd Estep, and I humbly ask for your vote.

Snyder: I am proud to say that I am a product of the good education system of the 3rd Judicial District. I graduated from Cherokee High School in Hawkins County where I played basketball and softball. I graduated from Walters State Community College in Hamblen County where I was enrolled in the legal assistant program. I received my bachelor’s degree from Tusculum College in Greene County, where I majored in organizational management. When I was accepted to Nashville Law School, I was a single mother to a son who was in first grade at St. Clair Elementary School in Hawkins County. I didn’t want to take her out of the local school district, so I decided to drive to Nashville twice a week to attend law school. I did this for four years. I will have that same level of determination as your next public defender. I ask for your vote for Public Defender.


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