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Public Defender Donnell honored by peers

Mary Hinds • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:36 PM

The 15th Judicial Bar Association honored Lebanon attorney and 15th Judicial District Public Defender Comer Donnell at a luncheon Wednesday afternoon at the Lebanon Golf and Country Club.

The local bar association, made up of attorneys in the five counties that make up the 15th Judicial District — Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Jackson and Macon, is recognizing and honoring senior members of the legal community as an ongoing program. Donnell serves as the public defender in all five counties and has garnered a reputation for hard work and honest dealings.

Local bar association President Elizabeth L. Youmans said Donnell has proven to be a dedicated public servant in the many roles he has filled in his storied career.

"This was a planned event to recognize him and show our appreciation for his years of service," she said. "He did a lot of different things in his career and he is the longest serving public defender in the state."

She added that Donnell is the kind of attorney that gives them all a good name.

"He staff is very well trained and dedicated and his motto is do it right and be honest," she noted.

Donnell, who has been the public defender for the 15th Judicial District since the office was instituted in 1989, is a life-long resident of Lebanon. He is a graduate of Castle Heights Military Academy and received his undergraduate degree from Duke and his law degree from Vanderbilt. His impressive resume includes studies in Defense Advocacy at California Western School of Law, the National Death Penalty College at the University of Santa Clara and numerous national and state criminal defense seminars.

Donnell is a past president of the Tennessee Indigent Defense Commission and a member of the 15th District, the Tennessee, and the American Bar Associations and the state and national associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He formerly was a member of the Tennessee Sentencing Commission, and served as Wilson County Attorney, Lebanon City Attorney, Watertown City Attorney and as the director of Petroleum Taxes for the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Obviously, he is deserving of the recognition he received.

Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at maryhinds@lebanondemocrat.com

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