• Longtime public defender Comer Donnell to retire

    By Matt Masters -

    Longtime public defender Comer Donnell with the 15th Judicial District said he plans to retire Nov. 1.

    Donnell has been the public defender for the 15th Judicial District since the office was instituted in 1989 and is a Lebanon native. He is a graduate of Castle Heights Military Academy and received his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his law degree from Vanderbilt University. His 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.

    “I appreciate the people allowing me to serve these 30 years. I’ve enjoyed it,” Donnell said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and I really thank the people.”

    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.

    According to the Tennessee Bar Association, the state will accept applications until Sept. 14 to replace Donnell. The appointed nominee will serve the remainder of Donnell’s term until the next election in 2020.

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