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News in DPA

West-Stiles Named DPA Southern Regional Manager

The Public Advocate has appointed Shanda West-Stiles as the Southern Regional Manager for the Department of Public Advocacy.  Shanda earned her law degree from the Paul M. Hebert School of Law at Louisiana State University and graduated from Western Kentucky University with a double major in psychology and government.  Shanda began her career at DPA in 1999 in the Columbia Trial Office and has represented clients in all eight counties in the office’s large service area (Adair, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Green, Marion, Taylor, and Washington).  She became the Directing Attorney of the Columbia Office in 2011.  Shanda was the recipient of the 2017 Clarence Earl Gideon Award in recognition of her exceptional service to her clients and to the mission of public defense.  Shanda and her husband Jeff live in Adair County.


New DPA Leaders Named in Pikeville and Madisonville

The Department of Public Advocacy is pleased to announce the appointment of two new leaders in defender trial offices.   Garland Arnett has been named the Directing Attorney in the DPA Pikeville Trial Office and James Chamberlain has been named the Directing Attorney in the DPA Madisonville Trial Office.

Garland Arnett graduated from Belmont College with a Bachelors in Business Administration degree in Music Business and received his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law.  He had his own private law practice from 1995 until 2012 when he joined DPA as a Staff Attorney in the Prestonsburg Trial Office.  While in Prestonsburg, he has represented clients in misdemeanor and felony cases, primarily in Martin and Johnson Counties.  Garland lives in Pikeville with his wife Julie, who is also an attorney.  

James Chamberlain graduated summa cum laude from Murray State University and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky Law School.  After graduating law school, he worked as a law clerk and then a staff attorney with Hopkins Circuit Court Judge James Brantley.  He began his career with the Department of Public Advocacy in 2014 as a staff attorney in the Hopkinsville Trial Office.  After more than two years covering District and Circuit court in Christian County, James moved to the Madisonville Trial Office where he has worked in Muhlenberg and Hopkins County. In his free time, James works with church youth groups and with charity organizations in the Hopkins County community.

Both new leaders will serve clients and the Commonwealth well.


Melanie Lowe Appointed General Counsel of the Department of Public Advocacy

Deputy Public Advocate Scott West and I are happy to announce that DPA has a new member of the Leadership Team.  Earlier this week, Governor Bevin approved the appointment of Melanie Lowe to the position of DPA General Counsel.  
Originally from Catlettsburg, Melanie is a graduate of Marshall University and UK College of Law.  She started with DPA in 2000 and has worked in the Elizabethtown Trial Office, Kentucky Innocence Project, Post-Conviction Branch, and LaGrange Trial Office, and since last March has been the first Directing Attorney in the new Shelbyville Trial Office.  In 2016 and early 2017, she worked in the Legal Services Branch of the Kentucky State Police.  In recognition of her distinguished career with DPA, Melanie was the recipient of the 2016 Clarence Earl Gideon Award.
Melanie’s breadth of experience and her leadership within DPA will serve her well as the Agency’s lawyer.
Scott and I both look forward to working with her in the new position.

   Damon Preston
   Public Advocate
   Department of Public Advocacy


Jessica Schulte Named Directing Attorney of DPA's Danville Trial Office

The Trial Division would like to announce the promotion of Jessica Schulte.  The Public Advocate selected Jessica, most recently of our Elizabethtown Office and a Staff Attorney III, to lead the Danville Office.  I have attached her bio and pic for those of you who may not know Jessica.  She begins work in Danville on May 1. Welcome to the Southern Region Jessica!

Jessica Schulte graduated magna cum laude from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University in 2007 and from Wake Forest Law School in 2010. She is also a twelve-year veteran of the United States Army Reserves. She began her career with the Department of Public Advocacy in 2010 as a law clerk in the LaGrange Trial Office. She worked in the LaGrange Office for almost five years covering Oldham, Henry, Trimble, and Shelby County Courts. In 2015, Jessica moved to the Elizabethtown Trial Office where she has worked in Hardin and Meade Circuit Courts for the last three years. Jessica is an instructor for the Kentucky Public Defender College Juvenile Training program. In her free time, Jessica enjoys running and NASCAR