Labor & Employment

Fired public defender files whistleblower suit against his former employer


Fired last fall after he complained about a huge caseload and a hot, moldy office, among other issues, a former assistant public defender has now fired back.

Last week, lawyers for Leo “Jim” Kight Jr. filed a whistleblower suit on his behalf. It contends that the Towaliga Circuit public defender and others retaliated against him for making legitimate complaints and pointing to oversight issues concerning the public defender’s office, the Daily Report (sub. req.) says. Kight had worked for the office since 2005.

At one point, Kight sought to have the Monroe County Superior Court declare the public defender’s office unable to provide effective assistance of counsel to its clients.

Defendants in the Fulton County Superior Court case including the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council and director W. Travis Sakrison. He declined to comment specifically on the suit when contacted by the legal publication, but said it hasn’t affected client service, Sakrison also said the circuit is doing well under its new public defender, Doug Smith.

Kight alleges the defendants violated multiple laws concerning workplace safety, the defense of indigent individuals and a supervisory panel that was supposed to watch over the public defender’s office.

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