MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Gerald L. Melton has announced that he has decided to seek re-election as a public defender for the 16th Judicial District of Rutherford and Cannon counties.
In doing so, Melton will make his pitch to members of the Republican Party primary in May. If he wins the primary, he will go on to compete during the general elections as the Republican candidate.
“It is with great appreciation that I have served as your public defender for several years, seeking to fulfill this public service obligation while at the same time maintaining balance of faith, family and friends,” Melton said Wednesday in a press release. “I humbly ask for your support as I seek the Republican Party nomination in May.”
As public defender, Melton maintains an active caseload and supervises the work of nine assistant public defenders. He is charged with representing indigent people who are accused of committing criminal offenses, “thereby fulfilling the right to counsel” as provided by the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions, he said.
He is one of only two attorneys in the 16th District who is approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court to represent persons who are accused of crimes for which the possible penalty is death.
In addition to overseeing daily obligations in the courts, the job requires Melton to be the chief administrative officer for the office.
In performing these duties, Melton said his goal is work “in accordance with sound business practices and the public trust.”
By applying conservative fiscal management, Melton said, he has returned surplus funds to Rutherford County in each of the past two fiscal years.
Melton said his motto as public defender is “protecting the public by defending the Constitution,” noting “this task is more important today than ever before.”
In addition to his duties as public defender, Melton has served on the board of governors of the Tennessee Bar Association and as a member of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association. He has also served as an adviser to the Tennessee General Assembly for matters involving criminal law.
And he currently serves on various statewide committees and boards, including the Tennessee Medical Examiners Advisory Board.
-- Marie Kemph, email@example.com