Richard Hughes To Seek 2nd Term As District Public Defender

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Richard Hughes will be a candidate for a second term as 10th Judicial District Public Defender May 6, 2014.

Mr. Hughes, a Republican, currently serves as the elected district public defender since 2005 for Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties.

He served as an assistant public defender representing adults and children appointed by the criminal and juvenile courts throughout the judicial district for 15 years before heading the office beginning in 2005.

Mr. Hughes is the administrator of a staff of eight attorneys and three administrative assistants located in both Cleveland and Madisonville.

He continues to be a working attorney representing many adults and children appointed by the court just as he did as an assistant attorney before being elected public defender in 2006.

“I don’t avoid the most difficult cases or the most difficult defendants our office is appointed and I always lead by example,” he said.

“I have made changes by placing attorneys in the two investigator positions funded by the state and placed a full time attorney instead of using two part time attorneys.

"I decided to move a second office to Madisonville in 2005. These hiring and location decisions have provided better legal service to many individuals we are appointed to represent each year. I have also made decisions which have had positive impact on the criminal justice system.”

As district public defender, Mr. Hughes participated in the creation of the district wide adult drug court now called Recovery Court.

He also participated in the creation of the Bradley County Juvenile Drug Court and has been actively involved in the operation of these two special treatment court programs since their beginning.

“These treatment courts have proven to be effective and cost saving for adults and children with serious substance abuse and I want to continue to expand their reach throughout our district,” he said.

“All the dockets of the various courts we appear in have current dockets without unreasonable backlog or delay and the District Public Defenders Office is a large part of this success,” he said.

"As public defender, I view juvenile court as a priority and have worked with the judges to add juvenile court dockets in two of the counties of our district and represent children in juvenile court in Bradley County each week.  These children need and deserve the opportunity to be successful and productive adults and to avoid the school to prison pipeline that is a concern throughout the country.”

Mr. Hughes is a member of the advising board in both the Southeast Tennessee Community Corrections Program and Bradley County Misdemeanor Probation program, as well as a member of a committee formed to create a Bradley County workhouse program.

He has been an adjunct instructor at both Cleveland State Community College and Lee University. He is an active member of the Kiwanis Club and Sunrise Rotary Club and Westside Ruritan Club in Cleveland. He served as a member of the board of directors for Habitat For Humanity of Cleveland and continues to provide support of this organization on the executive committee.

He is a lifelong resident of Bradley County and is married to wife, Kelly.  She is a visual arts teacher at E.L. Ross and Cleveland Middle School since 2002. They have two children, Hallie and Jack Henry who attend Cleveland High School. Mr. Hughes is the son of Dr. Charles Richard Hughes and Henrietta Hughes who live in Cleveland. The family worships at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland.

Mr. Hughes said, “I have always put the individuals we are appointed to represent first and understand my responsibility and duty to represent them well in our courts and their serious needs and concerns addressed.

"I also understand I have a responsibility as an elected official to the many citizens throughout the district who will never need or use the Public Defender or legal system to honor the public trust given me and to administer the office wisely. I remember and learn from the past which helps as I continue to improve the district public defenders office and the criminal justice system.

“These concerns are the overcrowded conditions of three of the four county jails in our district and the resulting substantial to the taxpayers of our district. Associated with this concern is the large number of probation violators before our courts and in our jails and want to develop better ways for them to be successful.

“Treatment courts, a county workhouse, county work release programs, a pretrial release program and effective community service programs are some of the alternatives that are or should be available to address both overcrowding and these substantial costs.

“I understand I am not entitled to my elected position, but I have been loyal to the office and committed to the legal services provided by the office since I began here in 1989.

“I ask the voters of our district to recognize the importance of my office to the criminal justice system and ask for their continued support of me as district public defender next year on May 6, 2014 in the Republican primary."

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