Interview: How to Defend the Public with Sherrie Hines
Sherrie Hines is Athens’ Public Defender, a defender of the weak and impoverished. She works long hours fighting against a side of the government that has a lot more resources. She’s making a difference for the people and doing good work for various different clients.
Below is a summary of our interview:
Sherrie always keeps on her desktop: “You should go forth, be a force for the awesome and do epic shit.”
Sherrie used to do debate and liked arguing in high school’s debate team. She came to college and realized she hated studying English. A helpful part was talking to the career advisor at University of Georgia, and he suggested Sherrie do the work as an intern, or volunteer. So she did a quick internship one summer shadowing a judge, shadowing a local lawyer and also working with the Georgia Legal Services program which represent poor people in civil cases when you’re not entitled to a lawyer. She liked working with the indigent population, but did not like doing the civil cases. So when she came back to University of Georgia at Athens, the career advisor set her up at the public defender’s office and got to work on criminal cases. So she’s been there ever since.
A Low Point
In law school, she had such certainty in what she wanted to do. It was when she was working at juvenile court that she had a hard time, but it was the most depressing time for Sherrie. It almost felt like she was a social worker more than a lawyer.
Being a lawyer during her very first month at the office was enjoyable for her. She would work hard to get people out of jail while they’re waiting to get in front of a judge. Realizing she’s doing good work for these people in tough spots, even if she doesn’t get the results, is her “Aha moment.”
Sherrie’s work now
She works in State court, which is a misdemeanor trial court where she handles cases as low as animal abuse or traffic violation tickets to as severe as DUIs or possession of marijuana. She’ll close a lot of cases, between 300 and 350 cases a year. Attorneys handle other cases such as deprivation or dependency cases. Sherrie one of the first persons whom the convict comes into contact with in the court system. After being asked about a case and what she’s doing day to day in Athens, Sherrie talks about defending a young man who was charged with a DUI and had to go to trial. Eventually, she won the case and used digital evidence for the defense. It was a defining moment for her.
What’s exciting Sherrie now
She enjoys her negotiations and getting a just resolution, but she admits the system is broken. There’s a lot of unfairness and racism and wrongful enforcement of the law.
Book Sherrie Recommends:[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”center” asin=”0810997460″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”purposerockst-20″]
She has a karate To Do ist and a personal To D0 List.
Professor Russell Gabriel, at the Law School in University of Georgia
West Law – a paid service for accessing legal documents.
Google Maps is the most useful for investigating traffic stops and burglaries.
What’s Your Purpose?
She thinks it’s to make a difference. She teaches Karate for free and volunteers at a local zoo. Just educating people and helping them for many years to come.
Where to follow Sherrie and Parting Words
She doesn’t have a web presence, but she can be reached at email@example.com if you have any questions.
It’s imperative that you sit down and think about things you like; make a list of what you love doing and what excites you, what you care about doing and then find a way to make that happen. Find someone in that profession and ask them questions.