Public Defender Task Force


Public Defender Task Force

The Public Defender Task Force was created by Mississippi Code Section 25-32-71 in 2000. The Task Force is charged by statute to:

  • Make a comprehensive study of the needs by circuit court districts for state-supported indigent defense counsel, examining existing public defender programs, including indigent defense provided in the youth courts. Reports shall be provided to the Legislature each year at least one month before the convening of the regular session.
  • Examine and study approaches taken by other states in the implementation and costs of state-supported indigent criminal and delinquency cases.
  • Study the relationship between presiding circuit court and youth court judges and the appointment of criminal and delinquency indigent defense counsel.

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James W. Kitchens of Crystal Springs is chairman and Circuit Judge William Chapman III of Madison is vice-chairman. Legislative members include the chairs or designees of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the House Judiciary En Banc Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee.

Task Force Members
Attorney Matthew Eichelberger, Jackson, representing the Mississippi Public Defender Association
Circuit Judge James T. Kitchens Jr., Columbus
Assistant District Attorney Archibald W. Bullard, Corinth, representing the Mississippi Prosecutors Association
Administrative Office of Courts Director Kevin Lackey, Ridgeland
Special Assistant Attorney General Marvin “Sonny” White, Jackson
Quitman County Chancery Clerk T.H. “Butch” Scipper, Marks, representing the Mississippi Association of Supervisors
attorney Jennifer Riley-Collins, Jackson, representing the Magnolia Bar Association
former Justice Fred L. Banks Jr., Jackson, representing the Mississippi Bar