Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee

The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee was created in 1978 by the United States District Court under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (CJA), 18 U.S.C. ยง 3006A to provide legal representation to those persons accused of a crime against the United States who are financially unable to afford private counsel. Every person accused of a crime is entitled to the effective representation of counsel by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.


The Plan for the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act adopted by the District Court and approved by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1978 provided that Criminal Justice Act representation in this district would be furnished by a Federal Public Defender and assistants and by a panel of private attorneys chosen for their expertise by a selection committee. The Office of the Federal Public Defender opened during the tenure of Chief District Judge L. Clure Morton with the swearing-in of William H. Farmer as the Federal Public Defender on February 10,1978. Bill Farmer headed a staff which included one Assistant Federal Public Defender, one Investigator and an Administrative Assistant/Secretary. The original CJA panel consisted of 34 lawyers. In the years since, first Judge Wiseman then Judge Nixon, Judge Echols, Judge Campbell, Judge Haynes, Judge Sharp and now Judge Crenshaw have served the District as Chief Judge. The Bail Reform Act, Sentencing Guidelines, minimum mandatory sentences, capital habeas litigation and sentencing reform have had an impact on those who provide defense representation.

The Office of the Federal Public Defender, headed by Henry A. Martin since 1985, includes 53 people in various job descriptions. The panel now consists of 56 lawyers and reserve, second chair and advisory panels. Two members of the panel have served since the original panel was selected. Since 1978 panel lawyers and the lawyers, investigators, paralegals and support staff of the defender office have represented thousands of people in cases ranging from petty offenses to death sentences, always striving to do so to the highest standards of the profession and consistent with the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

810 Broadway
Suite 200
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Phone: (615) 736-5047

Fax: (615) 736-5265