Local News

September 11, 2008

Public defenders passionate about work

Public defender Betsey Flack said she doesn’t mind the workload and what some in the legal profession may consider the position’s low pay.

To Flack, protecting people’s legal rights is critical.

“Ensuring that they are treated fairly is what I see as my job,” the North Carolina native said. “When it comes to people’s liberties, I don’t think there is anything more important or more serious.”

The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, which oversees the state’s public defenders, recommends attorneys have a caseload of 150 felonies or 300 misdemeanors in a year’s time. Flack handles misdemeanor cases in Superior Court and felony and misdemeanor cases in Juvenile Court. Since she started work on Aug. 1, 2007, she has closed 336 cases and currently has 120 open.

Flack, 26, said she wanted to be a lawyer from a young age. She joined the public defender office after graduating from Mercer Law School.

“I have always been drawn to public service in general,” she said. “Our clients are a sector of the community that often needs an advocate.”

Flack’s colleague, Ben Goldberg, who started on the same day as Flack, agrees. He interned with the Atlanta-based Georgia Innocence Project while in college and at Georgia State University’s law school. The Project reviews the convictions of prisoners to see if they should be freed because of new DNA evidence.

Goldberg said one man, who spent 15 or 16 years in prison for a rape Goldberg did not believe he committed, will never leave his mind.

“The Georgia Innocence Project only takes cases that have DNA evidence,” said Goldberg. “We couldn’t take his case but we got him released on parole. I am totally convinced the guy is innocent.”

At the public defender office, Goldberg assists with appeals.

“The class of people we represent are historically underrepresented,” he said. “In this society, money can buy you a different type of justice than if you are poor. The inequity of that is what drives me.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Longtime Dalton business Green Spot to close

    Larry Green says he made the decision more than a year ago.

    July 29, 2014

  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    Money.
    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo