A 16-year run came to an end Friday as longtime Public Defender Dan Bryant bid farewell to the job, but not to the office he’s done business from all these years. He’s keeping that.
“I’ve pretty well evened it out. Fifteen years in private practice and 16 in public practice as public defender,” Bryant said while walking down College Street. “To tell you the truth, I’m kind of excited about going back into private practice. Mind you, it isn’t of my own choice, but now that I’m thinking about it there will be new challenges waiting.”
Bryant replaced Dale Potter as public defender in 1998 when Potter won the district attorney’s job. He has served since that time. He was defeated by attorney John Partin of the law firm of Gallligan & Newman during the Democratic Primary in May. Partin will take over the office on Sept. 1 for an eight-year term.
Partin’s office will be located at 115 College Street, across from the old public defender’s office. He took the oath of office Friday in the circuit courtroom.
“I had my baptism of fire working with Dale Potter as DA when I first took office. His approach was different to say the least,” Bryant said of his head-to-head legal battles with the former DA. “Then Lisa Zavogiannis came along and things were a little more normal. Either way, I’ve enjoyed my time as public defender.”
Bryant’s assistant defenders, Richard Dorris and Scott Grissom, will both be returning to private practice while his office manager, Wanda Cantrell, will move across the street to work for Partin.
“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Partin said of opening for business this Tuesday. “I think I’ve assembled an excellent staff that will allow us to effectively represent our clients.”
His assistant public defenders include Rick Stacy and Susan Marttala, the latter of whom was the first district attorney for the 31st Judicial District.
As for his practice, Bryant is hanging out his shingle in the same place the public defender’s office has been for past 16 years.
“My office is staying right here at the end of College Street,” Bryant said. “And, this coming week, I’ll be open for business again, private business that is for the first time in 16 years.”
Bryant can be reached at his new number at 474-8160.
“The problem is it won’t be published until the new phone book comes out,” Bryant said of his private practice number. “For now I guess it’ll be word of mouth and maybe in the newspaper.”