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Partin tries to unseat Bryant from office
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Does the public defender’s office need fixing?
That was a topic debated Tuesday night as Public Defender Dan Bryant fights to keep his job from challenger John Partin.
“I grew up on a farm and I learned if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” said Bryant. “If it’s running good and doing its job, you don’t replace it. The public defender’s office is not broke. There’s no reason to change it.”
Partin said that logic doesn’t necessarily apply to this race.
“If you’re going to fix a piece of farm equipment it’s generally going to cost you a lot of money,” said Partin. “I want the people to know it’s not going to cost anyone a dime to vote for me if you think I’d do a better job.”
Bryant has held the job for the past 16 years. He said one of his biggest accomplishments during that time is being a member of the original team that created the 31st Judicial District Drug Court around 10 years ago.
“That program has an 80 percent success rate in getting and keeping people off drugs,” said Bryant. “In my entire legal career, I’ve never seen anything work better in changing people’s lives than the Drug Court program. It works.”
In staying on the topic of rehabilitation, Partin said Drug Court has worked well but there are other things that can be done.
“Not all defendants are accepted into that program because there is extensive screening,” said Partin. “It’s important to help others find the tools that can help them with their issues. It may be addiction issues. It may be employment issues. It may be social stability issues. The criminal defense lawyer is in a unique position to identify those issues and work to provide support. It may be something as  simple as getting them to an AA meeting or getting them to a staffing agency.”
Bryant said he wants to remain public defender because he still cares about helping others.
“It’s all about helping people and that’s what I’ve always done,” said Bryant. “That’s why I was a classroom teacher and coach in Warren County. That’s why I was a private attorney and that’s why I’m public defender.”
Partin says he is qualified for the job as a 14-year attorney with the firm of Galligan and Newman.
“I’ve had the opportunity to try all types of cases, civil and criminal, in state and federal court all across the state,” said Partin. “I’ve done this against the best lawyers in the state and the country. There is no substitute for this type of experience.”