Public Defender Ardena Garth has fired a longtime investigator, and she said an attorney in the office quit after she gave him a choice to quit or be fired.
Ms. Garth confirmed that Randy Millsaps, who had been with the office for almost 16 years, was terminated.
She said Danny Hill, an attorney who was assigned to the courtroom of Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman along with Mr. Millsaps, "was given a choice of resigning or being terminated." She said he decided to resign.
Ms. Garth said both men left the office on the same day.
She declined to say what led to the actions except that "there were management concerns. It was not just one thing."
Mr. Hill had been with the office since 1999.
Mr. Millsaps said he had no comment at this time. Attorney Hill, who Ms. Garth said is moving back to his home state of Ohio, could not be reached for comment.
Ms. Garth said she will find a replacement for attorney Hill in the Steelman courtroom, which is also covered by Jane J. Buffaloe of her office.
Ms. Garth said she was aware of prior legal problems Ms. Buffaloe has had when she hired her in February 2006.
"Those have been taken care of," Ms. Garth said.
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Nov. 20, 2001, entered an order suspending the law license of Ms. Buffaloe for three years.
The state Board of Professional Responsibility had filed a petition for discipline against Ms. Buffaloe alleging that she misrepresented to a client the status of a case that involved collections, litigation and forfeitures. The order said the client demanded return of his files, and Ms. Buffaloe initially made no response and then turned over some of the files. The client then hired a computer programmer to extract the information from Ms. Buffaloe's computer system, it was stated. The order says the client learned that Ms. Buffaloe had failed to remit certain funds.
Ms. Buffaloe was temporarily suspended by the state Supreme Court on Feb. 10, 2000, for misappropriation of the client's funds, the order says. Ms. Buffaloe made restitution to the client.
The Board of Professional Responsibility filed another petition against Ms. Buffaloe based on a Bankruptcy Court order finding her in contempt of court for failing to respond to a show cause order. The order says Ms. Buffaloe submitted a conditional guilty plea in that case.
Ms. Buffaloe, who then was living in Nashville, was reinstated to the practice of law on Oct. 21, 2005.
A hearing panel recommended the reinstatement based on Ms. Buffaloe extending her Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program contract for five years, having a practice monitor and a trust account monitor and extending the Tennessee Law Institute Review Program for two years.