Keeda Haynes

“I am a Public Defender because I am my client…and my client is me.”

Meet the Defenders

Keeda Haynes is from Franklin Tennessee and graduated from Nashville School of Law in 2012. Prior to becoming a Public Defender, Keeda worked for a criminal defense attorney in Nashville for seven years. In addition to the knowledge that Keeda has gained through her professional career, she also has firsthand personal knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. Prior to graduating from Tennessee State University with a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology, Keeda was convicted by a jury in federal court of aiding and abetting a conspiracy in 2002. Because of the harsh Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws, she was sentenced to serve eighty-four months (7 years) in a federal prison camp. After several years of appeals, Keeda, still a victim of the Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws, was resentenced sixty months (5 years) in federal prison. After serving four years and ten months, Keeda was released from federal prison. Upon her release, Keeda received a Masters in Criminology and is currently working on her LLM through Stetson University. She is currently working on a memoir entitled “Living Proof.”

Outside of her role as a public defender, Keeda is committed to community education and engagement. She has spoken on several panels and at several events in the community regarding criminal justice reform, recidivism and collateral consequences. Frequently she speaks at the federal halfway house where she encourages others recently released from prison. As an active member of the Mt. Zion Prison Ministry, four years ago, Keeda proposed a mentor/mentee program for people who were formally incarcerated, currently in federal and state halfway houses. This program helped numerous individuals make successful transitions back into the community. Additionally, she also organized a partnership between the Mt. Zion Prison Ministry and Prison Fellow to ensure that children of incarcerated parents receive gifts for Christmas through the Angel Tree Program. Working with several organizations, including the Public Defender’s Office, Keeda has also helped individuals regain their voting right after release from incarceration.

In her spare time, Keeda enjoys reading, watching The Blacklist and spending time with her family and friends.