DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, CONCERNS OR COMPLAINTS ABOUT YOUR PUBLIC DEFENDER?
We welcome and encourage clients to raise questions, concerns and even complaints about our work. Our job includes listening to you, fighting for you, and working to meet the goals you set for your case. For more about what you can expect from us, please review our Representation Standards. If you don’t believe we are meeting these standards, we want to know about it.
Please keep in mind: not all appointed attorneys are “public defenders.” If your appointed lawyer does not work at the Nashville Defenders, we cannot help you.
So, what do you do if you have a concern or a complaint about your Public Defender?
1. First, try to talk to your lawyer about it. That may solve the problem.
2. If that doesn’t address your concern, or if you do not feel like you can talk to your lawyer about it, you should ask to speak to his or her supervisor. Every employee at the Nashville Defenders has a supervisor, and part of a supervisor’s job is to address your concerns or complaints. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your lawyer for his or her supervisor, you can call our main number (615-862-5730) and ask to speak to your lawyer’s supervisor.
3. If your concern isn’t fixed by talking with a supervisor, you can contact the Deputy Public Defender.
4. If none of these contacts resolves your issue, you can contact the Chief Public Defender. The Chief Public Defender is elected by Nashville voters, and is responsible for supervising all employees of the Nashville Defenders.
5. If you prefer to make your complaint in writing, you can do that by sending a letter or email instead of calling.
6. If you are a client of the Office, you should expect to receive a response within two weeks of us receiving your complaint. If you are a family member or friend of a client, we will communicate directly with our client about your complaint within two weeks.
How can you reach us?
1. You can call us on our main phone line, 615-862-5730, and ask for the person you want to talk with. You can also call that person directly using this directory.
2. You can write to us at 404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 2022, Nashville, TN 37219.
3. You can visit us when we are open to the public, keeping in mind the person you want to see may not be here if you come without an appointment.
4. You can send an email to the person you want to contact. Here is a directory of employee emails.
Complaints and Questions from Client Friends and Family Members
Sometimes friends and family members of our clients have concerns or complaints about how we are handling their loved one’s case. They may also reach out to us at the request of their loved one. Because attorney-client relationships are confidential, we may not be answer your questions, but we still want to hear from you if you have concerns. We will share the information and insight you give us with our client, and do our best to address your concerns and those of your loved one.
Public Suggestions and Anonymous Feedback
We understand you may want to offer us feedback, and would prefer not to identify yourself. Our ability to respond to anonymous feedback is limited, but we still want to know what you think about our service. We have a suggestion box in our public lobby with cards you can use to offer comments and make complaints without identifying yourself. We also have a public inquiry system on our website.