A response to Herbert Adams' letter

To the editor:

This open letter is in direct response to candidate for district attorney, Herbert Adams, Jr.'s open letter to you dated May 27, 2008.

In it, he makes several dishonest statements. One statement in particular is "[a]t the request of local lawyers, [he] led the effort to save indigent defense for poor people in the county." He DID NOT lead absolutely any efforts relating to indigent defense. This statement is a complete lie.

It is yet another example why Mr. Adams CANNOT be trusted, and is not a good candidate for any public office in this state, let alone this county. I personally know this statement to be untrue, because I led the most recent efforts to save indigent defense in Clayton County.

I was joined very early in the fight by another attorney, named R. Kipling Jones. We never approached Mr. Adams; he approached us. In other words, there was no "request of local lawyers" to Mr. Adams relating to indigent defense; no one knew him.

I had personally never laid eyes on Herbert Adams, Jr., prior to being introduced to him by Mr. Jones. Based upon this introduction, I wrongfully assumed not only that he was a local county attorney, but a man of good character. I later learned, to my surprise and dismay, not only is he dishonest, but his efforts were totally self-serving.

Specifically, I learned his reason for "join[ing] the fight" was because he had been kicked out of Gwinnett County amidst allegations of over-billing on a major criminal case, where in the middle of jury selection, he announced that he was not ready. In this case, his co-counsel and fellow criminal defense attorney, Christine Koehler, subsequently filed several motions to have him [again, her co-counsel] removed from the case, due to her assessment he was both "unprepared" and "incompetent."

This is not the only case where something like this happened. As you can see, it is painfully obvious he "joined the fight for indigent defense," because he knew without it he would not have the steady source of income he once had in Gwinnett County.

I would like to take this opportunity to take full responsibility and apologize to the citizens of Clayton County for my failure to research his background prior to allowing him to assist in the noble cause of fighting for indigent defense.

Unfortunately, I have additional apologies to make to the citizens of this county. For instance, I also urged him to accept the appointment as indigent defense committee member, and strongly encouraged my colleagues to support him, again without the benefit of knowing from whence he came.

During the indigent defense efforts, Mr. Adams learned I am from Forest Park. As a result, he made a point of informing me of his application for municipal court judge in Forest Park, and asked for my support. I again, blindly supported him and encouraged certain decision makers to support him. I made these suggestions, again, without the benefit of knowing his history, and since learned from a childhood friend that Mr. Adams, in his capacity as municipal court judge, allowed the citizens of Forest Park to be threatened with shackles, and intimidated into taking pleas of guilty and paying fines to avoid "automatically" going to jail.

Upon gaining knowledge of Mr. Adams' history, I felt it my duty to inform the Forest Part City Council members of these discrepancies, including the Mayor; which I did.

Notwithstanding, had I known about his history in Gwinnett County, I would have never allowed him to participate in the fight for indigent defense; would not have supported him to become a committee member, and definitely would not have subjected people I grew up playing in the dirt and ditches with; their parents who helped raise me, and their children and children's children to this type of individual as a municipal court "judge." For this, I am sorry and extend my heartfelt apologies.

LOLETHA DENISE HALE

Hale & Associates, P.C.

Jonesboro