Senior Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green has appointed Michele Purvis Harris to serve as the next public defender for Hinds County. Purvis Harris currently serves as special assistant city attorney for the City of Jackson. She is assigned as legal counsel to the Jackson Police Department.
The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Purvis Harris will replace William LaBarre, who has served as public defender since October 2005.
Purvis Harris has almost 25 years of experience as a practicing attorney. She spent more than 16 years in the area of criminal prosecution and as law enforcement counsel. She has previously served as chief city prosecutor for the City of Jackson and as a Hinds County assistant district attorney. She started her legal career with the Legal Services Corporation, working in both the North and Central Mississippi offices.
Purvis Harris becomes the first female and first African American to serve in this capacity. She was also the first African American to be appointed chief city prosecutor for the City of Jackson.
Purvis Harris is a native of Mt. Olive, and a 1984 graduate of Jackson State University. She earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1987.
Purvis Harris is married to Melvin Harris and has a daughter, Madison.
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