Deal appoints five to Public Defender Standards Council

July 27, 2011

Gov. Nathan Deal today tapped five new members who will join the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.  The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council is a nine-member independent agency within the executive branch of the state government whose mission is to ensure that clients receive adequate and ethical legal representation.

Donna Avans Seagraves
Seagraves has worked as a public defender in Georgia for 24 years. Seagraves received her law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law and went to work with the Legal Aid Office in Athens as an assistant public defender. From there, she moved to the Fulton County Public Defender's Office and and then served as the public defender for Jackson and Barrow counties. Seagraves was appointed circuit public defender for the Piedmont Circuit when the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council was created. She has tried hundreds of criminal cases. She is interested in indigent defense policy, having served as vice president and Indigent Defense Committee member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, president of the Piedmont Bar Association and secretary of the Georgia Association of Circuit Public Defenders. She and her husband, Brian, live in Athens and have one son.

G.S. “Gator” Hodges
Hodges was elected to the Butts County Commission in 2008. He works for CSX Transportation. Previously, Hodges served the public for 10 years as a police officer with the Bryan County Sheriff's Department and the Henry County Police Department. He grew up in Hinesville and graduated from Bradwell Institute. He attended Georgia Southern University, where he studied Criminal Justice. He is a graduate of the 2007 Leadership Butts County course and was the chairperson of the 2009 class. He is also a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. Hodges was appointed by the Georgia Speaker of the House to the Middle Ocmulgee Water Council. He also is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and is currently in the Leadership Georgia Class of 2010. Most recently, Hodges was named by Georgia Trend Magazine to its "40 Under 40" list in October of 2010. Hodges lives in the Stark community with his wife, Keri, and their son, Noah. Hodges is an active member of Rock Springs Congregational Methodist Church in Milner.

Lamar Paris
Paris is serving his third term as Union County’s sole commissioner. Paris graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s in Business Administration. He is the Immediate State Past President of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. Paris serves on several local and regional boards and committees. He has also served on the Georgia EPD Watershed Committee and the Senate Local Sales Tax Study Committee and is currently a member of the State Regional Water Council. Paris is a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Union County. He and his wife, Dinah, have one daughter, Jessica, who also graduated from the University of Georgia.

Ron Cross
Cross, of Evans, chairs the Columbia County Commission. He graduated high school in Greenville and Anderson Junior College in Anderson, S.C., and he attended Furman University. He moved to Augusta in 1967 to begin work for Smith and Coleman Mechanical Engineers, then became the chief engineer for the Medical College of Georgia. Cross has worked in both residential and commercial construction. In 1982, he started CCI Construction Corporation, a commercial, industrial and institutional construction company. Cross worked at CCI Construction until he was elected to office in 2002. He is currently serving his third term as chairman. Cross has been active in several state and regional initiatives, including: the CSRA Regional Transportation Roundtable Executive Committee as chairman, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia Board of Managers, the Savannah-Upper Ogeechee Regional Water Planning Council as chairman, the Governor's Water Contingency Planning Task Force, the Governor's Energy Council and the Clarks Hill Partnership. Cross and his family are members of Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans.

David Sims
Sims is a graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, where he served as president of the Student Bar Association. He practiced law in Savannah for 20 years, handling both civil and criminal cases. There, he was president of the Trial Lawyers Club and president of the Savannah Bar Association. Sims worked for 13 years as a claims counsel for Nationwide Insurance in Atlanta before he retired. He is currently of counsel with the Atlanta law firm of Insley and Race and has emeritus status with the State Bar of Georgia and in Vinings.