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Governor Reynolds announced on February 22, 2019, Jeff Wright has been named as Iowa State Public Defender, effective March 1, 2019. Wright replaces Larry Johnson, Jr., who was appointed to be the Director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
The State Public Defender coordinates the constitutional right to legal representation for those who come under arrest and cannot afford their legal representation. Either the State Public Defender’s offices or private attorneys who are contracted by State Public Defender’s office provide the representation for these individuals. The State Public Defender position is outlined in Iowa Code 13B.
“It is an honor to serve our state in this new role,” said Wright. "I look forward to leading and executing the responsibilities of this vital office as we diligently work each day to ensure Iowans have equal and high quality legal representation."
Prior to the appointment of State Public Defender, Wright was appointed as chair of the Iowa Board of Parole in January 2018. He graduated from Morningside College in 2000 with a degree in International Affairs, before attending Drake University Law School. Wright was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 2006 and later founded the Carr & Wright Law Office. He practiced primarily in the areas of Criminal, Juvenile and Family Law until his appointment as chair of the Board of Parole. He is also actively involved in the community, volunteering for the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce, Little League Baseball, and serving on multiple volunteer committees benefiting youth and education.
The position of the State Public Defender is subject to Iowa Senate confirmation.