NAACP wants public defender reinstated, judge to resign

Demands made after Brunswick Circuit public defender Kevin Gough dismissed

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – The Brunswick NAACP Legal Redress Committee and other community leaders said Friday that they want a Brunswick public defender reinstated and a Glynn County judge to resign.

The group made the demands a week after Kevin Gough, Brunswick Circuit public defender, was dismissed from office.

In a letter, the Georgia Public Defender Council said Gough disregarded his duties as public defender in the way he handled a survey, violated direct instructions not to speak with the media and failed to take action on behalf of clients by not asking his superiors for help.

Gough told News4Jax that the allegations are contextual and without foundation.

And despite them, community leaders said they want him back in office.

They also said they want Glynn County Superior Court Judge Roger Lane to resign.

“We're angry. We are mad. And we are not going to be satisfied if we continue after in this fashion, standing here crying out for justice, crying out for fairness, crying out for equity,” said Rev. Dr. Leonard Small with Litway Missionary Baptist Church Savannah and chairman of Unity Political Action Committee.

Rev. Zack Lyde, a community activist and NAACP leader, made it clear how he felt about Lane Friday.

“We would want him gone today,” Lyde said. “And the reason we want him removed is because of the egregious acts that he has committed on the bench.”

Lyde pointed to the case of Curtis Lee Drayton, a man Lane sentenced to the maximum 12 months in jail for a traffic violation, with no credit for time served.

“It's not only something that is mind-boggling, it's criminal,” Lyde said.

News4Jax went to the Glynn County Courthouse and Lane said he couldn’t comment as a judge, and hadn’t received any communication from the NAACP.

While some want Lane gone, they also said they want Gough to come back.

Small said he’s concerned about what his absence will mean for the community.

“Take the person who is most capable of defending the poor, the needy and the downtrodden and remove him from the office, what will they replace it with? With someone who will go about to get along,” Small said.

Gough said he has filed an amended notice of appeal in which he will respond in detail to the allegations in his termination letter.