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Lutton appointed Knox County district public defender

Lutton replaces the retiring longtime defender, Mark Stephens. He'll have to face election next year to keep the seat.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Eric Lutton will be Knox County's new district public defender, replacing the retiring longtime defender, Mark Stephens.

Gov. Bill Lee made the formal appointment Tuesday.

Stephens announced this summer he was retiring. He's overseen the office, now called the Community Law Office, since its inception more than 25 years ago.

The post is elected. Stephens, a Republican, was last elected in 2014 to the eight-year term.

Lutton, the deputy district public defender, must stand for election in 2020 if he wants to continue to serve out Stephens' term.

Lutton will be sworn in Nov. 1 by Knox County Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword.

Stephens' last day is Thursday.

Lutton has worked in the office since 2013. He previously had his own practice.

The Community Law Office represents citizens who cannot afford their own attorney. It handles thousands of cases every year in Knox County.

As one of the law office's attorneys, Lutton has been a team leader. He's on the board of the Metro Drug Coalition.