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August 27, 2008

Donna K. Anthony, the head of the West Plains Public Defender Office, has been named the 2008 Defender of Distinction by the Missouri Public Defender Commission. Anthony’s five-attorney office is responsible for providing defense representation to defendants facing state criminal charges in the south-central Missouri counties of Shannon, Howell, and Oregon. Last year, the office was assigned over 1200 cases.

Donna Anthony is a 1989 graduate of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where she served as an editor on the Law Quarterly and as President of the Washington University chapter of the Federalist Society. She clerked for the Honorable Jean C. Hamilton at the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals and at the Eastern Federal District Court before joining the Missouri Public Defender System’s Poplar Bluff office in 1993. Two short years later, she was promoted to the position of District Defender of the West Plains office.

Law is a second career for Donna. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Memphis, she spent seven years teaching high school English–including six years at her own alma mater, the Fayette Academy in Somerville, Tennessee–before going back to school to get her law degree.

She continues to put her education background to use, teaching new attorneys within the public defender system, and conducting both adult and children’s Bible studies within her church, New Hope Baptist in Peace Valley, Missouri--where she has twice been selected as Teacher of the Year. Donna is also active in the West Plains Sunrise Rotary and the 37th Circuit Bar Association, where she is both a past president and a regular presenter on issues in criminal law.

A descendant of Quakers who were detained because of their religion upon their arrival in the New World in the 1600s, Donna is an aficionado of both genealogy and history. A native of Collierville, Tennessee, she resides in West Plains with a menagerie of pets, half of whom sport names from the novel she once taught and now emulates in real life: To Kill a Mockingbird. Donna will be honored by the Missouri Bar at an awards banquet during its annual conference in Kansas City on September 19, 2008.

For more information:

Cat Kelly, MSPD Deputy Director
314-340-7662, ext. 274