Assistant Public Defender Willie Santana will be honored this month with the Tennessee Bar Association’s Second Annual Claudia Jack Award.
This award is presented annually to an outstanding a public defender or court-appointed private practitioner who has served the legal community and their clients in an exemplary fashion.
The award is named after the late Claudia Jack, a long-time champion of the poor and underprivileged and a public defender.
This year’s award recipient was selected by a committee consisting of the vice president of the Tennessee Bar Association, chair of the Access to Justice Committee, chair of the Criminal Law Section, Speaker of the House of Delegates, and chair of Juvenile & Children’s Law Section.
Santana is an Assistant Public Defender in Hamblen County.
Prior to that, he clerked for Judge Norma Ogle, served as a solo practitioner, and as a Knox County Assistant District Attorney. He has also published widely on several topics including diversity and general sessions court reform.
He recently received recognition for his work to reform the criminal justice system, specifically related to bail reform.
His efforts contributed to national exposure of conditions in the Hamblen County jail on jail conditions and a lawsuit challenging bail practices.
A resident of Morristown, Santana earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
The Tennessee Bar Association was founded in 1881.
Its membership represents the entire spectrum of the legal profession in Tennessee and beyond. The TBA is open to all licensed attorneys in good standing, and it is dedicated to enhancing fellowship and professionalism among the members of Tennessee’s legal community.