My primary practice area is criminal defence and for the past 11 years I have practised indigent criminal defence exclusively. I also previously maintained a civil practice in employment and labour law, municipal law, and business litigation.
I have been a member of the Bar since 1993 and am admitted to practice in all state and federal trial and appellate courts in Georgia, as well as the United States Supreme Court. In 2004 I was appointed as Eastern Judicial Circuit (Georgia) Public Defender when the office was created as part of Georgia's Indigent Defence Act of 2003. For the past 11 years I managed and supervised that office, which represents indigent persons charged with felony offences in Superior Court, youth charged with delinquency offences in Juvenile Court and both adults and youth in appellate courts. I sat on the Chatham County Drug, Mental Health and Veterans Courts' Policy Committees and Advisory Boards and served as secretary for the Chatham County Criminal Justice Information System Board.
I am a past-president of the Georgia Association of Circuit Public Defenders and served on its Legislative and Training committees. In that role I lectured and trained public defenders and participated in policy development activities including testifying before legislative bodies. I am a past-president of the Savannah Bar Association.
I am a member of South University's Criminal Justice Advisory Board and previously served at the university as an adjunct professor. In 2012 I authored three chapters in LexisNexis' Georgia Criminal Law practice guide. I have been qualified to represent persons in death penalty prosecutions and have represented persons facing the death penalty in both state and federal trial and appellate courts. I was honoured to serve as local counsel for the Innocence Project in the 2002 exoneration of Samuel Scott.
Specialist areas of interest
I have a particular interest in indigent criminal defence issues, including the death penalty and wrongful convictions. I am also interested in accountability/treatment courts, recidivism reduction and re-entry, civil rights and ethics and professionalism in the law.
Michael Edwards was appointed as Public Defender in Georgia in 2004 and for the past 11 years represented indigent (poor) persons charged with felony offences in Superior Court, youth charged with delinquency offences in Juvenile Court and both adults and youth in appellate courts.
He is a member of South University's Criminal Justice Advisory Board and previously served at the university as an adjunct professor.
He is a visiting professor at Sheffield Hallam until July 2016.