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Jeff Harmon, assistant public defender in the 12th Judicial District, will become the top man in the office when Public Defender Phil Condra retires in November.

Gov. Phil Bredesen announced the appointment Thursday afternoon in a news release.

The public defender represents indigent persons in criminal matters. The 12th District includes Bledsoe, Marion, Grundy, Rhea and Sequatchie counties.

"I'm pleased to appoint Mr. Harmon to fill this position and know that his qualifications and experience as assistant defender in this office will make him successful in serving the 12th Judicial District," Bredesen said in the release. "I would also like to recognize Phil Condra for his years of service to the state in this position and wish him well in his retirement."

Harmon, 48, has practiced law since 1986 and has been assistant public defender for the 12th Judicial District since 1992. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and his law degree from the University of Memphis College of Law. He has served as an adjunct instructor for American government at Chattanooga State Community College.

Harmon will serve as public defender until August 2012, when he can run to retain the seat, the release stated.

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