• Investigator for public defender's office says she was fired for blowing whistle on boss

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    CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - An investigator for the Clayton County Public Defender's Office told Channel 2 Action News she was fired for blowing the whistle on her superior. Now, an investigation into the matter is underway.

    "I was terminated because I made some reports of some things," LaShawn Woods-House said.

    A reviewer says in a document, "If indeed Ms. Woods-House is being terminated for her legitimate whistleblower activity, this would be contrary to law." Woods-House alleges that's what happened. 

    She told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne she worked her job as an investigator for the right reasons: "To be there for those people who couldn’t afford attorneys on the outside."

    But now, the Clayton County Public Defender's Office needs investigating after Woods-House and a colleague were fired.

    Attorney Keisha Steed took over as acting chief public defender and designated a new interim chief investigator.

    Woods-House said on June 21, she complained to human resources the interim chief investigator told her "to file a subpoena with the clerk of Superior Court that had not been served." She said she asked if she should serve the subpoena and then file it.


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    "I was told, 'Just do it. I will serve it later.' I knew that this was against the law," Woods-House said in a document Winne obtained. Woods-House said she complained about that and another serious rule violation to HR again June 24 and was fired the next day.

    "My spirit is crushed," Woods-House said. "That was my ministry." 

    A document indicates a reviewing officer found "the sole allegation against Ms. Woods-House is that she was maintaining outside employment as a realtor." It adds, "To date, the circuit public defender has provided no evidence that Ms. Woods-House was actively engaged in employment as a realtor."

    "I do hold a real estate license," Woods-House said.

    Woods-House said she was unaware of a rule instituted after she came to work about getting permission for outside employment.

    The reviewing officer said Woods-House "should be reinstated." 

    The Georgia Public Defender Council said Steed was replaced this week as acting head of the Clayton office.

    A statement said, "GPDC has determined that a thorough investigation is necessary."

    "What gives you the strength to deal with this right now?" Winne asked Woods-House.

    "I think it’s the God that I serve," she responded.

    The statement indicates an HR consultant and others will assist the new acting head. 

    A spokesperson said the reviewing officer found, in essence, termination was too severe for Woods-House. 

    Woods-House, who said she did earn some income from real estate, has been offered her job back.

    Winne is also investigating a second fired investigator's serious allegations.

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