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


    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.


    "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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