Shelby County approves Phyllis Aluko as next chief public defender

Shelby County approves Phyllis Aluko as next chief public defender
Phyllis Aluko approved as first African American female to serve as next Chief Public Defender (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Shelby County Board of Commissioners has approved Phyllis Aluko to serve as the next chief public defender. Aluko is the first African-American female to serve in this role.

Aluko started as a volunteer in the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office before working in the trial division for 10 years. She progressed through the ranks to serve as a Division Leader in the trial division.

Phyllis Aluko is set to become the 11th Shelby County Public Defender and first African-American female to serve in the role.
Phyllis Aluko is set to become the 11th Shelby County Public Defender and first African-American female to serve in the role. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

She then transferred to the appellate division and became the first woman and first African-American to serve as a supervisor of the appellate team.

“For over 25 years, I have dedicated my career to protecting the rights of indigent people who have been charged with committing a criminal offense,” Aluko said. “I care about improving our indigent defense system and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve residents of Shelby County as the new Public Defender.”

County nominates first female African-American Chief Public Defender

Aluko graduated from Whitehaven High School before earning her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1992. She is on the Board of Directors for the Memphis Bar Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association.

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