H. Derrick Etheridge



EtheridgeHaving obtained a Master of Law degree in Criminal Law, Derrick is one of the only criminal defense attorneys in Michigan with a specialized degree in criminal law.  In order to provide his clients with the best possible criminal defense, he continually attends legal seminars to stay apprised of new developments and changes in criminal law.
 
Prior to joining the Office of the Public Defender, Derrick successfully represented clients in a wide spectrum of criminal matters.  He has represented clients charged with misdemeanors and with felonies throughout the State of Michigan.  He understands that the impact of being charged with a crime extends beyond the courtroom to your family and to your job.
 
When your freedom is at stake, you need answers.  Derrick will provide you with straight forward answers.  He will make a complicated criminal matter easily understood.  His no nonsense advice will allow you to make an educated, well-informed decision.  And no matter what your decision, he will aggressively protect your rights.
 
In a previous life, Derrick was an Infantryman in the United States Army and a Corrections Officer for the Georgia Department of Corrections, as well as a Prison Librarian.
 
 
“Wrongful convictions happen every week in every state in this country.  And they happen for all the same reasons.  Sloppy police work.  Eyewitness identification … is the worst type almost.  Because it’s wrong about half the time.  Think about that.”
                                                                                                             ~John Grisham
 
 Why a public defender?
 
Derrick has worked in the indigent criminal defense community since graduating with an LL.M. from University at Buffalo.  He received his LL.M. in Criminal Law.  He is committed to ensuring that indigent criminal defendants receive adequate representation, are treated fairly, and when it is all over feel that they were not just ran through the system.
 
This commitment to indigent criminal defense started when he worked as the law librarian at the prison where he worked in Georgia.  He went to work every day and tried to help inmates challenge their conviction or ensure their rights in prison were not violated.  During his time there, he was told by hundreds of inmates that they were innocent.  At that time, at least to him, it did not matter if they were innocent or not, it did not matter if he believed them or not, he was there and he was going to do his job – all policies, procedures, and laws would be followed to ensure that they received the required access to courts.
 
During Derrick’s time there, an article about the Innocence Project was published in a news magazine.  He sat in the library during lunch and read about DNA and how it was used to prove that innocent people were in prison.  He began to reevaluate his positions.  When an inmate told him that he was innocent, he had to think it may be possible.  Derrick is not gullible – not all inmates are innocent, but there are some that are innocent.
 
He decided to get his bachelor’s degree and go to law school.  In law school, he worked at the Innocence Project.  He worked on the Eddie Joe Lloyd case.  Eddie was exonerated.  There are innocent people in prison.
 
As a criminal defense attorney, he has experienced innocent people going to jail or prison.
 
Derrick wanted to be a Public Defender to continue to try and keep innocent people from going to jail or prison.  In this community, he wants to be a part of an office that can change what it means to have a court-appointed attorney.  This office can make changes and have an impact that will last a lifetime.  This office can prevent innocent people from going to jail or prison.
 
Hobbies:
 
Derrick loves to hunt and fish, and he enjoys the outdoors.  Often you will find him walking the trails with his girlfriend, Susan, and their dog, Obi.  He loves to read science fiction and fantasy.  Yet, you will often find him reading a history book.  He also enjoys watching movies and playing video games.  And occasionally, you find him drawing or out in the garage woodworking.
 
 
 
Education
University at Buffalo Law School
Master of Law in Criminal Law (LL.M.) 
Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Honors:
Cum Laude
Certificates of Merit:
Scholarly Writing
Criminal Practice
Death Penalty Law
Awards:
Outstanding Clinical Student
Honors Scholarship
President's Honor Roll
Dean's List
Memberships:
Law Review
Journal of Practical and Clinical Law
Clinical Education:
The Innocence Project 
Georgia Southern University
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Major:  Political Science
Minor:  History
Honors:
Cum Laude
Honor Society Memberships:
Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society
The Golden Key National Honor Society
Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society
Pi Sigma Alpha - The National Political Science Honor Society
Phi Alpha Theta - The International History Honor Society
Papers Presented:
From White Robe to Black:  The Controversial Nomination of Klansman Hugo L. Black to the United States Supreme Court
(Presented to the 2000 Georgia Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta - A Joint Meeting with the Georgia Association of Historians at Albany State University on April 15, 2000.)

Contact : (517) 679-2956
Email : hetheridge@ingham.org