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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Chief Public Defender Bruce Andis to Retire in September

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (March 23, 2022) - Lawrence County Chief Public Defender Bruce Andis will retire in September.

Lawrence County Public Defender Bruce Andis

The Lawernce County Public Defender Board which consists of Bill Spreen, Brent Steele and Jerry Hill took no action against the Andis following being reported to the state for misconduct. The public defender board is responsible for the appointment of the Chief Public Defender.

In the third day of a jury trial in January of this year, with Tracy Gist accused of rape, defense attorney Bruce Andis requested a mistrial. His request granted by Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer III

According to court documents Defense Counsel Andis testified, outside the presence of the jury, that he violated the Rules of Professional Responsibility telling the court he failed to provide effective representation to the defendant Tracy Gist.

According to Andis he failed to take any dispositions in the case. Andis was provided information months ago that there are individuals who were witnesses to the events on the night in question, and Andis failed to investigate or attempt to interview those witnesses.

Andis who serves as the Chief Public Defender of Lawrence County failed to make himself available to speak to the defendant in the days and weeks leading up to the trial to address Gist's concerns about witnesses and other matters that may have been relevant to his defense.

In addition, Andis failed to file a witness and exhibit list, which along with sworn testimony indicated that the defense counsel failed to recognize that there were witnesses that may have been favorable to Gist's defense and were not going to be called to the stand during the trial.


Andis testified to the court that failed to zealously represent Gist as required by Rules of Professional Responsibility.

Lawrence County is part of the Indiana Public Defender Commission which partially reimburses Lawrence County in public defender's salaries.

The proposed budget for the public defender's office was at $1 Million before being reduced to over $875,000 in 2022.

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