Cleveland attorney Rebble Johnson was appointed to the Post-Conviction Defender Oversight Commission recently by Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell.
The three-year appointment is effective immediately under new legislation passed earlier this year in the 107th General Assembly that terminated the previous Post-Conviction Defender Commission on June 30.
The Post-Conviction Defender Commission is an independent agency created to oversee the operating budget of the post-conviction defender. The commission’s duties are administrative in nature and do not include assisting the post-conviction defender in providing legal representation.
Johnson said part of the commission’s duties will be to review existing and new death penalty convictions mainly centering around claims of ineffective representation by defense attorneys.
The new commission is comprised of three appointments each from the speaker of the senate, the speaker of the house and the governor.
Johnson is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He had served as an assistant district attorney for Bradley and Polk County for 11 years (1986 to 1997) when he joined the private practice of Richard Banks and Associates.
At the time of his departure from the DA’s office, Johnson was the lead assistant. During his tenure, he was the lead counsel for death penalty cases and major crimes, prosecuting about 100 jury trials. While serving as an assistant district attorney, Johnson was a special assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Tennessee. In that role, he was involved in the prosecution of carjacking, gambling and money-laundering cases.
Johnson said Wednesday about 90 percent of his effort was in Bradley County. He worked under former lead assistants Van Deacon, who left that office to serve as General Sessions judge, and Bill Brown. Brown opted for private practice and also served on the Cleveland City School Board.
“Rebble Johnson is a highly respected attorney in private practice in Southeast Tennessee,” Harwell said. “His dedication to this state and the law is evident in his extensive resume. I’m very pleased he has agreed to serve our state on this commission.”
Johnson completed undergraduate work at Cleveland State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in May 1981. University of Tennessee College of Law conferred a Doctorate of Jurisprudence on Johnson in May 1984.
He has practiced law in the firm of Richard Banks and Associates since 1997 in the areas of bankruptcy, criminal defense, domestic relations, estates, wills and medical malpractice.
Johnson has been active in the community by serving on the board of directors or as a trustee at Bradley Memorial Hospital, The Caring Place, Red Clay Theater Co., and New Hope Pregnancy Center.