Aplin not being considered for West Point public defender

Published 8:30 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

The city of West Point is poised to have a new public defender.

Brian Joel Aplin is no longer being considered for the position of West Point public defender, a position he has held since 2021. Mayor Steve Tramell cited Aplin’s legal troubles as the reason for his not being considered for the job. 

Aplin was arrested last April for attempting to use counterfeit money to pay for drinks, dances, and tips at the LaGrange adult entertainment club, Commotions. He was charged with forgery in the first degree, which is a felony.

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The other city official appointments took place at the Jan. 9 meeting of the council. When a vote to approve Aplin for another term as public defender came up, none of the council members made a motion so the appointment was tabled.

At Tuesday’s work session of the West Point City Council, Tramell announced that the city had a resume and interest letter from Jacob Key regarding the public defender position. When asked after the meeting if that meant Aplin was not being considered, Tramell said the council did not want to move forward despite Aplin expressing interest in remaining in the position. 

“He’s got some legal issues,” Tramell said, confirming that the legal issue was the forgery charge.

Key is currently an Associate Attorney at Johnson, Caldwell, and McCoy, LLC located in Lanett, where he was previously a law clerk before getting his law degree from Samford University. 

When asked if the council had any comments on Key’s application, Councilman Gerald Ledbetter simply said, “Impressive resume.”

A public defender is an attorney who works for governments. Their role is to represent the citizens who are unable to afford a private attorney. Tramell said the West Point public defender only handles about five cases a year. 

The vote to confirm a public defender will take place at the council’s next business meeting on Feb. 12 at 5:30 ET at West Point City Hall. As of Tuesday’s session, Key is currently the only candidate.