David Utter joined The Claiborne Firm, P.C. as an attorney in July, 2015. He enjoys representing individuals in a wide and varied litigation practice, including Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Employment Discrimination, and Civil Rights. Prior to entering private practice, David was a nationally recognized leader in juvenile and criminal justice reform. He served as lead counsel in class action civil rights cases in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, and defended adults and children facing the racially biased justice system in Louisiana. He brings that experience to Savannah, providing aggressive, skilled, individualized representation for people injured due to the negligence of others or in violation of their civil rights, individuals falsely accused of crimes and those who are being treated unfairly by police and prosecutors.
Over 25 years ago, David started work as an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, where he represented indigent prisoners in Alabama and Louisiana challenging illegal treatment and conditions of confinement. He moved to New Orleans in 1992 and expanded his advocacy for human and civil rights to Mississippi. In 1993, he co-founded the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center to address the crisis in the defense of indigent persons facing the death penalty in Louisiana. In late 1997, after Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Department of Justice documented unspeakable violence and brutality in Louisiana’s juvenile prisons, David co-founded the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) and served as its director. He recently finished his public interest career as a leader in the legal department of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
David graduated from Emory University in 1986 and from the Univ. of Florida law school with honors in 1989. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Attorney of the Year and the Ford Foundation and Advocacy Institute’s Leadership for a Changing World Award for 2005. He is a member of the state bars of Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana.
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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia