Attorney says defense law is his calling

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Only five years into private practice Augusta attorney Pete Theodocion got his first big case -- a veteran narcotics agent facing federal drug trafficking charges.

Mr. Theodocion lost the case -- although Ralph Tyrone Williams was acquitted of some of the charges -- but it helped secure his spot as one of the up-and-coming criminal defense attorneys in the area.

Since that 2002 trial, Mr. Theodocion has represented hundreds of people facing criminal charges, ranging from drunken driving to capital murder.

Other law enforcement officers who found themselves in trouble, two sheriffs and three officers, also sought out Mr. Theodocion.

His highest-profile trial involved former state school superintendent and gubernatorial candidate Linda Schrenko.

Her case ended with her guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy involving federal education funds when prosecutors relented on their insistence that she serve 10 years in prison, Mr. Theodocion said.

He didn't start out to become a criminal defense attorney. In college he said he was mostly interested in getting a good job. That, Mr. Theodocion said, is why he got an accounting degree.

"Hated it," said the Atlanta native of his time in a large Atlanta accounting firm. He decided to return to the University of Georgia for law school.

"I had just gotten married (after earning his law degree), and I was broke," Mr. Thodocion said. He ended up in Augusta after a former roommate, James Murray, told him there was an opening in the Richmond County State Court Solicitor's Office, where Mr. Murray worked.

The solicitor at the time, now Superior Court Judge Sheryl Jolly, said Mr. Theodocion did an outstanding job. She was impressed with his initiative, motivation and goals.

For two years Mr. Theodocion prosecuted misdemeanor criminal cases. He knew he wanted to do criminal-defense work, however, and in 1997 he went out on his own and opened a private practice.

"I knew I could do a good job. I've always felt real comfortable in the courtroom," Mr. Theodocion said.

Being a criminal defense attorney gives one the chance to represent the ultimate "little guy," he said. "There's no greater example of might versus meek."

Don't ask him "How can you represent that guy?" It's a nonsense question, Mr. Theodocion said.

He does it, he said, because it's his chosen role in the criminal justice system that demands an advocate for the defense as well as the state.

It's his job to represent and speak in court for the person accused of a crime and to ensure that all of his rights are protected, Mr. Theodocion said.

"It's clear to everyone in the courtroom that Pete is dedicated to his clients," Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter said in an e-mail response.

"I've tried a number of cases against Pete Theodocion over the past 10-15 years. In each instance, Pete impressed me with his level of preparation and knowledge of the law. Most importantly, Pete is a gentleman and always conducts himself with the highest levels of professionalism."

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

PETE THEODOCION

AGE: 41

PROFESSION: Augusta criminal defense attorney

FAMILY: Married; son, 51/2; daughter, 3

Secret wish: To appear on TV playing in the Las Vegas annual poker championship contest.

QUOTE: "If you don't like working nights and Sundays, trial lawyer isn't the job for you."

Comments (16) Add comment
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SMHwhatamessthisis
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SMHwhatamessthisis 11/10/08 - 05:24 am
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i would'nt represent tyrone

i would'nt represent tyrone for no amount of money hey was very much a crooket cop...they still has'nt found all that money he hid..

rufus
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rufus 11/10/08 - 08:16 am
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SMH you's ignant

SMH you's ignant

justus4
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justus4 11/10/08 - 08:28 am
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This guy seems to lose too
Unpublished

This guy seems to lose too many cases according to the article, so the judges must have somethng against him.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 11/10/08 - 08:42 am
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scumbag..bottom feeding

scumbag..bottom feeding lawyer......

WhatNow
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WhatNow 11/10/08 - 10:38 am
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Be careful with your

Be careful with your accusations karma. You may need one of these scumbags one day. Although most are guilty of the crimes accused, innocent people are arrested everyday...

change display name
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change display name 11/10/08 - 10:40 am
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It's purty hard to wen a case

It's purty hard to wen a case when you're clients are guilty. (Just thought I'd carry on the poor grammar and spelling theme going on here.) He is one of the nicest defense attorneys I've met.

arcdog
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arcdog 11/10/08 - 11:05 am
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This is pathetic - how on

This is pathetic - how on earth can a story run on a criminal defense attorney and the only comments are cliches like "scumbag" and "bottom feeder"? Weak sauce, imo.

whyworry
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whyworry 11/10/08 - 11:23 am
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hmm

hmm

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/10/08 - 11:31 am
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"you's ignant"!! Good Lord

"you's ignant"!! Good Lord you have to love it.

I_Wear_Lipstick_2
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I_Wear_Lipstick_2 11/10/08 - 11:52 am
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Not all lawyers are scumbags.

Not all lawyers are scumbags.

realitycheck1
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realitycheck1 11/10/08 - 12:38 pm
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I didn't know the Chronicle

I didn't know the Chronicle was doing free advertising for lawyers now...

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 11/10/08 - 12:53 pm
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Yeah, I guess most people

Yeah, I guess most people will call the Orkin Man, should they ever have legal problems?

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 11/10/08 - 01:03 pm
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I know exactly what kind of

I know exactly what kind of sorry duplicity Tyrone and his buddy were involved in. His "influence" contributed to the decline of our neighborhood. I hope he's still in jail. And I sure hope the public is notified when he gets out. His buddy Joe E. is already out, last I heard he was heading for Florida and I hope he never comes back. I'd hate to have had to do Theodocion's job. He has to be glad on some level he lost the case.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 11/10/08 - 01:09 pm
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BTW, SMHwhatamessthisis. I

BTW, SMHwhatamessthisis. I noticed the other day you said you like Mike Hunt's work as a sheriff. I do, too. He seems to be very effective and highly respected.

garylee67
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garylee67 11/10/08 - 05:14 pm
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I think mr. theodocian is a

I think mr. theodocian is a plus to the community. Its good to have someone like him around if you should ever be wrongful accused of something. I have met him personaly and I think he is a good geniune person.

bone
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bone 11/10/08 - 06:15 pm
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i believe the appropriate

i believe the appropriate possessive form is "you'ses"

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/14/08 - 08:48 am
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Mr. Theodocion is an

Mr. Theodocion is an excellent attorney and an asset to the community in so many ways. It's interesting that most successful defense attorneys work their way up the hard way from the DA or Public Denfender Office. They learn street smarts that serve them well with juries in criminal court. An attorney stuck in a large firm who never comes near the courtroom may make more money, but that doesn't help much in an actual courtroom with juries of common folk. Again, congrats, Mr. Theodocion.

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