South Carolina native Faith Worley was promoted as the new Assistant District Attorney for the Putnam and Hancock County offices in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit beginning Oct. 18. She was hired by former District Attorney Stephen Bradley – now a Superior Court Judge in the circuit – and was mentored by her current boss and DA since the start of 2021 T. Wright Barksdale.
Worley attended law school at the University of Georgia, and she did her internship in 2018 in Greene County with the Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Ocmulgee Circuit Allison Mauldin. On Tuesdays, she would drive down to the Putnam County Courthouse to help Barksdale, who held the job she now has. Worley assisted in the prosecution of a 2017 financial transaction card fraud case involving the theft of money from a Methodist church.
“When my internship was coming to a close, I was about to graduate law school, an opening came up in Jones County,” said Worley. “I talked to (Stephen Bradley), who was the DA at the time, and asked if he would be willing to hire me. I was driving from Athens to Jones two or three times a week while I was studying for the bar. When I finally passed, I came on full time in Jones County.
“I’ve worked there the past two years.”
Now in Putnam and Hancock counties, Worley is in charge of probation violations, motion days on any felonies that come through these offices, misdemeanors that get kicked up from State to Superior Court and cases that are in the appeals process.
“Any of the felony crimes that are happening in Putnam will come through our office. In Hancock it’s felonies and misdemeanors, pretty much all the crimes that happen in Hancock go through our office there,” she said. “I’ve been running back and forth between here and Sparta and Gray the past couple of weeks trying to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
In Jones County, Worley handled Magistrate Court, all probation cases, half of the calendar from M to Z and day-to-day office administration. So she has tried felony cases.
“There’s a lot of big cases open,” said Worley. “I haven’t had much chance to get up to speed on everything yet, but we’re working on it.”
Working for Barksdale, Worley said he always made sure she had something to do, allowing her to work on probation revocations and sit “second chair” at trials.
“Wright really went to bat for me,” said Worley about her original hiring by Bradley. “He actually drove me to meet Dawn Baskin, who was the ADA in Jones County at the time. I really appreciate everything he’s done. I think he always wants people to be their best, especially when it comes to this office.”
Worley is also trying to get herself up to speed on another question: Why did she get into the law profession?
“I think I always knew I was going to do something in the law enforcement field,” she said. “I always had a strong sense of right and wrong and justice. I actually majored in criminal justice for my undergrad. As I was coming up towards my senior year, I was trying to make the decision if I wanted to go into law enforcement or do something else with my degree.
“As I assessed my own personality, I realized I could probably do better going into law and using my skill sets that way. I decided to apply to law school and see if it would work out.
“I want to be the best attorney I can be. I want to make sure I serve this county well, that people know they can call our office and we will do our best to be fair and impartial for everyone, that we are always willing to give someone a second chance, but we are also eager to make sure justice is upheld and there is a strong sense that you can’t come to Putnam County and commit crimes and get away with it.”