KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Eric Lutton raised his right hand on Friday morning, along side his office staff, and was appointed Knox County’s public defender.

Lutton replaces former 6th Judicial District Public Defender Mark Stephens. Stephens retired on Thursday. Lutton was appointed by Gov. Bill Lee to the interim appointment. He was sworn in by Division I Criminal Court Judge Steven Sword.

“It is an honor to be selected for this position by Governor Lee,” Lutton said. “I believe that the Community Law Office is one of the finest Public Defender Offices in the country, and I look forward to building on the excellent leadership of outgoing Public Defender Mark Stephens.”

Lutton will remain public defender until a 2020 special election is held to fill the remaining term. Lutton joined the Community Law Office in 2013.

He is an alumnus of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he graduated summa cum laude, and The University of Tennessee College of Law, where he graduated cum laude.

Before joining the Knox County CLO, Lutton established his own practice, focusing on indigent defense. While at the CLO, Eric has served as an attorney, team leader, and as the deputy district public defender.