Eric Lutton graduated from Ball State University summa cum laude, where he studied criminal justice and philosophy. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he graduated cum laude in 2007. Upon his graduation, Eric opened his own private practice where he focused on State and Federal indigent criminal defense in both State and Federal courts across East Tennessee.
In 2013, Eric joined the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office as an assistant public defender. In 2015, Eric was promoted to the role of Team Leader within the CLO, making him the direct supervisor for one third of the office staff. Eric later became the CLO’s first Liaison to Drug Court and Veterans Court, designing the internal CLO model of participation in those programs and participating in staffing those Courts. After years of excellent service in the role of Team Leader, Eric was promoted to serve as the Deputy Public Defender, placing him as the second-in-command of the CLO and giving him the opportunity to learn under the leadership of Mark Stephens, Knoxville’s only prior Public Defender.
In 2019, Mark Stephens announced that he was stepping down as the District Public Defender, and it was Eric’s great personal and professional honor to be appointed by Governor Bill Lee as only the second District Public Defender in the history of Knox County. Throughout his time at the CLO, Eric has had the benefit of practicing in every Court in Knox County that handles criminal cases and has served in every position at the CLO from new hire to the head of the office. This has given Eric the ability to see and analyze the office from a myriad of perspectives.
He is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College Trial Institute (NCDC), a member of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA), Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL), and the National Association of Public Defenders (NAPD).
Eric lives in the Halls area of Knoxville, along with his wonderful wife of fifteen years, Kathryn Lutton, their two daughters, Evie and Lina, and their dog Ghost. Eric is passionate about family, fairness, and sticking up for the little guy. In his free time Eric likes to read, hike, play golf, and make an unreasonable ruckus cheering on the Tennessee Volunteers.