PHOTO: Summer McWhorter, DeKalb and Cherokee's newest Assistant District Attorney, with Judge Shaunathan Bell and District Attorney Mike O'Dell. (Contributed Photo)
By Staff Reports
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — On January 1, 2018, District Attorney Mike O’Dell appointed Summer McWhorter as the newest Assistant District Attorney for DeKalb and Cherokee Counties. A lifelong resident of Cherokee County, Summer grew up in Cedar Bluff and currently resides in Leesburg with her husband, Josh Summerford, who serves as the Chief Investigator for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. They attend Fairview United Methodist Church along with their daughter, Mabry.
Summer is a 2006 graduate of Auburn University where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science and a 2009 graduate of Cumberland School of Law. After being admitted to practice, Summer returned to Cherokee County to enter private practice.
According to District Attorney Mike O’Dell, the Ninth Judicial Circuit, comprising Dekalb and Cherokee Counties, has been understaffed by two attorneys for several years. “We lost Wes Mobley to the Cherokee County District Judgeship and Julie McCollister to private business,” O’Dell pointed out. “These departures caused significant increases in caseloads among the remaining lawyers in our office. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, we have been unable to fill either of these positions until now. I decided that we could not continue to function with the current responsibilities without adding a new Assistant District Attorney. It came to my attention that Ms. McWhorter was interested in the prospect of a full-time prosecutorial position.”
According to O’Dell, he knew right away that Ms. McWhorter would be an excellent addition to the District Attorney’s Office. “Every time we have had an opening in this office, whether it be a legal or administrative position, I have sought to fill that position with the best candidate. First and foremost, potential employees have to exhibit outstanding character and integrity, and then demonstrate a high degree of ability to perform the responsibilities required of them. Finally, they have to “fit” in with the chemistry of the DA’s Office. Summer filled these requirements perfectly. Not only is she a person of outstanding character and integrity, she is an excellent lawyer. She possesses a sincere desire to help and assist people as they navigate through the difficulties of the legal system. And, her personality makes her a perfect fit for my office.”
Ms. McWhorter was sworn in as an Assistant District Attorney on January 2, 2018, by Circuit Judge Shaunathan Bell. She assumed her duties immediately thereafter. Although she will be primarily based in Centre, her legal responsibilities will extend to both counties.
“We are extremely blessed to have Summer join our staff,” O’Dell said. “I know our constituents will find her to be accessible, caring, and knowledgeable. She is a wonderful addition to what I believe is an already incredible staff.”
McWhorter stated, “I am excited to join such a well-respected office and look forward to serving the people of Dekalb and Cherokee Counties in any way possible. I would like to thank Mr. O’Dell for the opportunity to join this team.”