Second Judicial Circuit Public Defender

Aiken Office
211 York Street, NE
Aiken, SC  29802
(803) 642-1732

Bamberg Office
Bamberg County Courthouse
2959 Main Highway
Bamberg, SC 29003

Barnwell Office
Barnwell County Courthouse
141 Main Street
Barnwell, SC 29812
(803) 541-1129


​Derek Bush
Assistant Public Defender

Wallis Alves
Chief Public Defender, Barnwell County

Kelley Perkins Brown
Deputy Public Defender- Juvenile Division

Wallis Alves was born and raised in New York. She attended the University of South Carolina where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and then her Law degree. She has worked as a public defender in Lexington, Aiken, Barnwell, and Bamberg counties. In addition to her work, she volunteers with the South Carolina Bar legal education programs, and agencies that promote programs for at-risk youth.
​​Kelley Perkins Brown represents juvenile defendants throughout the Second Judicial Circuit. Kelley grew up at the Thornwell Children’s Home in Clinton, South Carolina, then went on to receive her B.A. in Political Science from Presbyterian College in 1994. After receiving her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1997, Kelley joined the Aiken County Public Defender’s Office in April of 1998 and represented both adult and juvenile defendants until the formation of the Second Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in 2008. At that time she chose to focus exclusively on juvenile defense for the Circuit. Kelley serves on the SC Bar Children’s Law Committee and is currently a member of the board of the South Carolina Public Defender’s Association. Kelley received the Juvenile Public Defender of the Year award from the SCPDA in 2016. She is very active in her church as well as with the PTO of her children’s school. She and her husband are currently surviving the 4th and 7th grades along with their two daughters.


​​Derek Bush was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina.  Derek returned to Charleston for law school after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina.  While attending the Charleston School of Law Derek served as the President of the Trial Advocacy Board, the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Federal Courts Law Review, and was a member of the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court.  Derek also received the Arthur Gasque Howe Trial Advocacy Award – an award given annually from the South Carolina Chapter of the American College of Trial Lawyers to the graduating student who best exemplifies excellence in trial advocacy.  Before joining the Public Defender’s Office Derek worked for a private practice in Seneca, South Carolina.  Derek has a heart to serve the residents of the Second Judicial Circuit and South Carolina.  In his spare time Derek enjoys spending time with his family and friends in fellowship, participating in weekly Bible studies, Gamecock football, and his yellow lab Brooks.

David Hayes
Assistant Public Defender

Suzanne Hayes
Assistant Public Defender

Laura McCann​
Chief Public Defender, Bamberg County

​​Charles D. Hayes graduated from Aiken High School in 2000 then attended USCA and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2004. He attended Thomas M. Cooley School of Law. While attending he participated in an internship at the Ann Arbor Public Defender’s Office.  During that time he represented clients and conducted a trial in the 14-A2 Circuit Court. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor in 2008. He returned to South Carolina in 2008. After passing the South Carolina Bar, he returned to Michigan to obtain a LLM in Taxation from Thomas M. Cooley.  
In May of 2009 he was hired by the 2nd Circuit Public Defender’s Office. After completing his thesis papers, he graduated from Thomas M. Cooley’s Taxation LLM program in 2010. In his time at the 2nd Circuit Public Defender’s Office, he has been either 1st or 2nd chair in more than 25 major felony trials. David has handled thousands of client’s cases. 
Suzanne H. Hayes received her associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Clair Community College. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University. She then went on to receive her Juris Doctorate in Law from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan.  She became licensed to practice law in South Carolina in 2008. She worked in a private law firm handling social security disability cases for a year, then began her career as a criminal defense attorney at the Second Judicial Circuit Public Defenders Office.
Laura McCann received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Rockford University in 1979 and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989. Laura was the Deputy Solicitor for Family Court  for the 1st Judicial Circuit before joining the Public Defender's Office in 2008. Since that time she has represented clients in Bamberg and Barnwell Counties. 

Nicholas R. McCarley
Deputy Circuit Public Defender

William T. McKellar
Assistant Public Defender 

Charles Rudnick
Assistant Public Defender 

​​Nicholas McCarley has  practiced criminal law exclusively since graduating from the Charleston School of Law and being admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 2010. Born, raised, and educated in the South, Nick was a high school teacher and coach before attending law school.  Having traveled extensively and studied specifically the European and Caribbean criminal justice systems, Nick seeks to change American criminal justice system one case at a time.  Nick is Death Penalty Certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court.  In his free time, Nick enjoys his family and friends, his faith, fitness, and Southern football.  Nick chose criminal defense work in order to defend both the Constitution and people in need of a quality, zealous, experienced lawyer.
William T. McKellar earned his undergraduate degree from Augusta State University and graduated cum laude from the Charleston School of Law .  He is a former law clerk to Superior Court Judges James J. Blanchard, Jr. and Michael N. Annis, each of the Augusta Judicial Circuit.  Before joining the Second Circuit Public Defender’s Office, he practiced law as a solo practitioner and as an associate in the Law Office of Christopher Austin in Aiken, South Carolina. Will is licensed to practice in South Carolina and Georgia.
Charles Rudnick was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised in Aiken, South Carolina. He graduated from Aiken High School in 2007. He received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 2011 and graduated from the South Carolina School of Law in 2015. After law school, Charles was admitted to the South Carolina Bar. For three years, he worked as an public defender in the 16th Circuit Public Defender's Office. During that time, Charles handled cases ranging from traffic tickets to most serious felonies. In 2017, he graduated from the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia. In his free time, Charles enjoys spending time with his wife, reading, and playing basketball.

P. Brianne Steiner
Assistant Public Defender

Barry Thompson
Assistant Public Defender

P. Brianne Steiner was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She received her Bachelor's degrees in Anthropology and Biology from the College of Charleston and then graduated from the Charleston School of Law in 2010. Prior to joining the office, Brianne practiced civil law in Atlanta at King & Spaulding and at the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. Brianne is licensed to practice in South Carolina, Georgia, and is a member of the Bar for the Supreme Court of the United States.
Barry Thompson is a dedicated professional with a wealth of experience and insight.  He grew up in Aiken County and graduated from the University of South Carolina College of Science and Mathematics in 1992.  For eight years, he was a member of the South Carolina Emergency Response and HAZMAT Team for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Before entering law school, he was a trainer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  In 2004, he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar.  He was further admitted to practicing in US District Court for the District of South Carolina in 2005.  Prior to joining our office, Barry practiced civil law for six years with the Moore Taylor Law Firm, PA.  Since joining our office in 2010, he has specialized in the practice of criminal law.  A loving father of two adult children, Barry has been happily married to his college sweetheart since 1992.

Support Staff

Roxana Sirk
Office Manager/Social Worker

Robert Anderson
Chief Investigator

Tesa Culbertson

Sandra Dobson
Paralegal - Bamberg/Barnwell

Todd Gantt

Rebecca Halupa

Lekehia Hammond

Wayne Martin

Loretta Johnson-Walker

Stephanie Torrado
Legal Assistant/Front Desk

Aaron Velez
Legal Assistant/Front Desk