John was raised in Albany, GA. He attended public schools and graduated from Westover High School, where he was a four-sport letterman. Following high school, he enlisted in the United States Army to serve in the infantry. After training at Fort Benning, GA, John was ultimately stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment as part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning.” He served as a member of the 1/5 Scout Platoon and trained as an air assault scout sniper. In August 1998, he was one of nine soldiers to summit Mt. Rainier with minimal gear. He was deployed twice, and, in the year 2000, was selected as part of a team to represent the United States Army in the Multi-National Force and Observers “Force Skills Competition,” a series of tests designed to measure athleticism and technical proficiency against various military forces represented by teams from around the globe.
Following his honorable discharge from military service and in response to the untimely death of his younger sister, John returned home to Georgia and attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where he received his Associate’s Degree in Journalism with Honors. He was the news editor and co-editor of the college newspaper, which was recognized as best in the State in its division during both years of his tenure, and he headlined a regular radio show on the campus station. John received multiple awards for his writing and photography at the Southern Regional Press Institute. He was also an active member in the International Club. John then attended Georgia Southern University, where he graduated with honors, receiving his BA in Philosophy with minors in International Studies and Africana Studies. While at Georgia Southern, John was a member of the Phi Sigma Tau international honor society for philosophers and the GSU Philosophy Club. Additionally, he was an active participant in the Model African Union, which presented an annual opportunity to collaborate with African Heads of State and international diplomats and scholars in Washington, D.C., on issues facing the continent of Africa. Many of John’s articles, poems, photographs, and other writings have been recognized with awards and appeared in numerous publications over the years.
In 2005, John attended Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. During law school, he was a member of the Criminal Defense Club and the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity, and he enjoyed participating in various intramural team sports. In addition to his studies and social and professional activities, John also worked in the law school library and volunteered at the Bibb County Georgia Legal Services Program, which provides legal advocacy for low-income Georgians in civil practice areas. In 2008, he received his Juris Doctorate and Certificate in Advanced Legal Writing, Research, and Drafting. John met his wife Anne during law school, and the two graduated together. They both live in Savannah, where Anne is also a practicing attorney, and they have two children.
John began working as an attorney in the Eastern Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in 2008, where he served the legal needs of indigent Chatham County citizens. Because of his initiative and skill set, he advanced directly to a trial team. During his tenure as an Assistant Public Defender, he resolved well over 1000 felony level cases, including innumerable dismissals and reductions and nearly 40 felony jury trials with a high percentage of favorable outcomes.
Due to his litigation skills and zealous advocacy, John was promoted to the Major Crimes Division of the Chatham County Superior Court in 2013. He was one of four defense litigators assigned full-time to that division upon its creation and conducted dozens of major crimes jury trials during a three-year span. John has received verdicts of acquittal in some of the most serious cases including multiple charges of Murder, Attempted Murder, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Child Molestation, and other high level felony offenses. He has also succeeded in attaining acquittals on lower level offenses including assorted theft, drug, DUI, and weapons related charges. Additionally, John is skilled in motions practice; he has won a number of dispositive legal motions and received favorable court rulings on various other strategic legal motions and objections regarding the admission or limitation of evidence. Through litigation, mitigation, and negotiation, he has received many reductions and dismissals of charges on behalf of clients.
John has a passion for assisting clients through periods of legal turmoil, and he practices “client-centered representation,” meaning that the client always remains both the focus and the driving force of the direction that the representation takes in pursuit of achievable goals in each client’s best interests. He believes that honest and confidential communication between attorney and client is the cornerstone of effective representation because trust begins with comprehension and compassion.
Motivated to serve the diverse legal needs of a wider range of people, John co-founded Cox, Rodman, & Middleton, LLC, along with Christopher Middleton and Falen Cox. Since entering private practice, John has enjoyed practicing law in a wider variety of jurisdictions and venues. John handles cases from Municipality to County and State to Federal Courts, and he travels across coastal and middle Georgia to meet with clients, investigate cases, and handle court hearings. He provides highly personalized service focused on each client’s individual needs. He believes that advocating for people requires an attorney to at times play the role of a shield and at times play the role of a sword.
Activities and Outreach
John has enjoyed membership in various professional organizations to include the Savannah Young Lawyers Division, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Savannah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Savannah Bar Association, the Port City Bar Association, and the Savannah NAACP.
In addition to his work in the courtroom, John has also been involved in various community service endeavors. He assisted colleagues in creating and expanding the “I Wish I Knew” (IWIK) initiative, which aimed to reduce incarceration rates and increase graduation rates by educating and motivating school-aged youth to avoid legal pitfalls as they formulate and pursue life goals. He served as the coordinator and a presenter for the IWIK initiative. Through partnerships with various local organizations including Upward Bound, Step-up Savannah, Explorer Post / Learning for Life, Chatham County Youth Commission, and Summer Bonanza, Inc., IWIK presentations have been given to thousands of youth at numerous venues including schools, universities, churches, and community centers.
In 2015, he was a member of the Mayor’s Taskforce for Afterschool Initiatives aimed at increasing and improving resources and facilities for school-aged youth, and he also served as a member of the United States Attorney Savannah-Chatham Reentry Council, on a mission to reduce recidivism by addressing the need for improved access to social services and employment opportunities for citizens returning to the community following periods of incarceration. John has also participated in a Restorative Justice committee through partnership with the Chatham County Juvenile Courts and the Savannah Mediation Center, among various other local entities, which is aimed at dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and creating community conferences as alternatives to juvenile adjudications, thereby reducing juveniles’ exposure to the criminal justice system while better addressing harms caused by otherwise criminal behaviors among youth.
John remains deeply committed to community development, social initiatives, and educational empowerment for all citizens. He believes that developing and maintaining collaborative networks is the key to personal growth and professional success. John is active in a number of organizations and regularly donates his time to initiatives directed toward community service, youth mentoring, and citizen education. He continues to collaborate with organizations such as the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Step Up Savannah, Loop It Up Savannah, and the Chatham Apprentice Program, and he currently serves as the Chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Kicklighter Resource Center, a non-profit entity serving the needs of children and adults with Autism and other developmental and physical challenges. Falen, Chris, and John share each other’s passion for contributing to worthy endeavors, and the law firm will remain dedicated to seeking social justice, cultural and racial equality, educational empowerment, economic growth and stability, and the recognition of each citizen as valuable to the greater community.