In response to the United States Supreme Court decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), which held that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial, Public Defender’s offices began to be created throughout the State of North Carolina. In March 2003, the Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office was established.  The original attorneys, headed by former Chief Public Defender, George R. “Pete” Clary, were charged with providing professional criminal law representation to the indigent population of Forsyth County.  Mr. Clary built a staff of outstanding trial lawyers, investigators and administrative assistants dedicated to the belief that every person, regardless of the accusation against them, deserves a thorough defense to protect their rights and to rigorously challenge the State’s case against them.

Today, Chief Public Defender, Paul James, and his staff of attorneys, investigators and administrative assistants continue that mission by providing superior criminal law representation to the population of Forsyth County charged with criminal allegations ranging from juvenile delinquency to capital murder, and by counseling on collateral issues ranging from mental health concerns to immigration consequences of criminal offenses. Mr. James and his staff continue to zealously pursue the mission of the Public Defender’s Office by striving to preserve society’s interest in the fair administration of justice and protection of the rights given to the People by the Constitution of the United States of America.


**This website is operated and maintained by the Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court.**