Copyright 2021 by Forsyth County, Georgia

Indigent Defense

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Forsyth County’s Indigent Defense Office differ from a Public Defender Office?

Instead of using Public Defenders, Forsyth County uses private attorneys (appointed attorneys) who focus on criminal defense or juvenile delinquency.

How do I obtain services of an appointed attorney/public defender?

To obtain the services of an appointed attorney, a defendant must apply to and be determined to financially qualify for an appointed attorney.

What are the requirements to receive an appointed attorney?

The guidelines to receive an appointed attorney are based on whether a defendant’s income is within the federal poverty guidelines.

An appointed attorney can be assigned for which types of cases?

Appointed attorneys can be assigned for any criminal case (misdemeanor or felony) where any type of jail time can be imposed as well as appeals and juvenile delinquency cases.

Should I discuss my case with anyone other than my appointed attorney?

You should never discuss your case with anyone other than your appointed attorney or without their permission.

How do I contact the Indigent Defense Office if I am in jail?

Inmates can contact our office free of charge by calling the office at 678-513-5959 or by using Securus.

Can the Indigent Defense Office talk to anyone other than the defendant regarding a case?

In order to protect the privacy of the defendants our office will only discuss matters relating to a case with the defendant or their attorney.

Where is the Indigent Defense Office located?

We are on the 4th floor of the Forsyth County Courthouse located at 101 W. Courthouse Square, Suite 4099, Cumming, Georgia, 30040.

Should I have an attorney to go to court with me?

Even though the law allows an individual to represent themselves, it is always in one’s best interest to have legal representation.

Indigent Defense

The Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit, desiring to establish a just, efficient, and vigorous indigent defender program which meets the requirements of the Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003 and the standards for indigent defense promulgated by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, has entered an Order, dated August 30, 2005, that replaces the old Tripartite Committee with a newly-constituted Tripartite Committee to govern the indigent defense program for the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit. The newly-constituted Tripartite Committee is authorized and directed to implement all changes reasonably necessary to comply with the requirements of the Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003 and the standards for indigent defense promulgated by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.

Contacts

Connie Brooker
Administrator
Email
Melissa Tavenier
Indigent Defense Assistant (Superior Court)
Email
Tiffany McPherson
Indigent Defense Assistant (State Court & Magistrate Court)
Email
Rhiannon Martin
Administrative Specialist
Email

Tripartite Committee

David Savoy, Chair

Jacob Stidham, Co-Chair

John Cleveland Hill, Secretary

 

The Tripartite Committee is composed of the following members:

(a) The President of the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Bar, or appointee;

(b) The President-Elect of the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Bar, or appointee; and
(c) An attorney from the County Attorney’s office or appointee.
 *All members of the Committee must be members in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia.

 

The Committee shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

 (1) Meet in formal session not less than once a month;
 (2) Promulgate policies, standards, and procedures to govern the program;
 (3) Oversee operation of the program and ensure that the program complies with the policies, standards, and procedures of the Committee, the requirements of the Georgia Indigent Defense Act of 2003, the standards for indigent defense promulgated by the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, and other requirements of State and Federal law;
 (4) Establish hourly rates for appointed attorneys and investigators;
 (5) Admit attorneys to, and remove attorneys from, the Attorney Panels;
 (6) Admit investigators to, and remove investigators from, the Investigators Panel;
 (7) Establish guidelines for the employment of experts;
 (8) Review all complaints filed by clients against appointed attorneys, and conduct appropriate investigations;
 (9) Monitor attorney compliance with policies, standards, and procedures;
 (10) Conduct disciplinary proceedings, and take disciplinary actions against attorneys and employees of the Office if warranted;
 (11) Represent the Forsyth County indigent defense program before the GPDSC and other State governing authorities.

Contact

Connie Brooker
Administrator

Phone: (678) 513-5959
Fax: (678) 513-5960

Location

Indigent Defense

101 E. Courthouse Square Suite 4099
Cumming, GA 30040

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