Welcome to the Western Judicial Circuit Public Defender Office

Who are we?

We are the public defender's office for Athens-Clarke and Oconee Counties. These two counties comprise one judicial circuit, the Western circuit. (Western link opens in a new tab)

Some people still call us by our old name: "Legal Aid". That's us.

We are a law office publicly funded by Athens-Clarke County, Oconee County and the State of Georgia. We are part of the state-wide public defender system known as the Georgia Public Defender Council (GPDC).

Who do we represent and how do you apply for services?

We represent indigent individuals who have pending criminal charges or juvenile court cases in Athens-Clarke County and Oconee County.

Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we are temporarily closed to the public, that is, we are not allowing walk-ins, until at least July 31, 2020. In the meantime, we do have a limited number of staff members here answering phones and conducting intake interviews by phone. To apply for representation during this time, please either call (706) 354-3968 or send an email to lawyer.request@gapublicdefender.org with the following information: your name, a good call back number and the best time to reach you. We will have someone call you to see if you qualify for our services. Individuals who are incarcerated may request an interview at the jail.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please call our main office at (706) 369-6440.

"The true measure of a civilized society is how it treats people accused of crimes."

~Winston Churchill