J.Tom Morgan has dedicated his career to being an outstanding trial attorney and an outspoken champion for children and youth.

Recognition as Exemplary Trial Attorney in Private Practice

J.Tom Morgan is an experienced trial attorney specializing in criminal defense and general civil litigation. During his career, he has tried over 100 jury trials and successfully argued before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. Since 2004, he has been in private practice after serving more than 20 years with the DeKalb County District Attorney's office, including 12 years as District Attorney. He is licensed to practice in Georgia and North Carolina and is admitted to practice before all Georgia and North Carolina state courts, the U.S. Northern and Middle District Courts of Georgia, and the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He enjoys the highest rating (AV) issued by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and has been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer in general litigation by his peers.

Distinguished Career as District Attorney

J.Tom served as the District Attorney of DeKalb County for 12 years, where he supervised a staff of over 40 attorneys who were responsible for the prosecution of more than 5000 defendants charged with felony crimes each year. DeKalb County was then the second most populous county in Georgia, with over 600,000 residents. He was the lead prosecutor in the case against former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, who was convicted of corruption and murdering his opponent, Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown. As the result of this successful conviction, J.Tom was the first United States prosecutor to receive the Special Achievement Award from the International Association of Prosecutors. J.Tom was a board member and vice-president of the National Association of District Attorneys and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the District Attorneys' Association of Georgia.

Nationally Recognized Advocate for Children

Prior to being elected District Attorney in 1992, J.Tom served as an Assistant District Attorney in DeKalb County for 9 years and was the first prosecutor in Georgia to specialize in the prosecution of crimes against children. He prosecuted more than 500 cases involving children who had been sexually or physically abused or murdered. Nationally recognized as an expert on the prosecution of crimes against children, he has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN's Talk Back Live, Court TV, and 48 Hours, and he has been featured in People and Parenting magazines. He lectured to prosecutors and law enforcement officials in more than 30 states, Puerto Rico, and Europe and served on the faculty of the National College of District Attorneys. In 1992, then Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala appointed J.Tom to the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. He also chaired Georgia's Child Abuse Prevention Panel.

Recognizing the need to treat victims of child abuse, J.Tom is a founding board member of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Inc. (formerly Georgia Center for Children), which provides free counseling to children who are victims of child abuse. He is also a founding board member of the National Alliance for Children (formerly National Network of Child Advocacy Centers). J.Tom has authored articles on child abuse (read more at Publications and Accolades) and was instrumental in drafting and lobbying for laws that provide more protection for children in child abuse cases. He has received numerous awards for his service to children and youth (read more at Publications and Accolades).

Popular Author and Speaker

With experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, J.Tom is committed to educating young people and helping them avoid being both victims and perpetrators of crimes. He is author of Ignorance Is No Defense, A Teenager's Guide to Georgia Law, now in its fourth edition, which explains over 100 laws in Georgia that impact teenagers in easy-to-understand language. He is also co-author with constitutional law scholar Wilson Parker of Ignorance Is No Defense, A College Student's Guide to North Carolina Law. In popular demand as a speaker at schools, churches, and community and civic groups, J.Tom has spoken to tens of thousands of teenagers and adults in Georgia and North Carolina. Read more at and


J.Tom is a professor at Western Carolina University where he teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, theories of crime, American Courts, introduction to criminal justice and ethics in criminal justice.

Personal Background

J.Tom is a native of Albany, Georgia. After graduating from Albany Junior College, J.Tom received his undergraduate degree in accounting cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1977 and his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1980.

Top Georgia Lawyer Award

J.Tom Morgan gives his closing argument.

Top Georgia Lawyer Award

J.Tom Morgan is the keynote speaker at the Georgia State PTSA Convention in July 2009.