Welcome to our website. The Law Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender provides legal representation to those unable to afford an attorney in all criminal cases in DeKalb County.
It is our mission to promote equal justice, fairness and respect for all people in the judicial system through effective and excellent legal advocacy. We are tenacious advocates for every client and in so doing, we safeguard the rights of all by providing exemplary legal representation.
If you need an attorney to represent you in your DeKalb County case and would like to see if you qualify for appointed counsel, please complete the available application by clicking here. If you prefer a paper application they are also available at our office at 320 Church Street Decatur GA 30030.
Please note that Georgia law requires each applicant to pay an application fee by money order of $50 (O.C.G.A . Section 15-21 A 6(b)). Under certain circumstances, the court in which you will appear may waive the fee.
To submit information, questions and concerns please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Law Office of the Public Defender
320 Church Street
Decatur, Georgia, 30030
Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Claudia S. Saari, Circuit Public Defender
Claudia Saari is the Circuit Public Defender for DeKalb County, Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit. Ms. Saari received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1984 and a law degree from Emory University School of Law in 1987. She joined the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office in 1987 and over the next three decades tried a wide variety of cases ranging from DUI to death penalty cases, and the first criminal trial in Georgia that featured DNA evidence. Ms. Saari now leads an office of over 100 people who represent clients in Juvenile Court, State Court, Superior Court, Magistrate Court, Appellate Courts, and all Accountability Courts and diversion programs.
Ms. Saari is a Fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers and previously chaired its national Public Defender Committee. She is a 1999 graduate of Leadership DeKalb, a Master with the Carley-Clarke Inn of Court, a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, a former member of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, and a member of the Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency. Ms. Saari also serves on a number of committees and boards including the Indigent Defense committee for both the State Bar and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an Advisory Board member for the Emory University School of Law Public Interest Law Committee, a Steering Committee member for the DeKalb Reentry Services Division for the Department of Community Services, a Board member with the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance, a former officer with the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve, and served on the Board of Directors for Gideon’s Promise. In 2009, Ms. Saari was the recipient of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Indigent Defense Award, a 2018 and a 2019 recipient of the GACDL President’s Commitment to GACDL Award, in 2016 she was honored by the American Constitution Society with its Legal Legend Award, and in 2020 she received the Gideon’s Promise John Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award.