Legal Expert Targets Teens with Message at CSU

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Teens interested in learning about their unique legal status can learn more when Columbus State University presents “Ignorance is No Defense,” a lecture by attorney J. Tom Morgan, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday April 26 in University Hall auditorium.Ignorance is No Defense book cover

  The free presentation will allow Morgan, a former prosecutor, to share lessons and advice from his 2007 book, Ignorance Is No Defense: A Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law (

Nationally recognized for educating teens about their place the legal system, Morgan also is noted as the first prosecutor to specialize in crimes against children during 12 years as DeKalb County district attorney. He has provided related commentary for CNN, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Court TV, the Today Show and 48 Hours

J. Tom Morgan“Mr. Morgan is an amazing fellow,” said Judge Warner Kennon of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court. “He takes a difficult subject and engages parents and teenagers through real-life examples of how easily our youth can be led astray. This is a presentation that every teenager and those who love them should experience.”

The late-afternoon program at CSU is designed to accommodate after-school attendance by teens, as well as parents.

“The lecture provides a great opportunity for community families to get insight from one of this country’s foremost experts on the legal system as it relates to young people,” said Kimberly Mullen, CSU senior director of student involvement. “He is noted for using real-life examples to engage the audience in frank and open discussion.”

Designated a Georgia Super Lawyer from 2007-2009 by Atlanta magazine, Morgan describes in his presentations how a criminal record can be devastating to a teenager, addressing such areas as alcohol, drugs, assault and sex.

Among actual case scenarios he has shared:

  • A pair of 17-year-old boys sharing a pornographic photo of the 17-year-old girlfriend of one of the boys draw felony convictions, since distributing – even if the sender is a minor – a pornographic image of someone younger than 18 is a felony in Georgia.
  • A girl caught giving a classmate a prescription pain reliever at school for menstrual cramps draws felony drug charges for both – one for dealing, the other for possession.
Morgan also frequently warns teens that only one drink can put them over the state’s .02 blood-alcohol level for drivers younger than age 21, putting them at risk for a DUI conviction.

In addition to his private law practice, Morgan serves as vice chair of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Inc., which provides free counseling to abused children.

His reputation spread after he received a Special Achievement Award from the International Association of Prosecutors for his work in convicting DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey in 2002 for corruption and murdering his opponent, Sheriff-Elect Derwin Brown.

Morgan’s CSU appearance is co-sponsored by Muscogee County Juvenile Court. For more information, call 706-568-2273.