Stephen R. Scarborough, a native of Georgia, was raised in Macon and in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In 1987 he graduated from Emory University and received Emory’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award. He earned his law degree in 1990 from Yale Law School. Stephen began his career at the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the Legal Aid Society, which serves as the public defender in New York City. Between 1990 and 1993 he briefed and argued appeals arising from felony convictions in the city’s five boroughs. In 1992 he won his first outright dismissal of a murder conviction, and in another case, he prevailed in an appeal to the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest tribunal. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School.
To develop his skills as a trial advocate, Stephen accepted a position with Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. During his four-year tenure there, he maintained a focus on appellate advocacy, arguing cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and conducting habeas corpus litigation. But he also carried a heavy felony trial caseload, handling motions hearings and plea negotiations as well as jury trials in bank robbery, narcotics, immigration, and white collar cases. With colleagues he contributed to the book, Defending a Federal Criminal Case, and he lectured annually to attorneys on federal criminal practice.
Returning to the South, Stephen became the first Staff Attorney at the new Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal. There he participated in a wide variety of discrimination cases, in state and federal courts across a nine-state region. In 1998 he wrote Lambda’s brief in a successful attack on Georgia’s sodomy law, and the next year, he sued Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, winning an order that struck down a policy barring insurers from offering domestic partnership coverage in the state. Many of Stephen’s cases garnered regional or national interest. He is comfortable dealing, where appropriate, with media in high-profile cases, and he has given speeches, lectures, and interviews with media outlets across the country.
From 2005 to 2008, Stephen was a Senior Attorney at the Atlanta Circuit Public Defender’s Office, where he divided his time among appeals, trial consultation and training, and his own felony trial practice. In late 2008 he opened the Law Office of Stephen R. Scarborough, a solo practice that focuses on federal and state criminal appeals but also includes trial advocacy and strategic assistance on criminal law and civil rights matters.
Professional Credentials and Affiliations
B.A. with High Honors, Economics, Emory College, Emory University 1987
J.D., Yale Law School 1990
Admitted to practice in all courts of Georgia and New York (also California, currently inactive)
Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits; and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and
Middle Districts of Georgia, the Southern District of New York, and the Southern District of California.
Member, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Co-Chair, Amicus Committee Member, Criminal Justice Act Panel, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
Member, Stonewall Bar Association
Passing proficiency in Spanish