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Christopher R. Clifton

Christopher R. Clifton

Partner
Location:
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Phone:
888-441-8522
Fax:
336-721-1176
Email:

Christopher (Chris) R. Clifton is a leading criminal defense attorney and a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law with much of his practice dedicated to serious felonies. He regularly appears in state and federal courts, and has argued numerous successful appeals before the N.C. Supreme Court, the N.C. Court of Appeals, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has handled federal cases in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, and New York.

In 2010, Chris was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court to pursue a petition for writ of certiorari in "United States of America v. Sandako Meshawn Brandon," and received a favorable ruling in which the defendant was granted a new sentencing hearing and subsequently released. More recently, Chris worked with Michael Grace on the appeal for Ernie Pitt, who was charged with defrauding the Housing Authority (U.S. vs. Ernest Pitt), and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction.

Prior to joining the Winston-Salem law practice of Michael A. Grace in 1997, Chris served as Assistant District Attorney from 1995-1997 in Salisbury, N.C., trying numerous cases in both District and Superior court. He received his certification from the North Carolina State Bar as a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law in 2005. With his extensive experience as a prosecutor and high level of courtroom work and detailed federal appeals, he has focused much of his practice on appellate and post conviction representation. He has been admitted to practice in all N.C. appellate courts; the Fourth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chris received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1995 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish Language and Literature from North Carolina State University in 1992.

In 2011, Chris was appointed as a member of the North Carolina Sentencing and Advisory Commission, an independent body that serves the N.C. General Assembly in an advisory capacity to recommend changes in sentencing guidelines. In addition, he was recently appointed treasurer of the Federal Bar Association and a member of the Fee Dispute Committee for the N.C. State Bar.

Chris has served two terms as the chair of the Criminal Justice Committee for the N.C. Bar Association and has previously served as chair of the Federal Bar Association. He is also an active member of the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association, The Forsyth County Bar Association and the Chief Justice Joseph Branch Inn of Court. He regularly writes articles and lectures at CLEs on criminal sentencing, gaming law and other state and federal topics, and he has been selected as one of Business North Carolina magazine's "Legal Elite" every year since 2008, and as one of the "N.C. Super Lawyers" since 2009. He is a member of the Winston-Salem Rotary and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and is active in the Carolinas Golf Association.

Areas of Practice

  • Federal Appellate and Post Conviction Representation (Section 2255)
  • Criminal Defense
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • Criminal Forfeiture
  • Criminal Appeals
  • Gaming Law
  • DWI
  • White Collar Crime
  • Federal Criminal Law
  • Felonies

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law, North Carolina State Bar, 2005

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1995
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit

Education

  • Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston Salem, North Carolina
    • J. D. - 1995
  • North Carolina State University
    • B.A. - 1992
    • Major: Political Science
    • Minor: Spanish Language
    • Minor: Literature

Representative Cases

  • United States of America v. Sandako Meshawn Brandon
  • U.S. vs. Ernest Pitt (Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals)

Honors and Awards

  • One of Business North Carolina magazine's Legal Elite, 2008 - 2016
  • N.C. Super Lawyers, 2009 - 2016

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • North Carolina Sentencing and Advisory Commission, Member, 2011 - Present
  • Fee Dispute Committee for the N.C. State Bar, Member
  • Criminal Justice Committee for the N.C. Bar Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Member, Past President
  • N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, Active Member
  • Forsyth County Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • The Forsyth County Bar Association, Member
  • Joseph Branch Inn of Court, Chief Justice

Past Employment Positions

  • Salisbury, N.C., Assistant District Attorney, 1995 - 1997

Pro Bono Activities

  • Member, Winston-Salem Rotary
  • Member, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • Carolinas Golf Association