Ernest L. Conner Jr.

Criminal Defense

“Don’t worry about how rough the seas are. Let us focus on getting your ship safely to harbor.“

― Anonymous

Why let Ernest serve you?

Minor charges can lead to major consequences. With over thirty years of trial experience, handling matters ranging from complex capital murder cases to minor traffic offenses, I am confident that I can take care of the most complex legal issues you are facing.  I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of justice.  I will do my best to insure your goals are met. Whether going to trial or pursuing alternative solutions, I will work with you to find ethical, personalized and cost-effective solutions.

Background

With over thirty years of experience, Ernest L. Conner has spent his life fighting for fairness and equality in justice. While concentrating on Capital Murder and Post-Conviction proceedings, he has represented people on criminal charges ranging from speeding tickets and DWI’s to misdemeanor or federal drug crimes, assaults, sex offenses, embezzlement and more.

He is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

An Army veteran, Ernest is the recipient of the 1978 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award for the United States Army Support Command in Hawaii, the East Carolina University Outstanding Senior Award in 1984, and the 2007 recipient of the J. Kirk Osborn Award for lifelong zealous advocacy and compassion for indigent men and women facing the death penalty, and leadership in the capital defense community.

He is a board member of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice; a former member of the Board of Directors for the Pitt County Family Violence Center; Pitt County Legal Secretaries’ Boss of the Year in 1993, and in 1992 Outstanding Project Chair from University City, Kiwanis, an organization providing financial and volunteer support to the children in our community. He was the 2010 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Fair Trial Initiative, working in North Carolina and surrounding states to ensure fairness for indigent defendants facing the death penalty and raising awareness about the systemic inequalities in the justice system’s handling of capital cases. He formerly chaired the criminal justice section of the North Carolina Bar Association. In 2018 he was the first non-teacher to win the Charles Becton Teaching Award for excellency in the teaching of trial advocacy.

He received his undergraduate’s degree with honors from East Carolina University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bar Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1987
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  • Juris Doctorate

East Carolina University

  • Honors

Honors And Awards

  • Charles Becton Teaching Award, 2018
  • Recipient of the J. Kirk Osborn Award, 2007
  • Pitt County Legal Secretaries Boss of the Year, 1993
  • Outstanding Project Chair, University City Kiwanis, 1992
  • Pamlico Sound Legal Services Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award, 1991
  • American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional Law, 1986
  • East Carolina University Outstanding Senior Award, 1984
  • Meritous Service Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster, 1981
  • Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award for United States Army Support Command Hawaii, 1978

Professional Associations And Memberships

  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • Center for Death Penalty Litigation
  • Fair Trial Initiative