Donna Gopaul still had that look of excitement when she replayed the voicemail from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on her cell phone.
Gopaul said she did everything she could to keep from screaming in a courthouse when she found out she’d been appointed to the position of Forsyth County solicitor general.
She entered her new job on March 21 with a fast start, already securing two jury trial convictions and beginning work on her office’s 2014 county budget.
“I like doing this work,” Gopaul said. “When you’re here, you’re affecting the community for the better.”
Her top goal as solicitor is to prosecute cases “fairly and efficiently.”
Gopaul also hopes to work with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office to educate young drivers in the hopes of reducing the local vehicular homicide rate, which she said is one of the state’s highest.
The solicitor general’s office prosecutes misdemeanor criminal cases — including driving under the influence, simple drug possession and domestic violence — in the county’s State Court, as well as some Magistrate Court issues.
The opening was created when former solicitor Leslie Abernathy-Maddox was appointed as a State Court judge in the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit.
Gopaul will fill the remainder of Abernathy-Maddox’s term, which ends with 2016.
A graduate of Agnes Scott College and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Gopaul was working as the sole practitioner and owner of the Gopaul Law Firm in Fayetteville prior to accepting her new position.
Before that, she spent three-and-a-half years as assistant solicitor-general under Abernathy-Maddox in the local office.
Gopaul said she left Forsyth initially in 2011 to move to her hometown of Fayetteville to take care of her ailing father, who has since recovered from a medical issue.
She was excited when she saw an opportunity to move back to Forsyth, and even more so when she learned she’d been selected for the position.