Georgia’s ‘rogue DA’ commission is target of Friday hearing
The Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission can investigate, discipline, and remove elected prosecutors from office.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - As the newly created commission designed to oversee so-called “rogue” district attorneys prepares to begin work October 1, opponents are still hoping to put a halt to their efforts.
A Friday hearing is set in Fulton County Superior Court on an effort for a preliminary injunction against the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PACQ), whose creation was authorized in the last Georgia General Assembly session and later signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.
Senate Bill 92, which created the PACQ, went into effect in July and gives the commission the power to investigate, discipline, and remove elected prosecutors from office beginning next month.
DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston; Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady; Towaliga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jonathan Adams; and Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jared Williams partnered with the Public Rights Project to file a lawsuit, challenging the new law as unconstitutional.
“SB 92 is a blatant attempt to undermine the decisions of local prosecutors and overturn the will of voters,” Boston said. “Some state lawmakers are already threatening to use the commission as a tool to go after prosecutors with whom they have ideological differences. This law is undemocratic and dangerous.”
“This legislation strips prosecutors of our discretion, but I vow to use this office for good and undo the harm caused to the powerless,” Williams said.
The lawsuit claims the bill violates the need for separation of power from the legislative and judicial branches, nondelegation, fair notice, and freedom of speech protections.
“We fight the legislation in hopes of prosecutorial independence,” said Adams.
The injunction motion, filed August 24, seeks to prevent the PACQ panel from taking steps to investigate any district attorneys or solicitors-general until the lawsuit can make its way through the legal process.
After he signed the bill, Kemp said, “Georgians in every community deserve to be safe. Brave men and women in uniform are doing their part. District attorneys and prosecutors need to do theirs.”
“I have great respect for the important role district attorneys play in protecting Georgia’s citizens,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Unfortunately, some District Attorneys have embraced the progressive movement across the nation of refusing to enforce the law. That is a dereliction of duty, and as a result, Georgia’s communities suffer. Like everyone else, District Attorneys who choose to violate their oaths of office are not immune from accountability, and we will vigorously defend this law in court.”
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