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Georgia prosecutors revive lawsuit challenging GOP-backed oversight panel

Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — A bipartisan group of Georgia district attorneys has revived its challenge to a Republican-backed commission created to discipline and oust state prosecutors after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a new version of the law.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday takes aim at the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, which was renewed by Republican lawmakers after the Georgia Supreme Court nullified the law that created it last year.

Republicans say the panel was created to punish “rogue prosecutors” from both parties, but Democrats fear it will be used to sanction Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis after she brought an election interference indictment against former President Donald Trump.

After the General Assembly approved the first law last year, a group of senior Republican officials immediately filed a formal complaint against Willis, saying she “improperly cherry-picked cases” to further her own agenda.

Kemp, however, has urged Republicans not to use the commission to pursue sanctions against Willis. Instead, he’s brought up several prosecutors from both parties accused of ineptitude, neglect and legal wrongdoing.

The law initially passed last year, but the Georgia Supreme Court said it had “grave doubts” about whether it had authority to approve the commission’s rules and regulations, a step required by law.

Kemp signed a new version into law after lawmakers removed the requirement for court approval, triggering the renewed legal challenge.


DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, a Democrat, called it a “shameless attempt by state Republicans to control how local communities address their public safety needs.”

Boston and two other district attorneys brought the lawsuit, which was filed in Fulton County Superior Court. The others are Jonathan Adams, a Republican who is the top prosecutor in Butts, Lamar and Monroe counties; and Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams, a Democrat.

Attorney General Chris Carr, a Republican, said he’s “fully prepared to defend this law in court.”

“When district attorneys fail to do their jobs,” he said, “crime goes up and victims are denied justice.”


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