District Attorneys Unite across Party Lines, Praise Georgia Supreme Court Decision to Dismiss Measure Designed to ‘Police’ DAs.

Gavel with open book and scales on table

Gavel with open book and scales on table

By Madison Whittemore

DECATUR, GA – A lawsuit against a measure that would create a commission to remove elected district attorneys was dropped last Friday by a group of district attorneys who had previously filed the lawsuit—the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in late November the measure couldn’t be implemented.

The success of the lawsuit would have resulted in an injunction of SB 92.

SB 92, initially enacted by the Georgia Supreme Court, established the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC) which has the power and authority to “investigate, discipline and possibly remove Georgia’s elected district attorneys and solicitors-general,” according to a press release by the Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney and Public Rights Project (PRP).

The PAQC would be composed of eight members who are appointed by the governor, Speaker of the House, and the Senate Committee.

After Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 92 in May, 2023, the PRP and a large group of bipartisan district attorneys contested the law’s constitutionality and consequently filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia Aug. 2, highlighting how anyone removed from office by the PAQC would not be able to practice law for at least 10 years.

In the original lawsuit, the PRP cited how SB 92 is unconstitutional through its disruption of the separation of powers, infringement of freedom of speech, improper delegation of discipline and its violation of due process.

The group of attorneys working with PRP, District Attorney Sherry Boston, Washington, Dreyer, and Associates, Bruce P. Brown Law, DA Boston, Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jared Williams, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady, Jr., and Towaliga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jonathan Adams, also emphasized how SB 92 undermines trust, independence, and discretion of district attorneys. Some of the attorneys even said SB 92 undermines U.S. democracy. 

Then, on Nov. 22, the Georgia Supreme Court put out a statement regarding the proposed rules for the PAQC and decided that because the Supreme Court has ultimate approval power for the rules, the PAQC cannot currently open or initiate any investigations on district attorneys.

District attorneys such as Boston showed appreciation towards the Georgia Supreme Court’s similar concerns about SB 92’s constitutionality, stating, “We appreciate that the Georgia Supreme Court shares some of the same concerns we have raised since this law’s inception.  While their decision means we do not need to move forward with this current legal challenge, we know some at the state Capitol have already signaled they plan to try again.”

DA Boston added, “We stand ready to fight any new efforts to undermine the work of Georgia’s district attorneys and silence the voters who elected us.”

Other district attorneys applauded the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision as well, but also continue to heed caution against any future attempts regarding unlawfully using governmental power.

“The recent decision by the Georgia Supreme Court rightfully recognizes that SB 92 is a fundamentally flawed law that cannot be permitted to take effect. While this is good news for Georgia residents, we must remain vigilant against future efforts to abuse state power and infringe upon the will of voters. Our dismissal of this lawsuit allows us to refile new litigation if the Georgia General Assembly passes new legislation that violates the state and federal constitutions,” said John Rosenthal, legal director of Public Rights Project.

While the group of district attorneys recognizes that the fight is not over, they said they “are prepared to defend the rights of Georgia voters and their ability to elect local prosecutors who can advance their vision for safety and justice in their communities.”

About The Author

Madison Whittemore is a rising junior at the University of California, Davis where she studies political science and psychology. After completing her undergraduate studies, Madison wants to go to law school and study criminal law while working to improve efforts for prison reform and representation for lower income citizens.

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