Troy in the News – Legal Action Results in Removal of D.A. from Entire Court
Kathleen Baydala Joyner, Daily Report
November 13, 2014 | 0 Comments
The DeKalb County District Attorney's office will cease prosecuting cases in Recorders Court on Dec. 1.
The announcement came during a hearing Thursday and in a response brief filed Wednesday by the district attorney in a lawsuit challenging his legal authority to argue cases—mostly routine traffic violations—in Recorders Court.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Anna Green Cross told Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson that her office's decision to withdraw was made "without consideration" of the legal challenge. But Cross did not give a reason why prosecutors with the DA's office will leave Recorders Court.
In June, a lawyer for a man accused of speeding began arguing that neither the state Constitution nor statutes granted the DA authority to prosecute misdemeanor offenses in Recorders Court. His challenge is the first since the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners issued a resolution in September 2012 handing the responsibility to the district attorney's office.
"I noticed what I believed to be unfair sentences handed down there. I thought it might be a byproduct of prosecutors who are normally trained to handle felonies and ask for serious time for serious crimes," said solo criminal defense lawyer Troy Hendrick. "The Stone Mountain [Circuit] DA's office does a fine job prosecuting seriously evil crimes in superior court. But there is probably a disconnect when the heavy-handedness of sentences for those types of crimes are applied to simple traffic offenses."
Hendrick's client, Kevin Lynch, has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he drove 85 mph in a 55-mph zone. Lynch's underlying criminal case was transferred to Decatur Municipal Court after all Recorders Court judges recused this summer following Hendrick's motion to bar prosecution. Meanwhile, the motions by Lynch's lawyer seeking declaratory judgment and mandamus were transferred to DeKalb Superior Court, where Thursday's hearing took place. Read More . . . .
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