Injunction denied in DA’s battle with Georgia

A senate bill that can remove or discipline elected prosecutors is still in effect after a Sept. 29 ruling, despite an ongoing lawsuit led by DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston and other Georgia prosecutors.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Reese Whitaker issued an order on Sept. 29 denying the motion filed August 24 for an interlocutory injunction to prevent the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC) from disciplining or removing prosecutors while a challenge to Senate Bill 92—which created the PACQ—makes its way through the legal process.

“While we are disappointed that our motion was denied, this is just the beginning of what we expect will be a long legal battle,” said Boston. “We look forward to presenting our full arguments against this dangerous and undemocratic law. We intend to continue our fight for prosecutorial independence and the voters who elected us all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court.”

The lawsuit filed against State of Georgia states that “the threat of discipline under SB 92 discourages prosecutors from exercising their discretion to address cases in the way that will best serve their communities.”

Boston joined district attorneys Jonathan Adams (Towaliga Judicial Circuit), Jared Williams (Augusta Judicial Circuit) and Flynn Broady Jr. (Cobb Judicial Circuit) as plaintiffs in the case.

The members of the PAQC would be appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp and “other partisan officials,” according to a news release from Boston’s office. The PAQC could then audit district attorneys and solicitor generals in Georgia and discipline or remove them from office before the end of their elected terms.

Following the Sept. 29 ruling, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr stated that “All Georgians deserve to be safe, [and] it’s a DA’s duty to enforce the law. When elected prosecutors fail to do so, crime goes up [and] victims are denied justice.”

“This decision from the Court reaffirms that DAs who choose to violate their oaths will not be immune from accountability,” Carr continued.

The lawsuit led by Boston states that the bill is unconstitutional because it interferes with separation of powers, which the plaintiffs argue is being violated by the legislative branch interfering with the judicial system. Freedom of speech, according to the complaint, is being violated because prosecutors could be penalized for speaking publicly about their priorities.

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