Lawmakers want another day to decide on new commission to oversee prosecutors

ATLANTA — State lawmakers want to take another day before deciding if Georgia prosecutors need a special commission to oversee their jobs.

There are two bills in the legislature that would create a prosecutors oversight commission.

Critics say the Republican-controlled legislature is going after Democratic prosecutors to put pressure on them. But supporters say there are too many examples of prosecutorial misconduct to ignore.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was inside the special subcommittee hearing Wednesday as lawmakers decided to delay a vote on the bill that would create the commission.

The bills’ sponsor, State Sen. Randy Robertson, said it’s needed.

“I think that we have been given very bright examples over the past few years of prosecutorial misconduct,” Robertson said.

Robertson points to district attorneys such as Glynn County’s Jackie Johnson, who is accused of using her office to shield the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery.

She’s still waiting for trial.


Critics also point to Athens-Clarke County DA Deborah Gonzalez. Opponents have filed a lawsuit to force her to prosecute certain crimes.

In a tweet, Gonzalez said such an oversight committee is not needed, “Because there are already a number of mechanisms in place to remove DA’s who have committed crimes and other transgressions, we do not need partisan legislation.”

“I absolutely think that this is politics,” said Atlanta Democratic state Sen. Tanya Miller, who is also an attorney.

She agrees that there are already enough mechanisms to remove irresponsible prosecutors and believes the Republican-sponsored bills are more about leverage on Democratic DAs than anything else.

“I don’t think this political reaction to one or two prosecutors that folks sort of are not happy with is appropriate,” Miller said.

Robertson, a Columbus Republican, insists his bill is all about holding rogue prosecutors accountable and nothing else.

“This legislation coming from me is based on real-life experiences and has absolutely nothing to do with politics,” Robertson said.

The judicial oversight committee oversees some 2,000 judges across Georgia. The proposed commission would oversee only about 200 or so prosecutors.

But critics say both commissions would cost the state the same amount of money.