Statement from Fulton County Chief Magistrate judge Cassandra Kirk on Atlanta crime:
“The situation is not as simple as the police Chief portrays. The issuance of bonds relies heavily on the sworn testimony and information presented during the hearing by State and the Defense. Judges are prohibited from investigating cases. This means, that judges cannot conduct their own research into cases pending before them and must rely on the proper parties to bring forth relevant information, such as criminal histories, police reports, and pretrial recommendations. I look forward to collaborating on process improvements with all stakeholders.”
Statement from Atlanta Police Chief Ericka Shields:
“Over the years, we’ve had plenty of talk about the repeat offender issue. Numerous committees, tasks forces and blue ribbon panels have been convened to ‘study’ the issue. The time for talk is past us. We have reached critical mass, and the time for action is here. I’m encouraged by Mr. Howard’s willingness to take action on this issue. The easy issuance of bonds for convicted and repeat offenders has been a continued thorn in the side of our officers out there on the streets making these arrests. But any real movement on this issue will also require any judge – not just magistrates – to be diligent in carefully and thoughtfully reviewing these cases, especially when it involves violent, repeat offenders. Today’s appeal by Mr. Howard to the Fulton judiciary is a step in the right direction, but by no means is our collective work done. I appreciate the close partnership we have with Mr. Howard’s office in seeking justice and a collaborative effort on our parts is critical to our success on this issue. As I’ve said many times: I will personally see to it that APD does its part to bring about the reforms that are truly needed. Our citizens deserve nothing less than our best efforts.”
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