Georgia Adopts Law to Crack Down on ‘Far-Left’ Prosecutors Who Are Soft on Crime

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
May 6, 2023US News
Georgia Adopts Law to Crack Down on ‘Far-Left’ Prosecutors Who Are Soft on Crime
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp addresses supporters at a watch party after winning reelection on election night in Atlanta on Nov. 8, 2022. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law on Friday creating a new commission with the power to discipline and remove wayward prosecutors, saying it will curb “far-left prosecutors” who are making communities less safe by being soft on crime.

Kemp, a Republican, made the remarks at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Savannah, where he signed the measure establishing the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PACQ), part of a broader GOP thrust to get tougher on crime and make communities safer.

“My No. 1 priority is public safety across our state,” Kemp said, with a statement from his office describing the new commission as a “valuable oversight mechanism” that ensures state officials fulfill their statutory and constitutional duties.

The eight-member commission, which will include six current or former prosecutors and two other lawyers, will oversee district attorneys and solicitors general.

“The creation of the PACQ will help hold prosecutors driven by out-of-touch politics than commitment to their responsibilities accountable and make our communities safer,” Kemp said.

The new commission has the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by district attorneys and solicitors-general and discipline or remove them entirely if they meet the conditions for removal, which include “willful and persistent failure to carry out statutory duties” and conduct that is “prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Republicans across the country have pushed measures to rein in progressive prosecutors who they see as being soft on criminals by declining to prosecute certain crimes.

Georgia law mandates that a prosecutor must consider every case for which probable cause exists and can’t exclude categories of cases—such as marijuana possession or abortion-related offenses—from prosecution.

“As hardworking law enforcement officers routinely put their lives on the line to investigate, confront, and arrest criminal offenders, I won’t stand idly by as they’re met with resistance from rogue or incompetent prosecutors who refuse to uphold the law,” Kemp said.

The law establishing the new commission was opposed by Georgia Democrats, who argued that the Republican legislative majority was looking for a way to impose its will on Democratic voters.

“I strongly oppose an excessive and unnecessary commission as district attorneys are already held accountable under existing laws and through the current democratic process of holding election,” said Deborah Gonzalez, Democratic district attorney for Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties.

Gonzalez, who has declined to prosecute marijuana crimes, has been cited by Republicans as one of the law’s top targets.

The law could also target prosecutors who declared before Roe v. Wade was overturned last year that they would refuse to prosecute abortion-related crimes. A half dozen or so Georgia district attorneys have made statements to that effect.

GOP Fight Against ‘Rogue’ Prosecutors

The establishment of the new commission comes as Republicans fight against what they describe as leftist “rogue” district attorneys who refuse to prosecute certain crimes.

“The inability to ensure public safety and protect communities is occurring at every level of state government,” Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-Wis.) wrote in an op-ed.

“By cracking down on rogue prosecutors who favor criminals over victims, we can ensure that no one else is put in harm’s way as a result of Democrats’ negligence,” they wrote. 

In much the same vein, former President Donald Trump has vowed to target prosecutors who are lax on crime if elected to the White House in 2024.

The former commander-in-chief vowed to “overhaul” the Department of Justice if he wins another term.

“Soros prosecutors appear to be engaging in selective enforcement based on illegal racial discrimination” in places like Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Trump said in a video in a video posted to his YouTube page.

He was referring to left-wing billionaire financier George Soros, who has provided millions of dollars in campaign contributions to leftist district attorneys.

“They are Marxist in many cases,” he said while pledging to appoint about 100 U.S. attorneys who are the “polar opposite” of the “Soros district attorneys and others being appointed around the United States.”

Trump said that those officials will be the “most ferocious legal warriors” who will target the worst “communist corruption” this country has ever seen.

Soros Fights Back

Rising crime around the United States can be attributed to the “soft-on-crime” policies of Democrat district attorneys funded by Soros, according to Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.

Soros has provided millions of dollars in campaign contributions to leftist district attorneys. In June 2022, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund reported (pdf) that at least 75 district attorneys in the United States had been elected with Soros’s backing.

In an op-ed titled “Why I Support Reform Prosecutors,” Soros has defended his approach.

“Some politicians and pundits have tried to blame recent spikes in crime on the policies of reform-minded prosecutors. The research I’ve seen says otherwise,” he wrote.

“The most rigorous academic study, analyzing data across 35 jurisdictions, shows no connection between the election of reform-minded prosecutors and local crime rates,” he added.

The rigor of the study is in question, however, with its authors even acknowledging that their estimates are imprecise.

“While our estimates are imprecisely estimated, we find no significant effects of these reforms on local crime rates,” the study’s authors wrote.

Some experts say that dozens of soft-on-crime prosecutors have been elected since 2014 and they have become a major power bloc within the country.

“They believe that the criminal justice system is excessively punitive and racially biased and that it is irredeemable,” Sean Kennedy, a criminal justice expert at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, told The Epoch Times last year. “So they’re trying to undermine it from the inside.”

The most common tactics of such prosecutors include establishing policies not to prosecute entire segments of crimes, such as theft under a certain threshold and nonviolent offenses more generally. Another tactic is to undercharge crimes to avoid mandatory minimum sentences.

Such prosecutors also tend to avoid charges that would lead to “immigration consequences,” meaning serious charges that could trigger the deportation of a criminal alien, according to Kennedy.

Efforts of such prosecutors are sometimes amplified by state or local legislation that make it more difficult to put a criminal behind bars, such as by preventing judges from setting bail.

“Victims are particularly ignored and disregarded by these offices,” Kennedy said.

The Associated Press and Petr Svab contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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